Using Motion Templates in Final Cut Pro

In Motion, templates are useful when you are creating a number of projects that share elements like text or media. You can use a Motion template as a starting point for project customization. A Motion template used in Final Cut Pro can be used in any number of projects and sequences, and each instance can be customized. In addition, you can make changes to the source Motion template file, and have the changes propagate to all the projects and sequences in Final Cut Pro that use that project.

Template integration between Motion and Final Cut Pro allows you to:

Terminology for Master Templates

The following definitions provide some shorthand for discussing the behavior of sequences containing clips derived from master templates:

  • Motion template file: A template file created and saved in Motion. This term refers to the template file stored on disk.
  • Master template: A Motion template file as it appears in Final Cut Pro. You can view master templates in the Viewer and edit them into a sequence, creating copies called template clips.
  • Template clip: An instance of a master template edited into a sequence or copied into the Browser. Just as normal Final Cut Pro clips refer to QuickTime media files on disk, a template clip refers to a Motion template file on disk. When a Motion template file is changed and saved in Motion, any template clips that refer to the template file are updated.
  • Template parameters: Special template clip parameters that you can customize directly in Final Cut Pro using the Controls tab of the Viewer. For example, you can modify text or video content in a template clip.

Creating a Template in Motion for Use in Final Cut Pro

You can create templates in Motion that automatically appear in the Effects tab of Final Cut Pro in the Master Templates section. For more detailed information on working with templates in Motion, see Customizing and Creating New Templates. There are two types of objects in a Motion template that can be edited in Final Cut Pro:

  • Drop zone media: You can replace clips or stills in drop zones in Final Cut Pro.
  • Text: You can edit the content, Text Size, and Text Tracking of text in template clips in Final Cut Pro.

There are templates that are installed when Motion is installed. These templates already appear in the Effects tab in Final Cut Pro, in the Master Templates bin.

Considerations When Creating Motion Templates for Final Cut Pro

In preparation for creating a project for use as a template, you should keep the following considerations in mind:

  • To get the best quality from your template, choose the same aspect ratio, resolution, and frame rate as your destination Final Cut Pro sequence when creating the template in Motion. For more information on Motion project settings, see Editing Project Properties.

  • By default, drop zones are named by the media used to create the drop zone, and text objects are named by the content of the text therein. If your project contains a large number of drop zones and text, consider renaming these objects in a way that will help you easily identify the ones you wish to edit in Final Cut Pro. For more information on naming objects in Motion, see Renaming Groups.

  • Position text visually as well as with the desired Alignment parameter in the Layout pane of the Text Inspector (Left, Center, or Right), in order to retain the expected visual alignment when the text objects are edited in Final Cut Pro. For more information on text, see Adding Text.

  • If adding dissolves or other transitions to a template clip in Final Cut Pro, be sure to allow for this in the template design, by adding a sufficient number of extra frames at the beginning or end of the template.

  • Final Cut Pro always uses the Best scaling option (in the Video Processing tab) when rendering Motion projects and templates.

  • To retain proper text formatting in Final Cut Pro, do not mix different text sizes, fonts, or styles within a single text object.

Important: In order for your template to be loaded into Final Cut Pro as a template, the Motion project must be saved as a template.

Creating Drop Zones in Motion

Media contained within drop zones are the only media objects that can be replaced in master templates in Final Cut Pro.

Drop zones provide a way for template users to intuitively and quickly replace footage in a template. There are two ways to create drop zones. The first is to create a drop zone from scratch, and the second is to convert an existing object into a drop zone.

To create a new drop zone in Motion
Do one of the following:
  • Choose Object > New Drop Zone (or press Command-Shift-D)

  • Select an existing object in the canvas, then select the Drop Zone checkbox in the Image tab of the Inspector.

To show the drop zone controls
  • Select the object with the applied drop zone, and click the Image tab in the Inspector. For more information on using drop zones, see Using Drop Zones.

Creating Text in Motion

The following properties of any text you create in a Motion template can be edited in Final Cut Pro:

  • Text Size

  • Text Tracking

  • Content

If you wish to create text in Motion that cannot be edited in Final Cut Pro, deselect the Publish To FCP checkbox in the Text tab of the Inspector. For more information about text formatting and properties, see Editing Text Format.

Saving Templates in Motion for Use in Final Cut Pro

Templates are simply Motion files that are saved with certain parameters and options enabled. You can create a new template or use an existing Motion template.

To save a Motion project as a template
  1. Choose File > Save as Template.

    A save dialog appears.

    Figure. Save as Template dialog.

    Note: It is recommended that you create a new custom theme in which to save your own templates.

  2. If you want to create a new theme category for your template, click New Theme, type a name in the New Theme dialog, then click Create.

  3. In the save dialog, type a name for the template.

  4. In the Theme pop-up menu, choose a theme category in which to store your template.

  5. Choose a template format from the Format pop-up menu.

  6. If you want your template to play a preview when it appears in the Template Browser, select Create QuickTime Preview.

  7. Click Save.

    Your new template is saved into the theme category you selected. Customized templates are saved to /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Studio/Motion/Templates/ in a folder that corresponds to the name of the theme you’ve selected.

    If you wish to manually copy projects from one system to another, copy them to the same location.

Important: Templates do not appear in the Final Cut Pro Template Browser unless the templates are copied to a theme subfolder in /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Studio/Motion/Templates/.

When you save a template in Motion, the template immediately appears in the Master Templates bin of the Final Cut Pro Effects tab in a bin corresponding to the name of the theme in which you saved the template in Motion.

Important: Only projects that are saved as templates appear as master templates in Final Cut Pro.