Using Motion with Final Cut Pro

Integration between Motion and Final Cut Pro allows you to do the following.

Note: Motion can import audio included in a Final Cut Pro project, but audio in a Motion project does not appear in Final Cut Pro.

Importing a Motion Project into Final Cut Pro

You can import Motion projects into Final Cut Pro to quickly add motion graphics, title sequences, and animations to your sequence.

To import a Motion project into Final Cut Pro
Do one of the following:
  • Drag the Motion project from the Finder to the Final Cut Pro Browser or Timeline.

  • Choose File > Import > Files, then select the Motion project in the dialog that appears and click Choose.

Importing a Motion project into Final Cut Pro creates a Motion clip (also called an embedded Motion project) that you can edit in the same way as any other clip in your project. A Motion clip refers to the imported Motion project stored on disk.

Motion clips can play back in real time, although you may have to choose Unlimited RT mode to avoid rendering. For more information, see Unlimited RT.

Important: Any media files for clips used in the Motion project, such as movies or still images, need to be available on the same hard disk drive for the project to play correctly in Final Cut Pro.

Making Changes to a Motion Clip in Final Cut Pro

While working in Final Cut Pro, you can quickly make changes to a Motion clip by opening the clip’s project file in Motion. After you save the Motion project, any changes you made appear immediately in Final Cut Pro.

Note: This feature requires both Final Cut Pro and Motion to be installed on the same computer.

To open a Motion project from within Final Cut Pro
Do one of the following:
  • Select the Motion clip, then choose View > Clip in Editor.

  • Control-click a Motion clip, then choose Open in Editor from the shortcut menu.

The Motion project opens in Motion. Once you make changes in Motion and save the project, Final Cut Pro automatically reconnects the Motion clip to the updated project so you can see the changes.

If you do not use the Open in Editor command in Final Cut Pro to open a Motion project, Final Cut Pro may not automatically reconnect the Motion project if you resave it. In this case, you will have to manually reconnect the Motion clip in Final Cut Pro to its project file.

To make sure a Motion clip automatically reconnects to an updated Motion project
Do one of the following:
  • Initiate the Motion project update from within Final Cut Pro by selecting the Motion clip and choosing View > Clip in Editor.

    This method informs Final Cut Pro that the Motion project may be updated, so the Motion clip is automatically reconnected the next time you switch to Final Cut Pro.

  • Select the Always Reconnect Externally Modified Files option in the Editing tab of the Final Cut Pro User Preferences window.

    This method tells Final Cut Pro to automatically reconnect any modified media and project files when you switch to another application and then switch back to Final Cut Pro.

Restrictions When Working with Motion Clips in Final Cut Pro

When working with Motion projects in Final Cut Pro, keep the following restrictions and limitations in mind:

  • The audio in a Motion project is not imported into Final Cut Pro.

  • All video tracks in a Motion project appear as a single layer when imported into Final Cut Pro as a Motion clip.

  • The frame size and duration of the Motion clip are determined by the settings in the Motion project.

  • The Final Cut Pro Media Manager does not manage source media files used by a Motion clip’s project file. You need to manage your media for Motion projects separately from your Final Cut Pro media.

Sending Final Cut Pro Clips and Sequences to Motion

You can send clips or sequences from Final Cut Pro to a new Motion project by using the Send To > Motion Project command. This command is useful when you want to:

  • Edit a rough motion graphics sequence in Final Cut Pro and then send those clips to Motion for more complex animation

  • Use Final Cut Pro to capture media files for use in Motion

Many of the clip parameters you adjust in Final Cut Pro are retained in the resulting Motion project.

Selecting Clips or Sequences to Send to Motion

The Send To Motion Project command behaves slightly differently depending on your selection.

  • One or more Browser clips: The selected clips are sent to a new project in Motion; the Motion Timeline remains empty and the clips appear in the Motion Media tab.
  • A sequence in the Browser: A new Motion project is created with an identical track and clip layout as your Final Cut Pro sequence.
  • One or more clips in a sequence: A new Motion project is created that contains only the clips you selected in your Final Cut Pro sequence, occupying the same position and track layout as your original selection. This method has an additional option called Embed Motion Content, which allows you to replace your selected sequence clips by embedding the Motion project in their place.
To send clips or sequences from Final Cut Pro to a new Motion project
  1. In Final Cut Pro, do one of the following:

    • Select one or more clips in the Browser.

    • Select a sequence in the Browser.

    • Select one or more sequence clips in the Timeline.

  2. Choose File > Send To > Motion Project.

  3. In the dialog that appears:

    1. Choose a location and enter a name for the new Motion project.

    2. If you want the new Motion project to immediately open in Motion, select Launch Motion.

    3. If you used the Send To Motion Project command with sequence clips, you can select the Embed Motion Content option, which allows you to replace the selected sequence clips in Final Cut Pro with the Motion project you just created. For more information, see Sending Selected Sequence Clips from Final Cut Pro to Motion.

  4. Click Save.

    A new Motion project is created. If you selected the Launch Motion option, the new project opens in Motion. For more information about the results of sending different kinds of selections to Motion, see the following sections.

Sending Browser Clips from Final Cut Pro to Motion

When you send Browser clips from Final Cut Pro to Motion, a new Motion project is created with an empty Timeline and the media from each selected Final Cut Pro clip displayed in the Motion Media tab. Use this method to quickly import media from Final Cut Pro into an empty Motion project.

Sending a Sequence from Final Cut Pro to Motion

You can send an entire sequence, including all of its video tracks and their sequence clips, to a Timeline in a new Motion project. Use this method to edit one or more layers in Final Cut Pro and then add effects, animation, or text in Motion.

Sending Selected Sequence Clips from Final Cut Pro to Motion

You can send any selection of sequence clips in Final Cut Pro to a new Motion project. Noncontiguous selections are allowed. For example, if you selected sequence clips A, B, and D in Final Cut Pro, but you skipped clip C, the Motion Timeline would also contain media from clips A, B, and D with a gap where clip C was located.

When you send sequence clips to Motion, several things happen:

  • Final Cut Pro automatically creates a new sequence containing only the clips you selected. You can verify that there is a new sequence by looking in the Browser.

  • The contents of the new sequence are used to create a new Motion project.

  • If you choose the Embed Motion Content option in the Export Selection to Motion dialog, the new Motion project is imported into Final Cut Pro, creating a Motion clip in the Browser. The selected sequence clips are replaced by the new Motion clip.

About the Embed Motion Content Option

The Embed Motion Content option is available only when you send selected sequence clips to a new Motion project. This option imports the new Motion project back into Final Cut Pro and replaces your selected sequence clips. In effect, it converts your selection of sequence clips into a Motion clip in a single step. For more information about working with imported Motion projects, see Making Changes to a Motion Clip in Final Cut Pro.

If you don’t select Embed Motion Content, the selected sequence clips are still copied into a new sequence in the Browser, but they are not replaced and the new Motion project is not imported into Final Cut Pro, so your original sequence remains unchanged.

What Properties Are Exported to Motion?

When you send sequence clips to Motion, the following properties are retained in the exported Motion project.

Content type
Exported properties
  • Clips, with In and Out points, placed on the correct Timeline tracks and positions

  • Clip and sequence markers (called object and project markers in Motion)

  • Almost all attributes in a clip’s Motion tab, including Basic Motion, Crop, Distort, Opacity, Drop Shadow, and Speed. Any linear and smooth Bezier keyframes are also included.

  • Composite (blend) modes

  • The SmoothCam filter. If applied, the filter is converted to the Stabilize behavior with the Smooth method enabled in Motion.

  • Media

  • Markers

  • Levels and keyframes

The audio exported to Motion is not imported when you bring the Motion project back into Final Cut Pro. The audio is only intended to be used in Motion for playback and markers. For this reason, make sure that you retain the original audio clips in Final Cut Pro.

With the exception of the SmoothCam filter, Final Cut Pro does not send filters applied to clips. Also, transitions and generators are not sent.

Rendering Motion Projects for Use in Final Cut Pro

If necessary, you can export a Motion project to a QuickTime movie and import it into Final Cut Pro. This method is less flexible than importing Motion projects directly into Final Cut Pro, so you should usually avoid this option. When you export the Motion project, choose the Apple ProRes 4444 codec for its 10-bit 4:4:4 color space and lossless alpha channel with real-time playback. The alpha channel makes it easy to composite the QuickTime movie with your footage in Final Cut Pro. The Apple ProRes 4444 format will preserve the alpha channel and the motion graphics through to the finishing stages. For more information about Apple ProRes, see Professional Formats and Workflows, available in Final Cut Pro Help.