Easily Create 3 Simple & Smooth Final Cut Pro Transitions (Tutorial)

Final Cut Pro 26/09/2021 3 min read

Final Cut Pro is a powerful editing tool, with a variety of built-in transitions and many more available to download to help add even more of a professional finish to your projects. FCP users often rely on the library of assets available to drag and drop to the timeline, but you can also build 3 fantastic Final Cut Pro transitions from scratch, using effects and keyframing.

Part 1: Create a Smooth Zoom In Transition in Final Cut Pro

Zoom transitions can be used on any footage or photo you’d like, but they work best when you put a little thought into the shots you want to use. Smooth zoom transitions can be used as a part of a Match Cut edit if you choose two clips with a matching element.

  1. Place your two clips on the timeline and trim them to the desired length. 
  2. If required for the match shot, adjust the Scale and Position of your clips. Then compound each of them by right-clicking > New Compound Clip…
  3. On your keyboard, press C  to access the Blade tool, and slice your first clip about 8 frames from the end.
  4. Select the section and place your playhead at the start. In the Inspector, create a keyframe for Scale.
  5. Go to the end of the section and increase the Scale as much as you want to zoom in.
  6. Search in the Effects panel for Zoom and add it to your section.
  7. In the Inspector, create a keyframe for Zoom amount at the start of your section and adjust the setting to around 20.
  8. Go to the end of the section and increase the Zoom amount to your desired look.    

Part 2: Create a Seamless Luma Key Transition in Final Cut Pro

The luma key transition is another effect that works best with a bit of shot planning. The Luma Keyer works by removing light or dark areas of your shot; if the contrast of the 2 clips is similar, you’ll get a better result.

  1. Place your clips on the timeline and trim as needed.
  2. Cut a section from your first clip using the Blade tool (C on your Keyboard) about 4 frames from the end of the clip.
  3. Place the section of your first clip above the start of your second in the timeline.
  4. In the Effects panel, search for Luma Keyer. Add it to the section of your first clip.
  5. With your playhead where the section begins, create a keyframe for the Luma Selector in the Inspector.
  6. Drag the white handle to the black end of the graph, your image should not look like it has any effects added.
  7. Move your playhead to where the section ends and drag both the white and black handles to the white end. You should now only see your second clip.
  8. With your playhead in the middle of the transition and in the Inspector, play around with the Matte Tools settings until you are happy with the look of your transition.

Part 3: Make a Cool Spin Transition in Final Cut Pro

The spin transition is a stunning effect that is ideal for presentations, slideshows and showreels. Creating this transition involves a couple of different effects you may not have used in FCP – Kaleidotile and Radial.

Step 1: Set Up Your Clips

Before you can start adding keyframes, you’ll need to prepare our clips. Creating a spin effect will require the footage to rotate, exposing the edges, as well as the Kaleidotile effect which will repeat your footage in a seamless pattern.

  1. Place your clips in the timeline and edit as needed.
  2. Create a section in both of your clips about 4 frames from where they meet.
  3. Select each section and adjust the Scale to 50%.
  4. Right-click on each section and select New Compound Clip…
  5. In the Effects panel, search for Kaleidotile, then add the effect to both of the compound clips.
  6. Select each of your clips in turn and, using the box in the media viewer, stretch the image until you have a seamless pattern.
  7. Change the Scale of each of the compound clips to 200%.

Step 2: Add Keyframe Animation

At this stage, your effect won’t look much like a transition, but with a few keyframes, the magic can happen. We’ve provided some settings to create a smooth and straightforward spin transition but play around with the settings to see what you can make.

  1. Place your playhead at the start of the first compound clip and set a keyframe for rotation.
  2. Go to the end of the first comp and adjust the Rotation to -45º.
  3. At the start of the second comp, create a Rotation keyframe for 45º.
  4. Move to the end of the second comp and adjust the Rotation to 0º.
  5. In the Effects panel, search for Radial and add it to both of the compound clips.
  6. Create keyframes for the Radial Amount at the beginning and end of your comp clips.
  7. Ramp the Radial Amount setting, so it starts and ends at 0 and increases to around 25% as the clips meet.

If you’ve gotten stuck using the same tired transitions in your work, then why not have a go at producing something from scratch. With plenty of practice, time and effort, you can create beautiful, stylish transitions in Final Cut Pro. If you’re looking for something similar that’s a bit quicker, then check out these incredible Motion Array Final Cut Pro transitions.

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