How to Create Cool Distortion Effects in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro 14/06/2022 4 min read

Distortion effects such as glitches and warps are incredibly trendy across digital content, from music videos to promos. But if you’re using Final Cut Pro, you might have found a limitation to the clip distortions you can create; don’t worry, Motion Array has a vast range of incredible plugins to use, and we will show you how.

Part 1: How to Install Distortion Preset Effects in Final Cut Pro

There are 2 ways to install Final Cut Pro presets, depending on whether you have Apple Motion installed. Motion is the animation software that builds the FCP templates; you don’t need the program for these assets to work, but you will if you want to create your own.

Option 1: Installing with Apple Motion

Don’t worry; you don’t need to open Motion to install the Preset file, but it gives you a handy shortcut to the correct folder.

  1. Download and unzip your Preset file.
  2. Open a second Finder window (Command+N).
  3. Navigate to Movies > Motion Templates; you can choose between the EffectsTransitionsTitles and Generators folder.
  4. Copy the entire Preset folder to the appropriate Motion Templates folder.
  5. Relaunch Final Cut Pro and your template should appear in the associated panel.
installing distortion effect plugin with apple motion

Option 2: Installing without Apple Motion

If you don’t have Apple Motion on your device, you can install the presets to the Motion templates folder in the backend of FCP. The process is the same, but with a much longer file route; you may want to bookmark this page so you can remind yourself when needed.

  1. Find Final Cut Pro X in the Application folder.
  2. Right-click on the application and choose Show Package Contents.
  3. Navigate to Contents > Plugins > Media Providers > MotionEffect.fcp > Contents > Resources > Templates.
  4. Open a second Finder window (Command N) and drag the presets folder to the appropriate Templates folder.
  5. Relaunch FCPX and find your Effect/Generator/Title/Transition in the associated panel.
installing distortion effect plugin without apple motion

Part 2: How to use a Distortion Effect in Final Cut Pro in a Few Easy Steps (with video)

Once you have installed your distortion plugin, you can use the effect the same way as any native FCPX effect. And as you can see from these incredible Glitch Effects we’re using, you can’t keyframe the effect to fade in and out, so let’s look at how to transition into an effect first.

  1. Edit your sequence without adding any glitch effects; this is the last thing we will do.
  2. When you are happy with your edit, select everything in the timeline and Right-click > New Compound Clip; name the clip *Sequence Titles No Glitch.
  3. Hold Alt on your keyboard and select the clip in the timeline; drag the compound clip up to create a copy.
  4. Search for and add your chosen Glitch/Distortion effect to the top compound clip.
  5. In the Effects Control panel, customize the effect until you are happy with the look.
  6. Press B on your keyboard, and using the Blade tool, cut out the sections of the top clip that you don’t want to glitch.
  7. Select each glitch section in turn and hit Command + T to add a transition at the start and end.
  8. Adjust the length of the transition by dragging the ends.
  9. Remember; you need to keep the glitch section lined up perfectly with the No Glitch version of the clip.

Top Tip: You can use this method for any Effect that doesn’t allow you to keyframe the settings.

Part 3: How to Create a Cool Prism Distortion Transition from Scratch in Final Cut Pro (with video)

There are not many Effects native to Final Cut Pro that you can use to make distortion and glitch effects, but the Prism effect is fantastic for adding a rainbow glow to your shots. Let’s look at how you can use the Prism effect to create a beautiful color distortion transition.

  1. Edit your clips in the timeline; search for the Prism Effect, and add it to the clips on either side of the transition.
  2. From the join between the 2 clips, move backward 6-8 frames; create a keyframe for the Prism Amount, set to 0.
  3. Move to the last frame of your first clip and increase the Prism Effect as much as you like to create an incredible rainbow blur.
  4. Add a keyframe for the first frame of your second clip and adjust the amount and direction to match the first.
  5. Move forward 6-8 frames and create a final keyframe, taking the Prism Effect back to 0.
  6. Finally, add a short Cross Dissolve transition between the 2 clips to dissolve the rainbow patterns.

Part 4: Top 5 Distortion Presets Available to Download Today

Action Blur Effects

The Action Blur Effects pack includes 15 fast-paced glitch effects ideal for your trailers, promos, and music videos. The effects are created using a mix of Warp, Noise and Grain and RGB split to create a set of unique and powerful effects.

Download Action Blur Effects Now

Glitch Logo Reveal

The Glitch Logo Reveal template is a simple but powerful digital glitch design with 1 logo and 1 text placeholder. The speedy ident with a bold color palette and fun glitch sound effect is ideal for quick intros to your content.

Download Glitch Logo Reveal Now

Flicker Effects

The Flicker Effects pack includes 15 stylized strobe effects, each with a fun glitchy twist. The flickering is highlighted by a range of styles, including Scanlines, RGB Split, and Bloom light effects.

Download Flicker Effects Now

Glitch Transitions

The Glitch Transitions pack contains 15 unique and fun transitional effects, ideal for building your FCPX library. The range includes RGB split, Fractal Noise, and Scanline style effects, with various customization options.

Download Glitch Transitions Now

Bright Shake Transitions

The Bright Shake Transitions pack includes 9 dynamic and fast effects, ideal for slideshows, showreels and promotional content. Each transition mixes bright Bloom effects with a directional shake, including zooms and horizontal & vertical movements.

Download Bright Shake Transitions Now

Adding trendy distortion and glitch effects to your project might seem fun to add some energy to your videos, but you should use these effects responsibly. Too much glitchiness can distract the viewer, so try only to use your distortion effects to enhance your videos. If you’re looking for more info, check this handy guide about creating glitch effects in Final Cut Pro.

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