Lower thirds are titles presented in the bottom lower third of the video frame. They are great for presenting info, like the name of a speaker, without obstructing the center of the shot. Final Cut Pro comes with over 20 lower thirds titles built-in, in a wide array of styles to fit any project. These are easy to use and can all be previewed from the Titles & Generators sidebar.
This tutorial will walk you through the steps of using lower thirds titles in Final Cut Pro. You will learn to add them in the timeline, customize the text and controls, and animate the title using keyframes. We’ve also included a list of the top lower thirds available for download and a how-to for installing them. Let’s dive in!
Part 1: How to Add Lower Thirds in Final Cut Pro
The process of getting started is pretty simple. Follow these five steps, and you’ll be not only adding, but also animating lower thirds titles in your project in just a few minutes!
Step 1: Open Titles & Generators Sidebar and Choose your Lower Third
Final Cut Pro’s large selection of built-in lower thirds are not immediately viewable in the default workspace. Have no fear, with two clicks you’ll be browsing the dozens of included titles that are conveniently organized in a lower thirds category.
- If you haven’t already, create or open your Event and Project.
- Switch to the Titles & Generators sidebar by clicking the icon above the browser.
- If it isn’t already selected, choose Titles on the sidebar to view the titles.
- Expand the Titles list by clicking the down arrow next to it on the sidebar. Then select Lower Thirds.
- On the right, you should see some lower thirds thumbnails appear. You can preview these in the Viewer by skimming your mouse cursor over the thumbnail.
Step 2: Adding your Lower Third to the Timeline
Final Cut comes with a variety of lower thirds for different types of projects. Once you’ve chosen one that fits your project, you can add it to the timeline and adjust it from there.
- Select the Title you’d like to use by clicking it, then drag it down to the Timeline.
- Place your Title above the main track if you’d like it superimposed over other footage. If you’d like it set against a black screen, you can drag the Title down to the main track.
- Adjust the position of the Title by dragging it left or right in the timeline.
- Lengthen or shorten the title by dragging its edges. As you move your mouse to the edge of the Title, you should see the trim icon appear. This means you can click and drag to adjust the in or out point.
From here, you can move the playhead to the beginning of your project and press play (or hit the space bar on your keyboard) to preview it with the new Title. If you’re not satisfied, you can always delete this title and try another one.
Step 3: Editing & Customizing Text
The lower third you’ve added to your project will include some placeholder text for you to change. As you change the text, you can see a preview of your Title appear in the viewer. You can also make formatting changes to the font, color, size, etc.
- In the Timeline, move the Playhead to the middle of your Title so you can see it clearly in the Viewer.
- Double-click the text in the Viewer. It should open the Title Inspector on the right. If it doesn’t, you can also select the Title in the Timeline and manually open the Title Inspector by clicking its icon above the Inspector.
- Type in your new text. Your lower thirds title might have multiple text fields. If so, you switch between them by double-clicking them in the Viewer.
- If you’d like to change any formatting, highlight the text you’d like to format and make adjustments in the Title Inspector. There are a lot of options here; you can change the font, size, color, add drop shadow effects, and more.
Step 4: Adjusting Title Parameters
Each Title in Final Cut Pro will have its own unique set of attributes that you can control. These controls can change the intro & outro animations, colors of the background, and more. They are all accessed from the Title Inspector.
- Select the lower thirds title in the Timeline by clicking it.
- Switch to the Title Inspector by clicking the icon above the Inspector.
- Toggle the Build In and Build Out options if you’d like to enable or disable animations at the beginning and end of the Title.
- Other adjustments are unique per the Title you’ve chosen. Make adjustments to these as you see fit.
Step 5: Animate With Keyframes (Optional)
This last step is a little bit advanced and may be unnecessary for your particular project. Using keyframes allows you to animate your lower thirds by changing a parameter at two different points in time, and have Final Cut Pro fill in the difference. You can use this kind of animation to make your text slowly enlarge, change color, or move across the screen.
- Select your Title in the Timeline and open the Title Inspector, Video Inspector, or Text Inspector, depending on which attribute you’d like to animate.
- Move the Playhead where you’d like your animation to begin, and press the Keyframe Button (a small gray diamond) to the right of that attribute in the Inspector. The Keyframe Button should turn yellow, indicating that frame is now a keyframe for that attribute
- Now move your Playhead to where you’d like the animation to end and press the Keyframe button in the Inspector.
- Switch back and forth between these two keyframes by clicking the Previous Keyframe and Next Keyframe buttons, which should appear as small yellow arrows to the right of the attribute you are animating. Adjust the attribute at each keyframe to whatever value you’d like.
You’ve done it. Not only have you found, edited, and customized your own lower thirds in Final Cut Pro, but now you’ve also animated it. Super cool! Now you’ve got everything it takes to work with lower thirds and other types of titles.
In the next section below, we’ll help you upgrade your arsenal of lower thirds titles with some of the best Final Cut Pro add-ons available online.
Part 2: Top FCPX Lower Thirds Templates
There are over 20 lower thirds titles included with Final Cut Pro, which is great! But since Final Cut Pro is such a popular NLE, you can be sure you’ve seen most of these titles before. If you’d like to build a unique video project with titles viewers haven’t already seen on a hundred YouTube videos, check out our curated list of the best lower thirds title packs available for Final Cut Pro.
1. Lower Thirds
These slick and modern pack of lower thirds templates are a great addition to FCPX. Each title includes two customizable text fields as well as a customizable colored graphic design—allowing you to match the coloring of the rest of your composition. These titles are stylish enough to look pro and flexible enough to fit just about any project.
If you’re producing videos for or on social media, this is the lower thirds pack for you! These com pre-branded with popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, and more. You can use them for quoting social media posts or promoting your own accounts.
For those who believe “less is more,” this minimal pack delivers elegant and simple lower thirds. Each title has a customizable color to match your branding and two text fields. With nine animated titles altogether, this pack will make a great addition to your built-in Final Cut Pro lower thirds.
Break out your glow sticks and neon lights, this title pack is ready to shine with flashy animations and stylish text arrangements. Truly a unique addition to your library, Lower Third Titles Neon caters to videos about nightlife, the ’80s, parties, and other festive occasions. It works best against dark backgrounds.
Artistically themed, with animated brush strokes and stylish fonts–this is a fantastic and colorful pack for any videos about painting, art, DIY, or for anyone that just wants some fun titles! It includes full color controls to customize each brush stroke, and 16 unique titles for a ton of variety.
Part 3: Download and Use Lower Thirds Templates
If you’ve downloaded any of the lower thirds titles above, you may be wondering how to add it to Final Cut Pro! Don’t worry, the process is pretty painless. Just follow the next five steps and those new lower thirds will appear right alongside the rest of your titles in the Title & Generators sidebar.
Step 1: Download and Unzip Your Templates
Once you’ve chosen the lower third you’d like to use, press the download button. If you haven’t already, make sure you’re logged in.
- Download the title from the page.
- Make sure to note what folder you’ve downloaded it to and navigate there.
- Use zip software to unzip the title pack.
- In the Finder, navigate to your Applications folder and control-click Final Cut Pro. In the drop-down menu select Show Package Contents.
- Inside this folder, open Plugins > MediaProviders > MotionEffect.fxp > Contents> Resources > Templates > Titles
- Copy your newly unzipped file here into this folder. You may need to enter your computer’s login password.
Step 2: Use Your Template in Final Cut Pro
Now that you’ve copied your title files into the appropriate folder, Final Cut Pro should recognize them the next time you start the program.
- Restart or open Final Cut Pro.
- Open the Titles & Generators sidebar.
- Search by typing the name of the title, or simply browse to find its thumbnail.
- Once you’ve found your new title, drag it into the timeline.
- You can adjust any of the customizable properties by clicking the title item in the timeline and opening the Title Inspector.
And that’s it, using this method you can add any third party title pack to Final Cut Pro and easily use it from the Titles & Generators sidebar. If you haven’t got the chance, make sure to sign up at MotionArray.com to gain access to our 10 recommended lower thirds as well as a host of other Titles for download.
Whatever Final Cut Pro lower third you end up working with, you can see how easy the workflow is to get started adding them to your videos. Motion Array also has thousands of other add-ons available including effects, templates, transitions, and more to help you along the way.