Learn 3 Creative Morph Effects in Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro 22/07/2021 4 min read

If you’re looking to create unique and trendy transitions, you can’t go wrong with a dynamic morph effect. What many editors don’t realize is that the morph effects can be used to hide edits in your sequences. Super handy for talkinghead interviews that might have lots of cuts. Morphing is such a powerful effect that we thought we should put together a guide to some of its top uses.

Part 1: Top 3 Uses for the Final Cut Pro Flow Effect

Flow is Final Cut Pro’s native morphing effect, and it can be found along with all your other FCP transitions in the Transition panel. Flow works similarly to a cross dissolve, except this transition will analyze the optical flow of each of your shots and decide where and when to transition between them.

1. Create Morph Cuts in Final Cut Pro

One of the best uses for Morph Effects in FCP is creating Morph Cut Sequences, stylized sequences with multiple effects to create a warped, disorientating style shot.

  1. Place your clip in the timeline and trim it as required.
  2. Press B on the keyboard to use the Blade tool.
  3. Make several cuts in your clip at regular intervals throughout the sequence, for example, every 10 frames.
  4. In the Effects panel, search for Flow and drag it to each of the cuts in your sequence.
  5. Hold Ctrl or Cmd and select each of the transitions.
  6. Drag the ends of the transitions to your desired length.

2. Create the Face Morph Effect in Final Cut Pro

Facial Morphs always look super cool and are sure to impress your viewers. Fortunately, with a bit of preparation, Flow can also be used to create a basic facial morph.

  1. Edit your 2 clips so they sit one after the other on your timeline.
  2. Move the second clip to sit on top of your first and decrease the Opacity to 50%.
  3. Adjust the Scale and Position of both layers so the faces are aligned.
  4. Move the top clip back to the sequence, and increase the Opacity back to 100%.
  5. Add the Flow effect and adjust the timing to suit your needs.

3. Hide Talking Head Edits in Final Cut Pro

If you are a corporate video editor, you will probably be familiar with the frustrations of cutting together talking head interviews. Fortunately, Flow offers a solution to those ugly straight cuts and can save you from having to cover your sequence in B-Roll.

  1. Edit your talking head interview, removing any mistakes. The Flow effect will only take a few frames of each clip, so try and make the subject’s position as similar as possible between the end and start of your clips.
  2. Add the Flow effect to any straight cuts you wish to morph.
  3. Drag the end of the transition to make it as short as possible with your clip. Remember, the aim is to hide the edit rather than create a cool effect.
  4. Select the transition, and in the Effect Controls panel, adjust the Audio Transition settings as needed.

Using the Final Cut Pro Flow effect in this way is not an exact science. The more movement between your takes, the more challenging it will be to hide the cut. When you are filming your interviews, consider how flow can be used to bury the edits and direct your interviewee accordingly.

Part 2: Create Morph Cuts with the mMorphCut Plugin for FCPX

If the flow effect isn’t working for you, then the mMorphCut plugin is a cost-effective alternative to the FCP native transition. The MotionVFX plugin is incredibly powerful, and at just $29.99, there is little reason not to add it to your toolkit. 

The Morph Cuts Plugin uses similar Optical Flow technology to FCP Flow, only it does it better. Not only can you create super smooth morph effects once the plugin is installed, but it also appears in your Transitions panel and can be dragged and dropped on your clips as you would any other effect.

As a bonus, the Motion VFX plugin offers a selection of transitions for various formats, including 1080p, 2K, 4K, and 8K transitions, so no matter what you are shooting on, the effect will work to scale.

We repeated the above steps using the mMorphCut plugin to compare with the Final Cut Pro Flow Effect. Check out the results for yourself:

Part 3: 4 Useful Tips for Using Morph Effects

Now you know how to use the morph effects in Final Cut Pro, there are several things to consider when creating your compositions.

Don’t Over-use Morphs

The morph effect is trendy and fun to use, but as with all effects, it should be used sparingly. If you are adding any morph effects to your composition, make sure you have a reason to be adding it, either narratively or technically. 

Text Animation with Morph Effects

Morph effects are also entertaining to use with text layers, and there are 2 ways to do it. You can add a simple morph between 2 different title cards to see the words transform, or you can use the same title but morph between fonts. Either option is pretty cool and sure to grab your viewer’s attention.

Better B-Roll

While morph effects can be used to bury straight cuts in your videos, it isn’t something you can always rely on. Flow is better used to cut out finer mistakes, such as umms and errs, than cutting between takes. If Flow doesn’t work for one of your cuts, consider using B-Roll to cover the edit.

Add Sound Effects

If you create a cool stylized sequence with morphs, you can enhance the overall effect by adding suitable audio elements. Think about the ‘sound’ of your morph and find sound effects that suit the tone of your composition, for example, a whoosh or warp SFX.

Whether you are using Morphing to create stylized effects or simply trying to bury an edit, there is no doubt that Final Cut Pros Flow Effect is a powerful tool for any editor. If you want to up your game, the MotionVFX mMorph Cut is worth checking out.

Now you know 3 cool ways to use the morph effect in Final Cut Pro, have fun with it, and see what you can create. If you are looking for more tutorials, you can learn to create 3 different glitch effects or cool scribble effects in Final Cut Pro with our recent articles.