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This chapter is from the book Creating a Motion Path

Creating a Motion Path

Today, an editor is not only expected to edit, but to composite effects and build animations as part of an integrated process. As an Avid editor, you’ve most likely created motion paths for your projects. While creating motion paths in Avid is nothing new, adjusting them in Final Cut Pro may be quicker and easier. For example, in Avid 5, you can move keyframes in the motion path. But in FCP, you can add keyframes and manipulate interpolation which results in more flexibility when changing the motion path.

Figure 10.55 Avid Effect mode window with image handles

What Is a Motion Path?

As in Avid, a motion path reflects the changes in position an image makes over time. A motion path needs a minimum of two keyframes, creating at least a starting and stopping position on the path. When the Image+Wireframe mode is active, the motion path becomes visible, and you can make changes to it directly in the Canvas window.

The principle behind motion paths is simple. After you place an initial position keyframe, FCP automatically creates a new keyframe for any position change that occurs afterward. The simplest use of a motion path is to fly an image or a title across the screen. If this is new territory, try a simple motion path first. In the following images, two keyframes were used to animate the clip moving into the image area.

Figure 10.56A Keyframe 1—starting location

Figure 10.56B Interpolated motion between keyframes

Figure 10.56C Keyframe 2—ending location

To create a simple motion path:

  1. In the Timeline, double-click a clip to open it in the Viewer and position the Timeline playhead at the beginning of the clip.
  2. In the Canvas, turn on Image+Wireframe mode, or press W.
  3. Change the Canvas zoom view to 12 or 25 percent so you can see outside the active image area when the image is moved offscreen.
  4. In the Canvas window, click and drag the image off the screen to the left. (Hold down Shift to constrain horizontal and vertical movements.)
  5. To set a keyframe at this location, do one of the following:
    • In the Viewer, click the Motion tab and click the Keyframe button for the Center parameter, which controls the image’s position.

      Click the Keyframe button in the Canvas to apply a keyframe to all motion attributes at this location. You can also press Control-K to achieve the same result.

      Control-click the Keyframe button in the Canvas and select the specific parameter for which you want to set a keyframe.

      When the playhead is over a keyframe in Image+Wireframe mode, the wireframe appears green.

  6. Move the playhead to where you want the image to be fully on the screen.
  7. In the Canvas, click the image and drag it (hold down Shift to constrain horizontal or vertical movement) to its center position or wherever you want to place it. FCP automatically adds a new keyframe at that point to reflect the change from the original keyframed position.
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