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Compositing Generated Elements in FCPX

fcpxlogotrans.pngIn the new Final Cut Pro X, composite modes, including Alpha and Luma Mattes, are applied from the Compositing section of the Video Inspector.  You use these types of Blend Modes to "cut out" one piece of video using information from a different piece of video—for example, to fit video into specific shapes, to apply texture to video, or to transition from one clip to the clip underneath.

In previous versions of Final Cut Pro, a section of video using a Travel Matte would generally look like a stack of three layers: the layer to be "cut out," the matte layer providing the shape information, and a background layer to composite on top of.  We did a tutorial to this end; Apple did too.S0190_TravelMatte2.pngThe FCP7 approach (image from Apple)

The old approach will NOT work in Final Cut Pro X.  Travel Mattes differ in two main ways in Final Cut Pro X:
  • The Matte blend mode is applied to the shape layer, NOT to the layer to be masked
  • If any clip in your Timeline is set to a Matte blend mode, it will cut through all of the layers in your Timeline, including the background layer.
Briefly, an effective matte workflow looks like this (need an introduction to mattes?  Try our textual or video tutorials):
  1. Arrange the layers to be matted in the correct order:Screen shot 2011-10-21 at 1.58.06 PM.png
  2. Click the shape layer to select it, then click the Inspector icon (Screen shot 2011-10-21 at 1.54.08 PM.png) to display the Inspector window.  In the Inspector window, click the Video tab at the top, then click the Compositing category to display its contents.  Change the Blend Mode to the appropriate Matte mode (we're using Stencil Alpha for this example).  The shape layer will cut through all of the video in the Timeline; we'll fix that next.Screen shot 2011-10-21 at 1.59.18 PM.png
  3. In the Timeline, click and drag to select BOTH of the top two clips, the shape layer and the to-be-cut layer.  Right-click on the clips, then click New Compound Clip (or press Opt+G).Screen shot 2011-10-21 at 2.00.37 PM.pngScreen shot 2011-10-21 at 2.00.57 PM.png

Mattes like this are especially useful for compositing video into text—conveniently, we've got a step-by-step video tutorial detailing that process for you.  Want more?  Come take a comprehensive FCPX training class with us at our Orlando classroom, or bring us to your studio for personalized training!

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Using the Photoshop Vanishing Point function was the previous entry in this blog.

Ducking Audio in Final Cut Pro X is the next entry in this blog.

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