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3D Titles in Final Cut Pro X

Check out this great tutorial for creating and animating 3D titles within Final Cut Pro X.

3D text.pngA couple of quick notes before you watch this tutorial:

  • Requires you are running a minimum of Final Cut Pro X 10.2.1 or higher.
  • I highly recommend that you purchase a copy of Apple Motion, so you can animated 3D titles directly wtihin Final Cut Pro X.
  • Playback and rendering performance will depend on your graphics card.  The more video ram on your graphics card - the better.
  • fcpx_training.pngThis is my first 4K tutorial uploaded to YouTube.  So, make sure you adjust the playback settings if you would like to watch the video in 4K.

Here are the next scheduled hands-on Final Cut Pro X training course at GeniusDV.

Course Course Dates Location
5 Day Final Cut Pro - Motion Class July 6-10 (2015) Orlando, FL
On-Site Final Cut Pro Training Call for availability


To complete this exercise you must have Final Cut Pro 10.2.1 or higher. I also recommend that you purchase a copy of Apple Motion.

 In the lower right corner of the viewer area, click on the T icon to display the title browser window.

 Click on the 3D category.  From here you will see various pre-built 3D animations for your title.

 Hover the mouse cursor over a preset to get a preview of each animation.

Text Tool.png

 After you find a preset you like, double click on it to place the title preset into a project.

 Next, click on the title within the timeline area to select it.

 Use the keyboard shortcut Command 4 to bring forward the inspector window.

 At the top of the window, make sure the text tab is selected.

Change Name of Title.png

From here you can easily change the name of the text object.

 In this example, I’ll give title a name, Jamaica.

 At the top of the window, choose a preset style to help you get started.

 In this example, I’ll choose this glossy green preset.


 Here, you will also have basic controls for the font type, size, and alignment.

 I’ll go ahead and increase the text size.

Okay, if you scroll down through the inspector window, you will also see additional parameters for adjusting your 3D Text.

You will see a category called Material.

 Click on the pull down menu and choose multiple materials.

 You will now see that you can assign different materials to the face, edges and sides of your text.


 In this example, I’ll change the front edge to this yellow plastic material.

 Scroll down within the inspector window and you will see additional parameters for adding a glow, and a drop shadow.

 In this example, I’ll add a drop shadow to the text object.

 With the title selected in the timeline area, click on the title within the Viewer window.

 You should see three circles that represent three different axis points.

axis points.png

 The circle on the left activates a green ring that allows you to rotate your title on its Y axis.

 The circle on top activates a red ring that rotates on the X axis.

 The circle on the right activates a blue ring that rotates on the Z axis.

 And these three arrows correspond to the position of the text on the Y, X, and Z plane.


Okay, so some quick pointers to adjusting 3D text.

 Depending on your text object these rotation control points are sometimes difficult to see.

If you hold down the command key on your keyboard you will clearly see each axis ring without having to click on the circles.

axis rings.png

Or, if you continue holding down the command key and drag anywhere outside an axis ring, you can control all three axis points at the same time.

 As you make adjustments, you will see the 3D position coordinates in the upper left corner of the viewer window.

 Important: if you manipulate your title object in 3D using the axis rings, it may be to reset the title back to its default position.

That’s because there are no inspector controls for resetting the position and rotation of the X, Y, and Z parameters.

 Which brings me to my next point.

Apple makes a software product called Apple Motion.

Apple Motion is an absolute necessity for serious Final Cut Pro X users, and it can be purchased from the App Store.

With Apple Motion, you can edit or create Final Cut Pro X title templates.

This will allow you to have full control over the X, Y and Z parameters directly within Final Cut Pro X.

To do this, right click on an existing title template and choose Open a copy in Motion.

open template in motion.png

Or, you can launch Apple Motion outside of Final Cut Pro X, and create a new Title from scratch.

After Apple Motion opens, navigate to the browser window in the upper left corner and click on the inspector tab.

Then click on the properties tab.

Press the ‘Q’ key on the keyboard to activate the 3D transform tool.

Notice how the axis rings of the text object now correspond to parameters within the inspector window.

3D parameters in Motion.png

It’s these parameters that were missing from the title template within Final Cut Pro X.

Navigate to the position parameter pull down menu and select publish.

publish motion parameter.png

Do the same for the Rotation parameters.

Navigate to the file menu and choose Save-As.

 Give your new template a name and press the return key to publish it.

 Now, when you return back to Final Cut Pro X, you will now see your new template within the 3D category of the title browser window.

 Double click on the new template that you saved from Apple Motion.

new fcp x template.png

In doing so, if you are parked over your old title, the new template will replace it.

It will keep the original name, but you will have to re-apply the style adjustments.

However, from this point forward you can now use this new template with the published parameters from Apple Motion.

So to demonstrate select the title within the Viewer window.

Then navigate to the Title tab within the inspector window.

You will now see the position and rotation parameters that were published from Apple Motion.

 So now if you move your title object, you will have access to the physical parameters within the Inspector window.

new 3D parameters FCP X.png

This means that you can now create 3D animations with the added ability to create keyframes on the x, y, and z axis without having to go back into Apple Motion.

You also now have the ability to reset parameters directly from the inspector window.

To add keyframes, right click on the title segment within the timeline area.

Choose show video animation from the contextual menu.

Show Video Animation.png

Navigate back to the viewer area and make a 3D rotation adjustment on the Y axis to the title.

Move over to the inspector window and click keyframe button for the Y rotation parameter.

add keyframe.png

A keyframe will appear within the video animation area for the title object.

keyframe in timeline area.png

Move the playhead indicator forward a few frames and set the Y rotation parameter back to 0.

reset y parameter.png

This will add another keyframe within the animation area for the title object.

additional keyframe.png

Okay, that’s it!  Check it out.

For other great tips like this, or to enroll in a Final Cut Pro X training course, visit GeniusDV.com

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Downgrading MAC Operating System was the previous entry in this blog.

ScreenFlow Product Review is the next entry in this blog.

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