How To Use PhotoShop Layers In Final Cut Pro

If you want to use complex graphics or create an animation in Final Cut Pro, you can build your image in Photoshop or another advanced image editing app that supports layers. You can then import that layered document into Final Cut Pro and access the layers. You can apply changes and effects to each layer, or use them to animate portions of the images.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: How To Use PhotoShop Layers In Final Cut Pro.

Here's something really cool you can do in Final Cut Pro. You can, of course, bring graphics into Final Cut Pro, images of any kind. But you can also bring layered graphics. A layer graphic, a good example, is a photoshop document, a PSD, that has layers in it. When you bring those into Final Cut you can actually access the layers. So instead of having to create all these different elements you can just put them all in a PSD and bring them in and use them that way.

Now it has to be a RGB formatted PSD with eight bits per channel and then it should work. You can use any app to create the PSD. So, for instance, a third party app like Pixelmator that can export as a PSD with layers should work. I created this one in PhotoShop. It's a pretty simple graphic here. I'm going to drag and drop the file into Final Cut. I'm just going to take the default stuff setting it to Apple Pro res 4444. It gives me transparency which is nice. This is a large graphic. It's like a 5000 by 3000 pixels so it will import as 4K.

I get a graphic there and it appears to be a normal graphic. However since it is layered and everything is set correctly if I go to Clip there's Open Clip. I can select that and now I can actually see it has got three layers. There's a city layer, a moon and a background. So I can do things already with the layers. For instance if I Control click on one of these layers I can disable it or do V for it and you can see the background is gone. So I can do that with the moon as well. That could be really useful.

You can, of course, animate these which is what I'm going to do here. I'm actually going to animate this moon. So I've selected the moon layer here and I'm going to go to Transform and I can now drop this layer down. I'm going to bring it down here so it's out of sight. Notice how it shows up a little bit underneath the city here. I'm actually going to Transform the city as well. I'm going to move that down so it's kind of flush with the bottom.

So I've got the moon there. I'm going to animate it by setting a Key frame. So I'm going to go all the way to the beginning here. Select the key frame there. Then I'm going to move along to somewhere else. So let's move to like fifteen seconds or so there. I'm going to set another key frame there and I'm going to drag the moon up. So now as I scroll back and forth I can see it goes from one key frame to the other for that transform. So now I can play the video and you can see the moon will rise over the course of those fifteen seconds above the city. So I get a nice little animation there using multiple layers in Final Cut.

Now I don't just have to do animations. I could use it for all sorts of things. For instance I can, you know, just have different elements appear or disappear at different times. Or play with the opacity of different layers. Apply different blends and all sorts of things to them. So there are a lot of reasons why you may want to have a layered graphic in Final Cut. You can have a very complex scene with things and even put video in there and, you know, not to have to have all these different files or be exporting from a complex photoshop document into different pieces to bring it in. You can just bring the entire thing in and then play around with the parts as if they are different channels.

Once you've got that all set like you want you use this little arrow here to exit out. You can see it's still a single item here. It's just one graphic but now inside that graphic there's multiple layers in it and that transition there is still working.

Comments: One Response to “How To Use PhotoShop Layers In Final Cut Pro”

    6 days ago

    I thank you for showing me this as I now can create with photo shop and use the many options PS has has and add several layers that I can import into FCPX then open up the layered PS import and Animate it. OMG this is fantastic and my brain has just exploded with ideas – create new intros for my videos, tell story’s I am so excited right now. Cheers from iSpike (Outback country) Western Australia

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