FCP X: Create a Motion Path [Video]

Posted on by Larry

FCP X: Create a Motion Path (Video)

[This is an excerpt from a recent PowerUP webinar: Animation and Keyframes in Final Cut Pro X, which you can download from our store. You can also access all our webinars by becoming a subscriber.]

A “Motion Path” is the path an animated image takes as it moves across the screen. Motion paths can be straight or curved, simple or complex.

In this video tutorial, I illustrate what a motion path is, how to use keyframes to create a straight-line path, then how to add curves to the path and change the shape of the curves using Beziér control points. It sounds complex, but Final Cut Pro X makes this really easy.

If you want to learn how to make your images move, then how to get them to move all around the screen, you need to watch this video. After you watch this, making things move will be both fun and easy!

FCP X: Create a Motion Path (Video)

TRT: 5:58 — QuickTime HD movie

NOTE: This video may not play inside FireFox, please use a different browser.

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14 Responses to FCP X: Create a Motion Path [Video]

  1. annamaria says:

    I should like to learn just a little

  2. Tony Glaser says:

    Very helpful video, thanks!

  3. Les Mahoney says:

    Larry, you just simply ROCK! Thanks for your time and talent, you give so generously.

  4. James Ryan says:

    Excellent video, Larry. I knew some of this already, but you really opened up the possibilities with variations that I didn’t know about. Bravo!

  5. Thanks Larry – as always, a stellar explanation! As a mate of mine says, “the devil’s in the detail!” And you my friend, have the detail. All the best, Cheers Rick

  6. dimitriosPredaris says:

    Larry, you’re excellent! So simple & cool talent you have, and the way you give the explanations, just perfect!

  7. Josh Kauffman says:

    Extremely informative, thank you. Two questions I hope you can help me with:

    1) How do you open the Keyframes workspace? I have been unable to find the command string in my menu options.

    2) When I animate a .png file over a background, it looks fine in FCP, but once I export it the edges of my .png are wavy and pixelated. Any idea what would cause this or how to eliminate the problem?

    • Larry says:


      To show the keyframe editor:
      * Display the timeline (Window > Video Timeline)
      * Click the three stacked diamonds in the top right corner (or choose Window > Keyframe Editor)

      The wavy lines are *probably* due to creating an interlaced project. Be SURE to create a progressive project. It is easy to convert progressive to interlaced, but mastering in interlaced will always cause problems.


  8. Joseph says:

    Hello. I am able to do all of this, thanks for the lesson. I do have an issue that I cant seem to resolved. I want to have two video clips move across the screen from left to right. I want the second one to start as soon as the first one fully enters the screen. I have a small space between the clips when they first start but for some reason the amount of space changes between clips as they both move across the screen. If I start both clips off at the same time (on top of each other) then they are both playing at the exact same speed. I am stumped. Any ideas?

    • Larry says:


      First, the link you included didn’t work, so I removed it.

      Second, if you are creating the move using the Ken Burns effect, it automatically adds acceleration and deceleration to all movements, which is probably what you are seeing. A better option is to use keyframes for the first clip. Then, use Edit > Copy Effects to copy the effect from the first clip, and Edit > Paste Effects to paste exactly the same effect to the second clip.

      Make sure, also, to offset the two clips in the Timeline so that one starts earlier than the second.


  9. gino says:


  10. Gadget ID says:

    Really helpful Sir, almost 2020.

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