Improve Transitions with Gradient Wipes

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the April, 2004, issue of
Larry’s Monthly Final Cut Studio Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Here’s a simple technique you can use to create some truly interesting transitions using Final Cut’s gradient wipe. (And half the fun is in creating the gradient, itself.)

Here’s how it works. Final Cut has a transition, called the Gradient Wipe, that transitions between two shots based upon the gray scale value of a graphic that you create and reference as part of the transition. It sounds complex, but it isn’t.

First, start by opening the graphics program of your choice and create an image that gradually shades from pure white to pure black.

Now, apply an interesting effect. Ones that I like are twirls, or this one — a glass block effect. The only limits are: don’t add colors and don’t remove the gradations. (Well, you can, this also makes for an interesting effect; but, for right now, don’t.)

Import your newly created gradient into Final Cut.

Now, click on the Effects tab in the Browser (or select your edit point, then go to Effects -> Video Transitions -> Wipes -> Gradient wipe)…

…and drag the Gradient wipe down on your transition.

Double click the transition to open the transition editor and drag your gradient graphic from the Browser into the graphic “well” on the far right side of the transition editor.

Render your effect and watch how the various shades of gray affect your transition. This is a very cool way to create some truly eye-catching transitions.

I’ve created five simple ideas you can use to experiment with. These are TIFF images in 720 x 534 format. I created them, so they are royalty-free. But the ZIP download is fairly big — 1.7 MB. Click here to download.


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