Anchor Point Tricks

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the May, 2006, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


This next tip was sparked by an idea suggested in “Advanced Color Correction and Effects in Final Cut Pro 5,” written by Alexis Van Hurkman and DigitalFilm Tree.

Have you ever wondered what the Anchor Point does in the Motion tab? Well, I always thought of this as the point around which an image revolves. While true, the anchor point actually does a lot more — it is the point around which “all motion parameter transformations are centered.”

Hmmm…, I wondered, what that means in English?

Well, let’s play for a few minutes and discover what this can do.

I have created a rectangular shape and colored it tan because I was tired of white. I then edited it to the Timeline and double-clicked it to load it into the Viewer. Then, I selected the Canvas and, from the View menu in the Canvas, chose “Image + Wireframe.” (Yes, there are other ways to do this, I just wanted to show you something different.)

Click the Motion tab and change the setting in the LEFT anchor box to -200.

Notice that a new white dot appears in the Canvas with a line connecting it to the center of your image. This new dot is the anchor point. You can grab the anchor point with your Arrow tool and drag it anywhere you’d like. (If you don’t see the white dot, be sure the clip is selected in the Timeline.)

When you are done dragging, reset the Anchor boxes so they read -200, 0. Make sure the clip is still selected in the Timeline.

To see the kinds of effects you can create by changing the anchor point, move the hands of the rotation clock. Notice that your image is rotating around the anchor point. Cool, but not life-changing.

However, watch what happens when you drag the Scale slider — notice that the image scales from it’s original position at the center and gradually recedes into the anchor point? This is VERY cool, because simply changing the location of the anchor point means any image can disappear into any point in the frame by only two keyframes to change the scale.

For extra credit, watch what happens when you change both rotation and scale at the same time.

Very cool — and very easy!

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