Creating a Glow Behind Text

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the September, 2005, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

This technique was discovered by Chloe, one of my students at Video Symphony. I thought this was both simple and cool, so I want to share it with you. And, it works in all versions of FCP from 3.0 on.

We’ll create this effect over a black background, just to make it easier to see. However, you can key this over any video clip.

When I first looked at Outline text, I thought it was the ugliest thing I’d seen in a long time. However, the more I work with it, the more interesting it gets. Here’s Chloe’s version.

1. Go to the Viewer and make sure the Video tab is selected.




2. Click the Generator button, the small letter A in the lower-left corner.


3. Select Text > Outline Text.




4. Before doing anything else, drag the text clip from the Viewer to the Superimpose overlay menu in the Canvas.




5. The clip appears at the position of the playhead and superimposed one track above the track selected in the patch panel.




6. Double-click the clip to load it into the Viewer. You can tell if a clip has been loaded from the Timeline because the playhead scrubber bar in the Viewer has little sprocket holes in it.




7. Click the Controls tab and type “Snowboard!”. Set the font to Marker Felt and the size to 90 points.




8. So far, your effect looks like this.




9. If you were to key the outline text over anything other than black, you’d see it has a truly ugly border around it. However, we can change the border to something much more aesthetic by setting Line width to 200, Line softness to 100 and changing the color of the Line Color chip by clicking it and selecting any color but black. Here, I’ve used gold.




10. Here’s how things look now. Ah, much better! That, alone, makes for more interesting text. However, in writing this technique, I discovered more interesting stuff by playing with the Background settings farther down the Controls tab.




11. Change the Horizontal size to 150, the Vertical size to 150, the Vertical offset to -80, Back soft to 50 and Back opacity to 40. Then, click the color chip and change the color to a medium-deep blue.




12. The effect now looks like this — very cool. And much more subtle than you might at first suspect.


13. If you want to try something really interesting, drag a video clip into the Back Graphic well and watch what happens.


14. To key this over a video clip, simply edit a video clip onto V1 immediately below the text.

I thought this was a very interesting way to create a simple, but elegant effect. And, now you can create it, too.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Larry Recommends:

FCPX Complete

NEW & Updated!

Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.

Access over 1,900 on-demand video editing courses. Become a member of our Video Training Library today!


Subscribe to Larry's FREE weekly newsletter and save 10%
on your first purchase.