How to Create and Position Keyframes in Livetype

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. ]


Now that you know a faster way to move LiveType projects into, and out of, Final Cut, let’s take a look at a way to create a motion effect in LiveType. This is a simple example, but you can build your own sophisticated effects.

Here is our example: I’ve created an animated open for our snowboard video. Except I want it to fly in from the side, then drop out the bottom. Now, granted, you could use one of the prebuilt effects, but, then, you wouldn’t learn anything, would you?

Keyframes are different in LiveType, when compared to Final Cut. In FCP, you set a keyframe for each parameter you want to adjust. In LiveType, one keyframe covers every parameter for that frame.

Keep in mind that with both Final Cut and LiveType, you always work with keyframes in pairs. And, in LiveType, every clip has an automatic keyframe at the beginning and end of the clip.

So, let’s see how to create this effect.



1. We have created a simple animation that we want to manipulate. Select the track you want to apply the effect, then, go to Track > Add New Effect (or type Cmd+E).



2. A new, purple, effect track appears below the text track.



3. Grab the right edge of the effect track and stretch it so it runs the full length of your clip.



4. Move the playhead to 20 frames into the clip. The yellow tool tip will tell you when you are at the right spot. (We are assuming we want this effect to take 20 frames.)


5. Be sure the effect track is selected, then choose Track > Add Keyframe (or type Cmd+K).


6. Move the playhead to the beginning of the clip.



7. Go to the Inspector and click the Attributes tab. Then, click the small padlock to the right of the Offset X and Offset Y sliders. Drag the Offset X slider all the way to the right. See how the text moves? Hmmm… see how it doesn’t move enough to get off the screen.



8. What to do, what to do? Ah, yes. This attribute can actually move far more than the slider allows. So, type 600 into the data entry box to the right of the slider.


9. Poof! The text disappears off the right side of the screen.



10. Play your clip and watch as the clip slides in from the right.


11. For extra credit, create another keyframe in this same effects track 20 frames from the end. Then, move to the end of the effect (where the small edge triangle is) and change the Offset Y value from 0 to 200. Watch what happens to your clip.

There are always two keyframes on a LiveType clip — one at the beginning and the other at the end. However, they are not activated unless you create another keyframe somewhere in the middle and start to make changes. Otherwise, LiveType just assumes your changes are just the permanent location for that image.

Oh, and you can move a keyframe by simply dragging it.

There’s lots more to learn about LiveType, but that’s enough to get you started.

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2 Responses to How to Create and Position Keyframes in Livetype

  1. Roy Dunstan says:

    I am looking for some where to purchase extension packs for Live Type, I only have the basics that came with Final Cut Express 4. If anyone can help me please let me know. Thanks Roy Dunstan

    • Larry says:


      I think your best option is a Google search. Apple hasn’t supported Livetype for close to seven years; LiveType was discontinued with the release of Final Cut Pro 7 in 2009.


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