After Effects is used by a lot of video editors and motion graphic artists alike. Learn how to send your FCPX clips and projects over to AE and a few useful tips while we're there.
- Welcome to Final Cut Pro X Weekly. I'm Nick and Jeff's not here right now. This week we're going to talk about Adobe After Effects Workflows. And that's how you can either get a clip or a Final Cut Pro X project into After Effects. Some of the key concepts we'll be exploring include getting our footage in with no plugins, or no need of any third-party software. But then we're going to look at a very powerful plugin from FXFactory called Automatic Duck Ximport AE of how we can take a Final Cut Pro X project, get it into After Effects, maintaining quite a bit of the maybe effects, mixed with changes we've made to some of our parameters.
We're going to look at one of the advantages of After Effects while we're there, which is how we can work with layered Illustrator assets, something Final Cut Pro X nor Motion can do. And then last but not least, we need to get our After Effects projects that we sent from Final Cut Pro maybe back to Final Cut Pro, and do we want the alpha channel or don't we? We're going to cover both of those options. So here we are, I've got a project opened up, and inside this project there are quite a few different layers and some of these layers have been animated. But in looking at this project, my After Effects team requires this video clip to do some compositing and to add some elements.
So I need to be able to send it to them. One way for me to send that clip to them is to first of all, let me reveal this clip in the browser. I'm going to control-click, and choose to Reveal in Browser. It'll bring me to where that clip is, you can see up here, and from here I can control or right-click and then choose to reveal this in the finder. This is going to show me where this is on my system, I can find that file, and from here I can choose to duplicate this and then send that duplicate over to After Effects. I need to warn you, though, we are sending the raw clip, not the decision that we have in our timeline.
So that is the disadvantage that it's going to send the entire raw clip. Let me go back into my project. We're not going to look at a plugin, the Automatic Duck Import for AE. Here inside my project I want to just point out a couple of things, I've got a text clip and inside of there it has basically two different types of sizes of font. I've got some music and you'll notice that there's some fade-in and fade-out handles. And I want to draw your attention to the last clip in the timeline. I've actually revealed its video animation properties by pressing Control-V, this reveals things that are stamped onto the clip inside of the Inspector.
You can see that there's a fade-out on the Opacity line here. We can also notice that this is a compound clip based on its symbol. So it contains two clips inside of it. One of the clips overlay modes has been changed to soft light, okay. While we have the other clip underneath it. And they're both being affected by a black and white effect that's on the compound clip. Now the reason I'm pointing it out to you before I send this over into After Effects, is I just want you to see what's going to be maintained and what's not, noting all the things that are there in my timeline.
So how do I get this over to After Effects if I have the Automatic Duck plugin? First of all I got to File and from the menu here I want to export in XML. I'm going to go to my desktop, and on my desktop I'm going to create a new folder. I'll call this My FCPX Project for AE, and I'll leave the name of this XML file as Automatic Duck Import and the XML version I'm going to use is the current version.
Let's choose to save that, that XML is saved, I'll see you in After Effects. So I'm right now here in After Effects where I've created a new project. In order to bring in this Final Cut Pro X file, I'm going to go to the File menu and choose Import or I'll have the option to import Automatic Duck Ximport AE. This will be here if you've purchased Automatic Duck from FXFactory. Once I do, I simply need to go to my desktop, I'm going to go to My FCPX Project for AE to find the XML file.
I can select and then choose top open it, but you should be aware there's a series of settings that you can modify of how you'd like to bring in this project. So we could, of course, overwrite our composition setting preset, which I don't want to do to a different format or flavor of our choice, and we can also choose how we want the layers to appear in the After Effects timeline. I'm going to go here to Layers step down in comp, just to show you what that looks like. It's going to be a step-down order of how each of these clips come in in the layer panel.
With that chosen, keep in mind that if I did have any secondary storylines in Final Cut, I could choose to keep them or have them as Precomps inside of After Effects or Compositions. If I did have these secondary storylines that were in my Final Cut timeline, I could choose to have them as Precomps inside my After Effects composition. I also have options for footage and media, of how I would like them to display if I had inter-delay sources, which I don't in this case. So I'm just going to leave these settings as their default. I'm going to choose OK and then I'm going to choose to Open this XML.
And it's going to translate my Final Cut Pro X XML file into something that is workable inside of After Effects. Now, what you see here inside your After Effects project panel, is a folder containing the clips that were involved along with your After Effects composition, which happens to be that Final Cut Pro X project. Let's see what's come over. After I double-click, the first thing I'll show you is the text files did come over, but they aren't positioned exactly how they were inside of Final Cut. That's not too much of a problem, I could actually choose each of the text layers and choose to vertical central line the first one, and maybe take the second one and place it just right on top of the Bar Scene text and make some quick size adjustments there in the character panel.
I could also, of course, animate these separately. Each of the clips from Final Cut is stepping down from the first clip to the last clip inside of your composition. This is looking great. Now I want to just draw your attention to the last clip, because this involved the most amount of things. If I scroll down here in the After Effects timeline, you'll notice that I actually get a precomposition containing those two clips. So it kept the compound clip from Final Cut, and just made it into a precomposition. However, the black and white effect that was on that clip isn't here.
But Automatic Duck is so smart that it placed a marker on your clip. And if I double-click that marker, it just says, Hey, the black and white effect that was here didn't translate over. That's not too much of a problem because I can simply go into my Effects & Presets and find the equivalent. In this case in my Effects & Presets I might just do a search for Hue, find the Hue and Saturation effects and place it on the precomposition bringing down my master saturation to zero and I might then choose to add a little bit of a colorized hue on top of my video clips.
But if we step inside the precomp I want you to just notice a couple of things. I select the top clip here and then toggle my Switches and Modes, over here you can see that the soft light blend mode did indeed come over. Let me hop back into my main Automatic Duck import composition and just show you if I press U to reveal the key frames of this, the opacity key frames have indeed been kept. If I scroll down just again here to the audio and press U, the fade in and fade out on my audio have also been kept.
Now while we're here, let's just look at importing something into After Effects. I'm going to go to the Project panel, and the way we import or one way to import is to double-click in the Project panel. I'm going to head to the desktop where I want to bring in the Illustrator file. Why I'm bringing in the Illustrator file is while you have the ability to bring in the Illustrator file into Motion, you don't in Final Cut. And while you do in Motion, it can't be brought in as a layered graphic. You can do that with a PhotoShop file, but not an Illustrator file. In After Effects you can. All I need to do is with it selected, press Open, you'll notice that one of the Import Kind methods is set to Footage, I'm just going to change that to Composition.
Once I do and I press OK, I've got this lovely composition, containing my soccer logo and all of the layers that were identified there inside of Illustrator. I can animate these separately, easily twirling down the Transform settings set on each of those Illustrator files. Now let me hop back to my Automatic Duck Import composition. What happens if you want to bring this back into Final Cut? There are two questions you need to ask yourself: If you add some text, do you want to maintain the transparency of this text layer? Meaning that you want to overlay it on top of a piece of video, and not have this show up as black.
If you do, when you go to your composition menu and add this to the Render queue, you want to make sure that the options that you choose here for sending this project out, which you can do under the Output module, you want to set the QuickTime format options to be of Apple ProRes 444. In this case, I just want to send out my project. So Apple ProRes 422 will, in this case, probably be exactly what you're looking for.
So by choosing this option and then going into the Output to decide an export to where you want to output this to, I'm able to send the After Effects project out however I need to. So we've covered a couple of things here, being able to send a clip from Final Cut over into After Effects, knowing that if you do it without plugins, you can't maintain those in-and-out points that you've sent in the timeline. We then looked at the extreme power of Automatic Duck and how you can send a final cut for a project over into After Effects, open inside of After Effects, and have nearly 90% of some of the changes you made carry over.
Where it sees that there is a problem, such as that black and white effect on the compound clip, Automatic Duck is going to work for you and place a marker over that. We looked at importing an Illustrator file and keep in mind we're just touching the surface of what After Effects has to offer. Thanks for joining me for Final Cut Pro X weekly, I'm Nick.
- Maximizing your color board
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- Working with Compressor
- Learning helpful keyboard shortcuts
- Uploading videos to the web
- Setting up workspaces
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