13 Replies Latest reply: Feb 12, 2015 8:14 PM by fox_m
RyanManUtd Level 1 (105 points)

Hi there,


I would like to have a simple Effects that will draw lines in various shape such as circle, ellipse or rectangle. How do I do it ?


I need it because I want to have an effect that is drawing an ellipse over the text.


Any ideas ?



15.4, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 27" iMac - 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD, 1GB ATI Radeon HD, i5 QuadCore
  • Jim Wanamaker Level 4 (2,440 points)

    Build your effect in Motion, but it won't be simple if you want to control shape size, color, outline, position etc in FCPX and animate the drawing of the shape. Have you looked at the shapes generator in FCPX? It may well do all that you need as it has a variety of shapes available and you can control most of the parameters. You can't however animate the drawing of the shape. Give it a try.

  • Jim Wanamaker Level 4 (2,440 points)

    I should have mentioned that while you can not animate the drawing of the shape with the shape generator you can use a mask and keyframe the drawing of the mask which will give much the same effect.

  • somanna Level 1 (110 points)

    Hello to you Jim. Could you refer me to any video tutorial which visually describes what you have written:


    Jim Wanamaker wrote:


    I should have mentioned that while you can not animate the drawing of the shape with the shape generator you can use a mask and keyframe the drawing of the mask which will give much the same effect.

    If there is no such one, can you please do one so that newcomers like me will be able to learn?

  • RyanManUtd Level 1 (105 points)

    Jim Wanamaker wrote:


    I should have mentioned that while you can not animate the drawing of the shape with the shape generator you can use a mask and keyframe the drawing of the mask which will give much the same effect.

    Thanks Jim,


    I want to animate the drawing of shape.


    I remember when I was using FCE 4, there was a software/plugin like LiveType can do it.


    Do we have the equivalent in FCPX ?


    How come LiveType doesn't produce a version for FCPX ?



  • Jim Wanamaker Level 4 (2,440 points)

    No Live Type equivalent I am aware of for FCPX, but you can still render out a movie from Live Type and import to FCPX. It was discontinued by Apple sometime ago. Best bet in my opinion is Motion.

  • Jim Wanamaker Level 4 (2,440 points)

    Sorry, but I am not aware of a tutorial that specifically covers this. Any of the several Motion tutorials should give you enough knowledge to create an effect for FCPX using keyframes and masks to animate drawing a shape. I used a third party mask from Alex4D that allows you to animate the drawing of the mask. There are others out there as well just Google for them. At the time I posted I didn't remember that the mask which comes with FCPX doesn't do that. My bad!

  • andynick Level 5 (4,925 points)

    This MacBreak Studio tutorial should put you on the right 'road'. I suggest you subscribe to their podcasts - they regularly put out some really useful stuff.


  • somanna Level 1 (110 points)

    Thanks for the guidance. FCPX is very very user friendly and I am sure that by looking up some Motion tutorials I would be able to get the hang.

  • fox_m Level 5 (5,040 points)



    You get a line, a square and a circle shape to choose from. You can position, rotate, and scale horizontally and vertically (which will be relative to the rotation, so keep that in mind). You can color the object outline (there is no fill option for these); fade it (Brush Opacity); set the width and for the square, create rounded corners.


    To create a "draw on" effect, keyframe the First Point Offset [from 100% to 0] or Last Point Offset [0% to 100].


    To create the "draw off" effect, keyframe the opposites of above.


    (You may also opt to start both anywhere in between and keyframe in opposite directions.)


    To create an ellipse (or wide rectangle), use Scale Vertical.


    In Motion, there is basically nothing to this. The Offset options are there for all shape outlines and easily published for FCPX. There also exists a Shape > "Write On" behavior which does basically the same thing.


    This is a relatively *basic* Motion 5 project which you can take apart and study, expand upon, etc...(Start with JUST the Line Object -- the others have many Link parameter behaviors controlled by pubished parameters from the Line object to reduce duplicating editable options.) It is also an FCPX generator, and should be installed in YourHomeFolder > Movies > Motion Templates > Generators > [create category like Utilities] > and place then entire Line Square Circle folder inside to install [restart FCPX if running...] If you have Motion 5, you can right click on the generator in FCPX and Open in Motion or double click directly on the Line Square Circle.motn icon inside the folder (if you wish not to immediately install it for FCPX -- [still not sure how that works in ML since I haven't upgraded... yet... or never...])




    PS - If you don't have Motion 5, you should get it — if for no other reason than to be able to create "Presets" of your favorite motion effects for FCPX (you only have to ever deal with the Project > Publishing > Published Parameters pane to set your custom options, then Save As to a Favorites or Presets Category for FCPX. And once you have it, you might actually get around to making some of your own handy quick utilities you can use in FCPX... at $49, it's a hard offer to refuse (and there are plenty of free tutorials around to get you through some of the sticky points.)

  • RyanManUtd Level 1 (105 points)

    Thanks all for the suggestion ... cheers

  • Bruce27 Level 1 (10 points)

    have a look to applemotion.net for ripple call-outs. I think there is what you are looking for. You can try it free. (but be aware for the specs. of your system; the vid.chart)

  • Brian Cassin Level 1 (5 points)

    HI fox_m,


    I thought your template was cool, but I was wondering if you could tell me if there is a way to modify it so I can move the control points for the line in FCPX.  I am vague aware of how to link parameters to a "dummy" effect but am not sure how to access the control points to link to them.



  • fox_m Level 5 (5,040 points)

    ok... hmmm...


    You can create control points for a line but you cannot animate the control points in FCPX. If you're okay with that, then here are the basics:


    Create a new top level group. Name it OSCs.


    In the Inspector, select the group and in the Group tab of the inspector, select Fixed Resolution. (It should already be set to 2D - if not - set 2D)


    In the Properties > Timing pane, set the length (Duration) of the group to at least as long as your project. (this step is not important in Motion but absolutely necessary for FCPX!)


    With the new group selected, add the filters you will use as control points. In general, every starts with Filters > Distortion > Poke. You will need two of them. For each Poke filter, select Publish OSC in the inspector. (I recommend renaming each filter - startOSC, endOSC for example.)


    Create another new group.


    Go into the Library > Content and search for Crosshair -- there's three of them, use Crosshair-Minute (they're the smallest ones.) Add two of them. (It's not necessary that they're in their own group -- just more convenient.) Rename the crosshairs: keeping with the OSCs, I recommend start and end, for example.


    Draw a Line.


    To the shape (line), add two Behaviors > Shape > Track Points.


    Rename the Track Points: Start and End.


    In the Behaviors inspector for the Track Points, drag the start Crosshair image into the Source well of the Start track points and the end Crosshair image into the End Track Points. The behavior parameters will change and you'll see a bunch of new stuff. Down at the bottom, you'll see Track 1 and Track 2 — leave one checked for one of the behaviors and the other one checked for the second behavior (that's 1 track 1 and 1 track 2.) You'll also see that the Transform is set to Mimic Source.  What you need to do is click the reset button on the Checked Track of each behavior and THEN change the Transform to Attach to Source. Once you do that, the line ends will snap to crosshair images (use Properties Transform X to move the crosshairs apart temporarily.)


    Next step:


    Select the start crosshair and in the Inspector > Properties, dial down the Position to reveal the XYZ parameters. Right click on the X and select Add Parameter Behavior > Link.  Repeat this step for the Y parameter (you cannot link Position.All for this step.)


    In the Behaviors inspector, for the start crosshair:

          For the Source Object, drag the OSCs group into the well.

    for the X parameter

          For the Source Parameter, set Filters.startOSC.Center.X for the Position.X

                                                 and set Filters.startOSC.Center.Y for the Position.Y


    You will notice the line end disappear off the screen. This is normal. To correct this, at the bottom of each behavior, set the X (or Y) offset to -0.5.


    Repeat for the end crosshair.


    You can turn off the crosshairs (uncheck the layers.)


    To test your OSCs, select *both* startOSC and endOSC (command select each layer) -- both Poke OSCs will appear and you can drag them around the canvas. The line should follow as you would expect if you've set everything up correctly.


    Publish the template.


    A couple of explanations:


    2D fixed resolution for the OSC group:  Groups in Motion that are not fixed resolution can dynamically change their boundaries. There are no fixed points of reference for Motion to calulate. If you forget to set Fixed Resolution, you can repair the condition by setting the Fixed Resolution option and then go into the Filters pane and reset the Center parameters for each Poke OSC.


    Offsets of -0.5:  All resolutions in the Canvas are calculated by the resolution of the X and Y dimensions of the project times the fractional position of objects (from 0.0 on the left side for X and on the bottom for Y — to 1.0 on the right side for X and on the top for Y.) The center of the canvas is 0, 0 in pixels of whatever the resolution is.  To adjust the fractional position used by the OSCs (and others) to the center pixel, the value needs to be moved by 1/2 of that distance.



    Clear as mud?  Once you've done it a few times, it will all become second nature.


    One more thing: you can publish curves... complex ones. But they have to be B-spline (you track all the points in a similar manner outlined above) and not Bezier. There's no way to control the handles for bezier curves.