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Diana's Top 10 Final Cut Pro 7 Features #2: Creating an Alpha Transition

This effect can be really stunning and can bring a unique style to your project By Diana Weynand

Those of you who work with a lot of graphics may have already created alpha transitions in other apps. Now this option exists inside Final Cut Pro 7. The alpha transition is one of the transition effects that you can access from the Effect menu or the Effects tab in the Browser. It is part of the Wipe transitions.

Applying an Alpha Transition
You apply an alpha transition as you would apply any other transition. Once you apply the alpha transition to an edit point, double-click the transition to see it in the Transition Editor.

Before we look at the different components you need to create an alpha transition, let's think about the concept of an alpha transition. It is a type of wipe, but rather than wipe using a geometric shape or pattern, you wipe using an image from a clip or graphic. In order to allow Final Cut Pro to use this image as a wipe pattern, it has to have an alpha channel to cut out or remove the other parts of the image outside the shape you don't want to see. And finally, although not necessary in all alpha transitions, you could need a matte that wipes across the image to mask the outgoing image as it reveals the incoming image.

Preparing the Components
This type of effect doesn't happen automatically within Final Cut Pro. You do have to create the components in an application such as Motion or possibly Photoshop. So that work will have to be done first before you can continue to build the alpha transition within Final Cut Pro. Below are sample components of an alpha transition.     


Filling in the Blanks
If you've applied an alpha transition to an edit point, but haven't filled in the blanks, or rather clips, you will see the following message in the Canvas.

Find or import the clips you want to use into your project. Drag the clip into the clip well in the Transition Editor window. Then drag the clip that contains the alpha channel or matte into the Clip Alpha Matte well. Finally, if you are going to use a wipe matte, drag that into the Wipe Matte well.

Download Alpha Transitions from Apple
If you don't want to create your own alpha transitions, you can download some from the Apple website at this address:


Although it will take some preparation, this effect can be really stunning and can bring a unique style to your project. It's definitely worth trying out.

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Diana Weynand is co founder of Weynand Training International,

Diana Weynand is author of the Apple Pro Training Series book, Final Cut Pro 7. She is co-founder of Weynand Training International, a Gold Level Apple Authorized Training Center that offers hands-on classes on Apple Pro Applications around the country as well as customized on-site training. She is also one of the creators of iKeysToGo Your Personal Shortcut Assistant in the Palm of your Hand! - a series of iPhone and iPod Touch applications for Final Cut Pro 7, Photoshop CS4, iPhoto, Word, etc. These Apps are available on the iTunes App Store. For more information, check out her website, www.weynand.com, call her at 818.995.1719 or email at [email protected].

Related Keywords:final cut pro tips, video editing, NLE, editing workflow

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  • Diana's Top 10 Final Cut Pro 7 Features #2: Creating an Alpha Transition by DMN Editorial at Dec 11, 2009 8:33 am gmt (Rec'd 1)

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