Post Production

3D Text Fly-Through in Final Cut Pro X

This week on MacBreak Studio, I show Steve Martin from Ripple Training how to do a 3D text tracking & fly-through in Final Cut Pro X.

Tracking an object to a video clip within Final Cut Pro X can be tricky without using a third-party plugin but creating the illusion of 3D text floating in a scene is not that difficult to pull off since the text isn’t directly attached to an object like a floor or a wall.

In this example, we start with an aerial shot of Las Vegas. I add some 3D text, opting to use Ripple 3D Title Styles, but any of the built-in text options will work, you’ll just need to spend some time setting up the material options to your liking.

To help make the text appear as if it belongs in the video, you can change the Environment being reflected in the text, so this is what we tackle next. I hope that in the future we’ll be able to add our own environments but as it is, the built-options have a good deal of variety.

From there, I set keyframes to animate the text to roughly match the camera move. Now, if you are using any built-in text, you won’t find the Position and Rotation parameters in the Inspector for animating. So you either need to take a quick trip to Motion to add them yourself, or you could also use our free Ripple 3D Title Animations for this. The key is to use the Inspector rather than the Viewer to set the second keyframes, because while changing the rotation of a text object in the Viewer will create a keyframe after the first has been set, changing position will not.

I would place these keyframes at the very start and end of the clip, or even beyond, and as demonstrated in the video, you may need to change the interpolation of the keyframes to better match the movement in the video. Too bad you can only do this for position! But still, you can create a convincing and dramatic effect right inside Final Cut Pro X in short order.


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Mark Spencer is a freelance producer, videographer, editor, trainer and writer based in the Bay Area. He produces Final Cut Pro X-related training and plugins for with his partners at Ripple Training. He is an…

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