Motion Blur inside Final Cut Pro

*** UPDATE April 9, 2017***

It's been a long time since my last post and since then I have found some bugs in the technique I describe below.

With the presets I provided there was the problem that, if one would trim the
Motion-Blur-layer-Title with the motion-blur effect longer, the blur would get stronger and vice versa. FinalCutProX would "stretch" the effect to the new duration and as such "stretch" the motion blur, too. This can be fixed by adding a template-marker to the second last frame inside Motion (SHIFT+M), option-clicking it and changing the type to "Project Loop end". Now you can trim the Adjustment-Layer-Titles and the Motion-Blur-layer-Titles to any length you desire.

Thanks @Franco for pointing that out and sorry it took me so long to fix it, but real-life got in the way.

The download link at the end of the post now refers to new, fixed versions of the Motion-Blur-Effect.


It's been a busy summer and autumn for me. I've spent a few weeks on holidays with my family, and since then am busy shooting and editing stuff so fcpx.at is on the backburner for the time being.

During an edit I did in FXPX recently I stumbled across something so exciting that I want to share with you, so I made some room in my schedule to do this little writeup and a short video.

To make animated objects appear to move more smoothly, artificial Motion Blur is often added by graphics artists in software packages like Apple Motion, Fusion or After Effects.

Motion Blur is an artifact of how real-life cameras capture moving objects. A cameras shutter is open for a certain time to let light that come through the lens, hit the sensor or film and expose it - that time is called exposure time.

If a filmed object is moving very fast so that it moves a considerable amount during exposure it's not recoded as a sharp image, but it gets a little blurred. The longer the exposure time is and the faster the object moves the more it gets blurred along the vector of it's motion.

If you animate stuff in Apple Motion there is a way to activate Motion Blur for the composition and if you publish the Motion Project to Final Cut Pro X the Motion Blur is correctly rendered inside FCPX.

But it's not always practical to animate everything in FCPX using published Motion effects, so if you animate anything inside FCPX via keyframing transform, rotate and scale properties of clips, the elements move, rotate or scale without Motion Blur being applied to them, which makes their motions look jittery and jerky at times.


It is well known amongst FCPX users that with the clever use of a Title-Effect published from Apple Motion to FCPX it's possible to create an "Adjustment Layer".

This technique is utilising the fact that whatever filter or effect is applied to a Title inside FCPX it affects ALL CLIPS BENEATH that title! The trick is to create a title effect with no text in it and publish it to FCPX. You then put this Adjustment-Layer-Title above the clip (or clips) in your timeline you want to be affected, apply the desired effect to it, and all the clips underneath inherit this effect.

That way it's easily possible to apply a color effect or Picture-in-Picture across multiple shots without the hassle of compound-clipping them. You can find more about Adjustment Layers in FCPX and how to create them here.

The cool thing that I stumbled across, while stacking a couple of Motion effects on top of each other, was that if you create an Adjustment Layer and enable Motion Blur in Apple Motion before you publish it, it will add Motion Blut to every animated element underneath it!

Unfortunately it's not possible to publish the Motion Blur parameters from inside Apple Motion Shutter Angle [exposure time = lenght of the blur] and Samples [Quality of the Motion Blur]. The solution is to create a bunch of Motion Blur Adjustment Layers with different settings. I found three settings useful:

Settings: 180°, 12 Samples

Motion Blur 180,12

Settings: 350°, 16 Samples

Motion Blur 360,16

Settings: 720°, 32 Samples

Motion Blur 720,32

But of course you can dial the settings to taste.

Hope this helps you as much as it helped me. I frequently have to animate Photoshop Layers inside FCPX and I have always missed the possibility to add Motion Blur to those animations.

If you want you can download my settings here.