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Adding Opacity to Files in Final Cut Pro

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/31/2010

Here is a look at how to add increasing and decreasing opacity to video and photo files in Final Cut Pro.

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    Video Effects

    finalcutpro Opacity is a video effect that is used in video editing, but in Final Cut Pro opacity is not added as a regular video effect, like making a clip black and white. Instead this works in the motion center and is used to really control the image. Opacity, as it works in Final Cut Pro, really just refers to how "see through" the image is. You can add opacity ranging from no opacity at all to making the image completely invisible. Here is a tutorial on how to use opacity on a file in Final Cut Pro.

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    Adding Opacity

    Select the file that you want to work with, which is usually best done when it is already in the Timeline at the length you are going to want it. Once it is opened up in the Viewer you will go up and select the Motion tab. The Motion tab is where you will often add motion to a clip, such as adding zoom to video, or do things like crop the image. Among these options there will be one for Opacity, which will be directly under Distort. Here you will have a bar that ranges from zero to a hundred, similar to the rest of the options. To add Opacity to your Final Cut Pro file you can simply click the option and then choose the range of opacity you want from a scale of zero to a hundred, with zero indicating full transparency and a hundred meaning a completely solid image in line with its original character. This will often just give the image Opacity to a black background if there is no image behind it, which is why you should position the Opacity in line with other competing images. If this is the case, you are going to have to place the clip you are adding Opacity to above the other clip in the Timeline. This puts the image "on top" so that it is the first to be seen. This Opacity and combination of imagery is often done with several clips that flow together in a series of artistic Final Cut Pro choices.

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    Changing Opacity

    Changing the intensity of the decision is the primary key of the Motion tab. This is true with changing the levels of Opacity, which works similar to other choices like map motion. In the Motion tab you can go to the right and choose different points in the clip to add set points to. When you place the progress bar on those points you can set the Final Cut Pro Opacity. If you want to change the opacity you simply place a different level of Opacity for each specific point. For example, you may want to set a point at the very beginning of the clip and the very end of the clip. On that first point you may set the Opacity at zero and at a hundred at the end, so you get a complete change in Opacity over the clip's life span in Final Cut Pro 7.

Final Cut Pro Tutorials

Here are a series of Final Cut Pro tutorials to teach some of the most important aspects of editing in Final Cut Pro.
  1. Adding Opacity to Files in Final Cut Pro
  2. Organizing Audio Tracks in Final Cut Pro
  3. Copying Clip Effects in Final Cut Pro
  4. Flipping Images in Final Cut Pro
  5. Storing Project Files in Final Cut Pro