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How To Make Basic Keyframe Animations in Final Cut Pro X

Keyframes are an essential new skill when editing, and thankfully learning to use them isn't too hard. The basics in this tutorial will act as a building block as you learn on your way to becoming a great editor. Let's dive in!

Keyframes are Control Points

In the simplest form, a keyframe consists of two points on your timeline: one at the start position, and the other the end position. Between those points there will be some sort of motion, transition, or effect that you've applied to either the video or audio.

A good way to think about keyframes is to picture them as book ends, where something you’ve decided to happen does so between those points. I’ll refer to them as point “A” and “B” to keep things simple. The keyframe icon looks like a little diamond; see top right in the image below.

Use keyframes to fade audioUse keyframes to fade audioUse keyframes to fade audio
Screen Shot of using a keyframe to create a linear fade to an audio track.

How to Use a Keyframe to Fade Audio In and Out

Using keyframes, you are able to seamlessly adjust the volume at any point. This is a very helpful tool that allows you to give space for voice-overs and so that the multiple audio tracks you use can work together instead of competing for space.

Here's how to add a fade to either the start or end

How to Fade Audio

Here's how to fade audio:

  1. With the source audio on your timeline, select your audio by single-clicking. This will pop up the audio window shown in the screen shot above.
  2. Place your play head where your audio starts.
  3. Click the keyframe icon to tell the program you are making an adjustment. This will be point "A".
  4. Adjust the audio level to your to zero. The adjustment bar will be right beside the keyframe icon.
  5. Move the play head to where you’d like your fade-in to end.
  6. Click the keyframe icon to tell the program to create point "B".
  7. Adjust your audio to your desired level.
  8. Listen back to see if you are happy with your adjustments.

As you can you see, it's very easy to do and with a little more work you can continue editing your audio levels throughout your videos using the same technique. It’s a small step that can be used to make any video tighter and more professional feeling. 

How to Use Keyframes to Scale Images

Using keyframes to add a bit of motion to your footage works best with locked off shots, which just means a stationary shot, and doing this is pretty much identical to adjusting the audio.

How to Create a Zoom With Keyframes

It's possible to use keyframes to adjust the scale over time to mimic a dolly shot, giving us a smooth zoom. Below is a screen shot showing you exactly where to adjust the scale of your image.

  1. Select your clip by single-clicking the item on your timeline. 
  2. Move your play head to the start of your clip or where you want the animation to begin.
  3. Add a keyframe to create point "A": using scale all under the transform tool, select the keyframe icon. To create a zoom your first frame doesn’t need the scale to be adjusted at all, just the finishing scale position.
  4. Move the play head to where you’d like to like the effect to end.
  5. Select the keyframe icon for point "B".
  6. Adjust the scale to your desired position.
  7. Review your adjustments.
Adjust the scale of your shots with keyframesAdjust the scale of your shots with keyframesAdjust the scale of your shots with keyframes

You’ve Successfully Keyframed Your First Clip!

Nice. Using keyframes can become more complicated and time consuming when you are trying to create complex transitions and other wonderful effects. Take your time learning the basics and slowly increase the difficulty over time to make learning enjoyable and manageable.

Video Help From Envato

Another asset to assist your learning is project templates. Templates can expand your knowledge of what is possible, while giving you the tools to execute amazing effects with tons of customization. So even if you just starting out, you can create highly professional work while you learn. Envato Elements is a subscription services with hundreds of FCPX templates—and millions of other creative assets. Here are some for you to check out now:

1. Bold Typo Opener FCPX

Control colours, shapes and use any font with Bold Typo Opener. This intro is text-forward with its 40 text placeholders and 30 spots for media. This is a perfect template for your YouTube channel as well as Instagram as comes with a “Instagram resolution” meaning; square, portrait, and IGTV! Comes with a help file and video tutorial.

2. Glitch Modern Opener

Glitch effects are pretty popular these days and this opener comes with tons of ready to use transitions that can to be tweaked to your taste. Use over 50 placeholders for all your media and text to create an exciting intro for your channel all while having the freedom to change the duration and edit all the parameters so that you can get exactly what you want out of your introduction. 

3. Classic Intro

This is a great project for your YouTube opener that’s looking for a classic touch. There are seven iamge/video placeholders and nine text holders that you can change to fit your style. It comes with an easy to understand video tutorial as well.

Check out these other articles and continue learning:

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