Free Final Cut Pro plugin: Alex4D Adjustment Layer title

This Final Cut Pro X title generator helps you apply effect, opacity and transformation changes to multiple clips at once.

It is named after a feature of Adobe After Effects – a compositing application that is used to animate graphics and video. If you have twenty or thirty layers in a project, if you an ‘adjustment layer’ above them, any effects applied to the layer are applied to all the layers below at once.

‘Alex4D Adjustment Layer’ is a title generator works in the same way in Final Cut Pro X. Once you add it to a project any changes you make to the title are applied to all the layers below. If you add a blur effect, all the layers below are blurred. If you use the transform controls to change the scale and position, the combined result of what the lower layers look like will be repositioned and have their scale changed.

You can make the duration of this title generator as long as a whole project if you would like to apply effects to all clips at once.

This can be useful if you have multiple layers that you would like to fade in and out.

For example, here’s the first frame of a project that starts with three layers: the video clip, a shape generator and a title generator:

You could use video animation to fade in the opacity of each clip:

But that would mean that while the video clip is fading in, the shape and text will be semitransparent too:

If you use an Alex4D Adjustment layer and fade in the opacity value:

The combined clip, shape and title layers are ‘sent’ to the adjustment layer, as its opacity value is fading in, the combination fades in as one:

Applying effects and transformations to each layer causes problems in other situations.

If you apply the ‘Quick Flash/Spin’ effect…

…to each layer – you can see that the effect isn’t designed to work content that isn’t full screen, the shape and text is cut off. On the right the three layers are combined first and the effect is applied to the combination.

If you scale and rotate each layer…

…the centre of the scale and rotate is different for each layer. The image on the right-hand side shows the Alex4D Adjustment Layer combining the three layers before rotating and scaling.

Installation

Download this disk image:

It includes an installation script for Spherico’s Motion Template Tool application, if you don’t have it on your Mac, download it. It is a freeware/donationware tool that simplifies effects installation for Final Cut Pro X users. MTT installs the effect in the correct folders, creating them if need be. You don’t need to have Motion 5 installed or MTT for this effect to work.

Once you have MTT installed on your computer, double-click the ‘Install Alex4D Adjustment Layer.mtt’ file.

If you don’t want to use MTT, install these effects in Home / Movies / Motion Templates / Titles / Alex4D:

To use the effect, drag it from the Titles browser:

Check out my other free effects and articles on my Final Cut Pro X home page.

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22 comments
  1. Nick said:

    Couldn’t you do the same by just using a compound clip?

    • Alex said:

      Sure, but if you want a quicker way of changing what is affected, all you need do is change the in and out points to include more or less of the timeline, and change the staking order to choose which storylines the the effects applied.

  2. Sean said:

    Thanks again Alex. Huge help.

  3. rob land said:

    Hello Alex

    Thanks for the great work. The Apple team need you:)

    Can we use blending modes with this adjustment layer?

    • Alex said:

      Thanks.

      You can apply adjustment layers, but as the blending mode effects all layers below, there isn’t much use for the modes.

      You can change the overall opacity of all layers below though…

      • rob land said:

        Like photoshop and After effects…
        An adjustment layer with a color correction, an opacity setting and a blending would awesome.
        Thank you and take care

  4. Hi,

    I don’t see this one in the Titles browser after installing the Alex4D Adjustment Layer. I was able to install the Alex 4d 4 UP with the .mtt file, but not this one. Any suggestions on how I can access your other effects in final cut pro x?

    Thanks!

  5. Alex said:

    The ‘Install Alex4D Adjustment Layer.mtt’ install script should put the ‘Alex4D Adjustment Layer’ folder into

    ‘YourStartupDriveName’ / Users / ‘YourUserName’ / Movies / Motion Templates / Titles / Alex4D

    What happens when you run ‘Install Alex4D Adjustment Layer.mtt’ ?

  6. Hey Alex! Your Adjustment layer is one of the best freebies I’ve ever downloaded. I blogged about this in my short colour grading show and tell. Cheerios.

  7. Rick D said:

    Brilliant. One of the most amazing FCPX plugins ever.

  8. I notice that “adjustment layers” affect all the layers below not just the one immediately beneath.

    This means that applying a transform to do something like picture-in-picture will affect the background as well as the image you are trying to affect.

    Do you know of any way around this so that the adjustment layer affects only one layer down and not more? You can of course compound the top clip with the adjustment layer but then that rather defeats the advantage of using this technique in the first place.

    Any thoughts would be very gratefully received.

    Many thanks.

    • Alex said:

      No, effects in Final Cut Pro X are always sent a composite of all the layers below.

      Sorry! Apple don’t have a standard way of supplying an effect with selected lower layers.

    • Alex said:

      Sorry for my phrasing, I didn’t see who you were until I finished writing my reply!

      • No problem! Thanks for the reply. I thought as much, though I imagined that if anyone would know how to crack it that would be you.

        All the best,

        Simon

  9. I didn’t use your plugin but (I think) made the same thing in Motion (fcp title). My question is whether it works for Chroma Keying?
    I am putting it above two greenscreened layers. While it does seem possible to make the green screen go black, it doesn’t seem to be letting the background come through.

    • Alex said:

      The way these kind of adjustment layers work is that they act on all the layers below them in the timeline. You have to apply the key to the top layer and to the second layer. The background will then show through the transparent parts of your two greenscreened layers.

  10. stephan s said:

    Hi I’m not sure but it seems so it dosen’t work anymore, maybe it is only in the german localisation.

  11. stephan s said:

    I’m such a dummmy, it work, I just forget to activate the titles. sorry

  12. I downloaded the free plug ins & haven’t been able to use any of them. I see them in fcpx but when i try to apply them in any way it just makes the clip itself blue. What am i doing wrong (i followed the installation instructions correctly)?

  13. Babylon Slim said:

    Alex,
    Thank you for your hard work and generosity. Giving so freely of the fruits of one’s creativity to the greater good of other like minded artists is rare.
    Are you aware of RGBhouse.com’s “Total Sdjustment Layer” for Final Cut Pro being sold in The App Store by Serquisez
    Wazilewski ( Is this his real name?? What’s with fold not using their real name? I may have misspelled it)?
    If he is you or is a friend or has your permission to use your work – forgive me – otherwise, it is a direct rip off.

    Thanks Again & Good Luck…

    Babylon Slim

    • Alex said:

      Don’t worry about rip-offs. It is very easy to create adjustment layer plugins. They are a side effect of the way titles are implemented in Motion/Final Cut. If you are in the business of making plugins, it is hard not to make this one. Other plugin makers distribute similar effects.

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