Final Cut tip: Making transitions more feathered

This tip shows you how you can make Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express have more blurred edges to some of the transitions. Some video transitions have a blurred edge option. You get this by setting a border thickness and checking a box marked ‘Feather.’ The amount of blurriness is based on how thick you’ve set the border.

The problem is that the maximum border thickness for Final Cut is 100, which means that when the border is feathered, the blurred edge of the transition isn’t very wide. This screenshot shows how thick an unfeathered border is when it is set to 100:


Transitions in Final Cut are implemented in a simple programming language called FxScript. In this tip, you’ll open the code for a transition, make four simple changes to produce a new transition that allows the border to be set to any value you want.

1. To edit the code for a transition, open the Video Transitions section of the Effects Tab and Control-Click the ‘Edge Wipe’ transition. Choose ‘Open in Editor’ from the pop-up menu:

2. Edit the text:

a. Change the first two lines so that ‘Edge Wipe‘ says ‘Edge Wipe – More feathered‘ – this ensures that the new plugin you’ll be creating will appear in Final Cut with a different name.

b. The next line you’ll change is the line of code that creates the Border slider.

input borderWidth, "Border", slider, 0, 0, 100 detent 0;
input borderWidth, "Border", slider, 200, 0, 300 detent 0;

Instead of the slider defaulting to a border of 0, it defaults to a border of 200. The maximum value will now be 300 instead of 100. You can set these values to anything you want, but this is what worked well for me.

c. Change
input softborder, "Feather Edges", checkbox, 0;
input softborder, "Feather Edges", checkbox, 1;

This makes feathering the border the default. If you choose this transition instead of the normal one, it is likely that you will want the border to be feathered.

The script for your new transition should look like this:

3. Now you’ll make your new plugin. Choose ‘Create Plugin…’ from the ‘FXBuilder’ menu. Enter ‘Edge Wipe – More Feathered.txt’ as the file name. Save it in Your Startup HD/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Pro System Support/Plugins

4. Quit and restart Final Cut. You’ll then be able to use your new transition in the same way as any standard transition: from the the Effects tab of the Browser or from the Effects Menu:

Here are Edge Wipe and Edge Wipe – More feathered in action:

You may need to play this twice due to a playback bug on Vimeo that affects short videos.

Of course this works for any transition that has a feathered border option such as the Irises and most of the Wipes. If you’d like thicker borders on the 3D Simulation, Stretch and Slide transitions, you can change the maximum value of their input sliders.

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  1. scott said:

    I tried this and it worked fine, except that when I set the border at 257 or above I’m getting odd results at the head of the transition. The incoming image “pops” on for a few frames in addition to it being chopped into thirds. Below 257, though, it’s fine.

  2. Alex said:

    You’re right scott. I think the value depends on the size of the sequence you are using, so I made the maximum past 257 in case it still works for some setups. The point of this post was to show you how the limits within transitions can be changed.

  3. Hi Alex, thanks for this great adjustment to the edge transition. The question I have for you is that I’m transitioning between two near identical shots and the images are quite bright and I’m noticing that the feathered edge is darker than the images so I’m seeing a feathered dark line moving across the screen. Is there a way to change that?

    • Alex said:

      Try putting a colour solid underneath both clips and using different transfer modes on one of the clips.

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