Motion tip: Description of undos in Final Cut Pro X effect templates

If you create effects in Motion 5 for people to use in Final Cut Pro X, there is a gotcha when it comes to the text that appears in the Undo menu command.

Many effects use on-screen-controls. Sometimes these controls are implemented using Motion effects that are applied to layers that are set to have an opacity of zero before being published to Final Cut Pro.

For example, in my Mask+ set of effects, I wanted an on-screen control that set values for position, angle, width and height of my mask. In Motion, the Kaleidotile effect has an on-screen control that sets all these values. My technique is then to apply the Kaleidotile effect to a dummy layer and use Link Parameter behaviours to change the position, angle, width and height of my mask:

You can see from the thumbnail that the ‘Transform controls group’ has an opacity of 0%. It has the Kaleidotile effect applied to it. The ‘Effect Mask’ group has Link Parameter behaviours that link the Kaleidotile parameter values to that of the Scale, Rotation and Position of the group as a whole.

A small problem arises when you publish effects like these in Final Cut Pro X. If you change these values in an instance of your template applied to a clip and go to the Edit menu to undo what you’ve done, Final Cut reports name of the action most recently performed. In this case if you change the on-screen transform controls of the mask, the Undo menu item looks like this:

This also applies if you change on-screen controls in Apple’s Mask effect and go on to undo:

In this case the on-screen control for the Poke effect in Motion 5 has been linked to the co-ordinates that define the top-right position of the four-point mask.

Luckily there is a way of fixing this.

Rename the on-screen control effect in your Motion template:

…the Undo text is then correct in Final Cut Pro X:

It’s a pity that renaming effects in Motion 5 templates makes them a little less easy to understand, but that’s better than odd text appearing in the Undo command menu item.

Download my Mask+ effects for more on using on-screen controls in published templates for Final Cut Pro X.

1 comment
  1. Simon Ubsdell said:

    Great piece of detective work as ever – many thanks!

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