How to Make a Global Motion Blur Switch for Final Cut Pro X

October 03, 2018

How to Make a Global Motion Blur Switch for Final Cut Pro X

In this new Final Cut Pro X tutorial, we find out how to make a 'global switch' that can turn motion blur on and off with a click.

Adding motion blur to effects in Final Cut Pro X is great. It adds a lot of style and certainly helps make movement a lot more realistic.

The downside is that adding a lot of motion blur can bring a Mac and FCPX to a standstill and make simple tasks like trimming take forever. It could also mean regular visits from the dreaded beachball!

We have an easy solution.


In this tutorial we start with a set of four photos on a Final Cut Pro X Project timeline.

We are going to add a few transitions between them. To demonstrate the blur, we have chosen three from the XEffects 3D Transitions pack of plugins as these contain a lot of movement. 

These of course look great as they are, but let's add some motion blur to make the movement look more realistic. We will use the Motion Blur Title Effects from the same plugin pack, although these are easy to make for yourself from scratch in Motion.

Then we need to apply them to each of the effects.

Click on first Transition, then press the X key as a shortcut to put in and out points at the beginning and end of the transition.

Then click on the desired Motion Blur Title Effect you require in the Title Browser.

Then press Q as a shortcut to add the Motion Blur Effect on top of the transition automatically in-between the in and out points.

And do the same for the other two.

When you try to play over the transitions, you will notice that the once buttery smooth playback will probably now stutter. This is because of the extra work FCPX is having to do on the fly calculating the motion blur.

Wouldn't it be good if we could temporarily turn off the motion blur?

Well you can, not by using the V key and toggling off every instance, but by building a Custom Role.

From the Modify menu on the top bar, select Edit Roles.

You will be presented with a box showing all the current roles. Click the plus sign in the top right hand corner to make a new Video Role.

Then you can label the new Role as you wish, we chose to call it Motion Blur!

Then click Apply.

Back on the FCPX timeline, select all the Motion blur titles together then CTRL Click (Or Right Click on a mouse) to reveal the contextual menu.

Select Motion Blur from the Assign Video Roles menu item.

All the Motion Blur effects should turn the colour of the Role you made.

Then open up the Timeline Index by clicking on the Index box on the left hand edge of the middle bar or by using the shortcut Shift Command 2. 

You will see the Motion Blur Role with a checkbox next to it in the list of roles.

Simply toggle this checkbox to globally turn the Motion Blur on and off.

This even works if a Motion Blur Title Effect is tucked away in a Compound Clip. Easy!

You might say that's good for just a few effects, but how about hundreds of examples of motion blur added to the Timeline?

No problem. The secret here is to change the Role of the Motion Blur title before you start.

Select the Motion Blur title effect in the Title Browser, then open up the Inspector using the shortcut CMD 4.

Then change the Role type from the dropdown menu in the Information Tab. This labels the effect automatically each time an instance is applied to the Timeline.

Of course, one final point. Make sure that the Motion Blur Role is turned on before exporting!




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