Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get the perfect track and get my points to stick correctly?

First, apply your tracker and open up the track editor. You will need to wait for the loading bar in the editor timeline to fully load the media for tracking. Begin by selecting the Layer in the Layer Management and select the shape. Then, select the custom shape, square, or circle option and create your outline in the viewer. Select the tracking icon (first icon in the Layer Management row and then go down to the Track Options and select your Motion Type. The quality of the track can be affected if you have the incorrect Track Option selected for your clip. Please try the different “Track Options” in the track editor to check for which option works best for your specific clip. After you have your options set your shape is ready to track. Press the Forward or Backward arrows to begin tracking.

How do I use the FCPX Shape Tracker editor window?

For the best experience be sure that your Track Editor window is on your main screen of your iMac or Laptop. This will allow the editor to work most efficiently.

* We recommend reviewing the Instructions located at the top of the plugin’s controls in Final Cut Pro.

The Track Editor Window is separated into a few different categories:
The Tracking Controls, Toolbar, Layer Management, Layer Info, Track Options, Shapes, and finally the Reset Button and Export Data button at the bottom of the editor window. Here is a break down of what is included in each category and how it works!

Tracking Controls – This area contains the controls that are used to perform the actual tracking for the Layer. The arrow pointing left with the vertical line will track backward from where your playhead is in the tracking window until the beginning of the clip while the single left arrow will track backward one frame at a time. The square icon is the stop button. This will stop the tracking process. The arrow pointing right with the vertical line will track forward from where your playhead is in the tracking window until the end of the clip while the single right arrow will track forward one frame at a time.

Toolbar – This section contains the tools for creating and manipulating the shapes. The first arrow icon when selected will allow you to select and move a point or points. The selection tool to the right will allow you to select a group of points. The next 3 options will allow you to create a custom shape, square, or oval in your viewer when your shape is selected in the layer management.

Layer Management – This section houses your layers and shapes. To create your points you will need to click the Shape in your layer and then select an option from the Toolbar to create a shape in your viewer. The two buttons at the top will allow you to create a new shape and a new layer respectively.
There are four buttons to the right of each layer in your layer management. The first button enables and disables the layers ability to be tracked. The eye icon toggles the rendering of layer contents. The lock icon will lock and unlock the layer to prevent and enable layer editing. The minus icon will delete the layer and its contents.

Layer Info – This section will allow you to start the in and out times for a layer to appear. Simply select your layer you wish to edit and then drag the playhead to the time you want the layer to appear and press the In Time marker or Out Time marker. The color option below will allow you to select an overall color for the layer. You can then turn on Render Solid to see the color in the viewer and the Invert checkbox will invert the layer. The Tracking layer will allow you to add the track data from another layer to override your current track. This is useful if you want to create a new layer and shape and not have to re-track the data for the new layer. In this case we recommend that you create the layer first and adjust the Tracking layer and then create the shape on that layer. The last button in this section is the Delete Track Keyframes. This will delete the track data for the selected layer.

Track Options – Before tracking anything you will want to make sure you have the best option selected in order to get the best results.
– Translation Only
– Translation + Scale
– Translation + Rotation
– Translation + Scale + Rotation
– Translation + Scale + Rotation + Skew
– Perspective

Shapes – Here you can rename your shapes as well as keyframe them to your liking!

Reset – The Reset button will clear all data from the track editor and allow you to start from scratch.

Export Data – The Export Data button will need to be pressed once you are satisfied with your tracking data and other settings in the Track Editor.

How do I have part of my scene masked off with the outline and adjust the opacity of the background so that only the outlined area stays at 100% opacity?

To isolate a section that you are masking out you first need to drag an FCPX Shape Tracker preset onto the timeline from the Titles library. Apply this directly over your media and then create your mask and track. Once the track data is exported set the Display Mode control in the Published Parameters to either Mask Only or Mask + Outline. Next create a duplicate of the clip you are tracking and place this directly above the first clip and still under the FCPX Shape Tracker preset. Compound the FCPX Shape Tracker preset and the Copy of the clip together. Then on the bottom clip adjust the opacity.

How do I smooth out a point so I have a smooth shape outline?

There are two ways to do this.
The first way is to click and hold while creating the points and then release the click once the curve it to your liking.
The other option is to hold the Shift key and then click on a point in order to enable the rounded points. You can smooth and un-smooth the points by holding the Shift key and clicking the point.

How do I move the handles for a point independently of each other?

By default, when trying to manipulate the points the handles are linked. To unlink the curve handles from each other you will first want to use the Arrow tool from the Toolbar to select the point in your viewer then hold the shift key and click the Handle. Release the shift key and your handle can now be moved independently. You can relink the curve handles by holding the Shift key again and clicking the curve handle.

How can I add more elements to make my outlines and shapes pop?

You can use a variety of plugins to further showcase your tracked shapes. For example, you can use the FCPX Auto Tracker 2.2 to add your own custom tracked text or any of our ProDicator callout plugins to add visual interest. Additionally, you can use the FCPX Auto Tracker Perspective to track other patterns and media and then mask it using the FCPX Shape Tracker. Finally, you can add Looks, Overlays, and Composites from plugins such as our FCPX Looks Suite, FCPX VFX Suite, or FCPX 5K Light Leak Mega Packs to tie the scene together.

How can I get my FCPX Shape Tracker to look like it is flickering?

To achieve the flicker effect shown in the promotional video the user will need to keyframe the opacity of both the outline and fill. You will want to have additional copies of the media so you can separate out between your masked or outlined areas and your background.

What other plugins were used in this video?

ProMap was used in one example in this video.