How to Add Transitions to Titles and Overlays in Final Cut Pro X

The new edition of Final Cut Pro is anything but an evolutionary change to the popular video editing platform. Professional editors familiar with the interface present in FCP 7 have ranted about the changes for one reason or another while users of lower-powered editors like iMovie and others are probably very grateful for the steep price drop and easy user interface Final Cut Pro X delivers. Personally, after having to deal with constant audio issues and intentional limitations iMovie presents, the move to FCP X has come as a pleasant change from underpowered platforms.

While much of FCP X is drag and drop, there are a few details that can be very confusing to amateur video editors. One of these details is the seemingly simple act of adding transitions and effects to titles and overlays. By default, things seems to magically appear and disappear without fluid and motion. A quick take can be good if the video it rides over also switches, but when you want an overlay to transition smoothly, the drag-and-drop method used on the primary video doesn’t seem to work.

In order to enable this option, all you need to do is right-click on the overlay in the timeline and select Create Storyline. This will expand the overlay in the timeline and allow you to add cross dissolves (also available with a right-click) or drag other effects in from the transitions browser.

If you’re having a hard time finding the transitions browser, you can access it through the Window menu under Media. It is also located on the right-hand side with an icon that looks like an hourglass by default.

Once this is done, you an begin adding all the transitions your heart desires. Make your overlay image appear with a fancy spinning fly-in or zip away. While FCP X certainly isn’t as easy as iMovie or as “professional” as FCP 7, it can certainly prove a useful editor with a little practice.