Final Cut Pro: How To Flatten Graphics with Layers

Having graphics that are multi-layered is very useful for working with complex graphics. However, you often just need a single still-image clip. It is important, though, that any original image file that is a Photoshop file first be flattened before you can use it in Final Cut Pro.

Tools and Materials:

  • Original Photoshop image file
  • Final Curt Pro

Step 1: Saving the Photoshop File

Before you can manipulate the image you will use in Final Cut Pro, you first need to make two versions of this image file. The first copy is the original version of the image Photoshop file. It is important that you retain all the independent layers of the image. You will need this version as a working copy that you can go back to in case you need to make independent layer adjustments.

The next version should be a separate flattened image. You can do this by going to File and then click Save As or File. Choose Export in your graphics application.

Step 2: Importing the Image File

Once you have made the 2 versions, you can now start working with your images. First, you need to import the layered Photoshop file into Final Cut Pro. An imported Photoshop image file will appear as a sequence in Final Cut Pro. Each of the individual layers is stacked, making it easier to manipulate each layer.  

Once the Photoshop image is imported in Final Cut Pro, the file is composited together and has a sequence frame size that is the same as the ones you will see on the imported Photoshop file's frame size. Each of the layers will appear in sequence or in the same order as the layers in the original Photoshop image file. Changing the order of the video tracks will also change the order of the layers.

Step 3: Changing the Frame Rate

Any imported image Photoshop file in Final Cut Pro will have the same frame rate as the current sequence preset. It is important to remember that you should not add or delete layers from an imported image file under any circumstances.

To change the frame rate of a layered Photoshop sequence, you can edit the layered Photoshop sequence into the destination sequence. This will allow the Final Cut Pro to automatically change the frame rate of the nested sequence. You can also change the frame rate manually before you make any edits to the destination sequence. To do this, choose from the Browser the layered Photoshop sequence. Select Sequence and then select Settings. The Editing Timebase pop-up menu will appear. From the pop-up menu, choose a frame rate then click OK.

Step 4: Creating a Duplicate Master Clip

You can also create a clone of the master clip. This can be a layered Photoshop work which can be used Final Cut Pro. Go to the Browser and select a layered Photoshop sequence. One you have chosen a layered Photoshop sequence, select Modify. After, choose New Master Clip. The new master clip created in Final Cut Pro has a frame rate that you can modify for nesting into other sequences.

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