Final Cut Pro: How To Use Bezier Handles To Smooth Keyframes

Depending upon which motion settings and filter controls you used for your motion path, you may be able to use Bezier handles to smooth keyframes. Basically, when you smooth a keyframe, Final Cut Pro attaches Bezier handles to the keyframe to create a Bezier curve. The created Bezier curve smooths the keyframe you are working with because it allows you to adjust how a keyframe accelerates and decelerates.

Understanding Bezier Handles

Before you can begin using Bezier handles to smooth keyframes, you must first understand how Bezier handles and Bezier curves work. If you have multiple keyframes in a single group, both the first and last keyframes will have one-sided Bezier handles. The one-sided Bezier handles allow the first and last keyframes to control how the group accelerates and decelerates into and out of any dynamic changes.

The keyframes that are located in between the first and last keyframes will have two-sided Bezier handles. The Bezier handles on these keyframes will typically be locked together. Final Cut Pro locks the two-sided Bezier handles together because it allows the Bezier curve to smoothly enter into and out of each keyframe. If you make any changes to any two-sided Bezier handle, the same change will be applied to the other two-sided Bezier handle.

Keyframe Parameters

In Final Cut Pro, there are one-dimensional keyframes and two-dimensional keyframes. The parameters that a keyframe uses will be used to determine if that keyframe can be smoothed. Final Cut Pro does not allow one-dimensional keyframes, that have parameters containing multiple values, to be represented by curved graph lines in the keyframe graph area. For these types of keyframes, Final Cut Pro will instead use a single point on a graph to represent those parameters. Being that the keyframe graph area is unable to display multiple parameter values, Final Cut Pro will not allow you to use Bezier handles to smooth those keyframes.

You are able to use Bezier handles to smooth two-dimensional keyframes. With two-dimensional keyframes, parameters only contain a single value. Due to the single value, Final Cut Pro will animate these parameters in the keyframe graph area. Two-dimensional keyframes will typically include parameters such as scale, rotation, aspect ratio and opacity.

Smoothing Keyframes

To smooth a keyframe using Bezier handles, you will need to Control-click on a keyframe and then select Smooth from the shortcut menu that appears. The Bezier handles will automatically be applied to the keyframe. You can then use the Bezier handles to adjust the velocity of change that occurs between multiple keyframes.

You can change the shape of a Bezier curve by simply dragging the Bezier handles that are located on the side of the keyframe. Final Cut Pro also allows you to resize a single Bezier handle. To do this, you will need to press the Shift key while you drag the Bezier handle that you wish to resize.

If you need to change the angle between the two sides of a Bezier handle, all you need to do is press the Command key while you drag the Bezier handle. You can also change the length and angle of a single Bezier angle by pressing both the Shift and Command keys while you drag the Bezier handle.

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