Final Cut Pro: Working with Layered Photoshop Files

There are two basic types of images from Photoshop that you can use with Final Cut Pro. The first type of image has a transparent background that you can either composite or superimpose over a video. The second type of image is considered to be a simple image; this can be a regular photo or text written on a background. This type of image can't be superimposed over a video because it is not transparent.

In order to learn how to use layering with photos in Photoshop, it is important to know how to prepare the photos. For a basic image that has no transparent background, here are the preparation steps that you must take for a basic image with no transparent background before layering the image.

Step 1: Browse the Photoshop Menu

Open the photo in Photoshop. Go to the Photoshop file menu and click on "new."

Step 2:  Change Settings

Change the settings as follows: width should be 720 pixels, height should be 540 pixels, resolution should be set to 72 dpi. The contents should be set to either white or choose a background color, and the color mode should be set to RGB.

Step 3: Save the Image

Paste an image into the new blank document, create your artwork, or type in your text. When finished, do a "save as" for the unconverted photo as a backup or copy name the file "image name 540."

Step 4: Work on Image Size

Go to the file menu, click on "image," and then click on "image size." In the dialog box for "image size" make sure that the "constraint proportions" box is unchecked. Change the pixel dimensions for height from 540 to 480 pixels and leave the width at 720 pixels. Once you have done this, click "okay." You will then notice your image looks distorted; this is perfectly normal and should look this way.

Step 5: Save the File

Save as a .psd file, and then import it into Final Cut Pro. Once you import this file into Final Cut Pro, you will see your image in its original form with no distortions.

Step 6: Layer the Image

Go to the file menu in Photoshop and open a new file. When you do this, a layers palette box will open up. The first layer can either be non-transparent or transparent. If you aren't using this image to superimpose into video, then the layer can be any color.

If you are planning to superimpose the image into video, leave this layer transparent and open a new layer. Make a new layer for every part of your art work. To move layers, click and drag the layer to the position where you wish to move it to.

Step 7: Save the File

When you are finished, save as a copy, a duplicate or a backup. Now it's time to go to Final Cut Pro.

Step 8: Importing the File

Import your image into Final Cut Pro. Once you do this, your Photoshop file will show up as a sequence in your browser. Drag this sequence to the timeline and double click on it to open the sequence.

Step 9: Create Clips

Select all the clips in the sequence and drag them to the new BIN that you created in the browser. Each layer has now become its own clip.

Step 10: Import to Browser

Set the duration for the still image by going to "menu," "edit," "preferences," and then "general tab." In the still image duration box, enter the length of time you want your stills to appear, then import them into the browser.

Step 11: Place the Layers

Close the empty sequence block and remove it from the timeline and your browser. Drag your layers to the timeline and place them on top of each other.

Following these steps will create the desired effect you want by adding photos to your video while keeping the photos unique. They can be easily moved around the timeline, and you can use any and all effects that are available in Final Cut Pro.

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