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Apple Final Cut Pro X: In-Depth

Lesson 32 of 42

Blend Modes


Apple Final Cut Pro X: In-Depth

Lesson 32 of 42

Blend Modes


Lesson Info

Blend Modes

Lend modes are something that most editors don't understand because it's a photo shop technique, a photo shop artist can't lose. Well, actually, jim, let me just ask you on art director question when you're creating objects and in photo shop, I mean, we're now still working photoshopped. How often do you use? Blend? Not often, but you know, I probably used blend modes on ten percent of my work that's ten percent more than most video. Yes, because people think video editors don't know what they do on day, especially think that they're just used for stills and photo shop work, and they don't realize that we can do a lot of stuff with blend votes inside a video. So what I want to do now is I want to spend some time showing you what blend moats are in what capacity is so let's, open up this and let's, go find something to start with and it's interesting that you mentioned that because we did have someone asking about the opacity of picture and pictures. Well, ok, the, um, opacity settings ...

are available on every clip. It's not a filter that you have to apply. You can change your past the settings on any clip, any titled any, any effect except transitions, but generators, titles, video clips all of those khun have capacity changed and we give an example of this. If I have I have the word opacity here in white and I have the word opacity in green. If I select the clip, go up to the video tab in the inspector and go down to the very bottom, we see there's a compositing mode and were able to adjust the opacity. Now, when I have the opacity adjusted here, for instance, notice that I'm seeing through the text to the texture below this texture is really important because most the time when we just take a pure color clip, look at that light. The white is sitting there, but it looks like it's pasted on top of the rock. By the way, the rock is a stone generator from inside final cut. How can you not love that texture of the rock? I want to make it look like the word opacity is spray painted onto the rock. Look at how the rock texture is showing through the green here. Well, if I grabbed this clip and drag the opacity down, yes, I start to see the rock texture, but notice how much more difficult it's become to read the text. This is the difference between opacity on top and blend mode on the bottom. What opacity does is it makes the top clipped the top layer translucent and I see through it but in making it translucent it makes it fainter and fainter and fainter until it's harder and harder to read if I want to have perfect texture I can't read the text at all if I want to have perfect text I don't have any texture and somewhere in the middle I get okay texture I get okay text but it's really not a good combination of either one the second clip allows me to combine based upon blend modes let me illustrate just hide settings by clicking on the high button pull this all up here for instance I have a green clip there's the color green and it's fully opaque I can't see any of the stone behind it blend modes which are part of a pass ity and stored right above a ministry set the opacity on this to one hundred percent because we'll play with both blend mode allows me to combine images based upon their gray scale values. Now you'll hear about this a lot more when we talk about color correction gray scale is the amount of light or dark in the image for instance opacity top is a very light gray scale it happens to have the color of white but in terms of grey it's almost one hundred percent pure white as in gray scale this opacity the second opacity has the color green but in gray scale it's a medium gray this dot right there has the grayscale value of close to black near zero whereas this gray is medium gray probably about oh sixty percent toward white we need to differentiate in our mind the color of an object from the grayscale value of an object and blend modes combined elements based upon their gray scale they're black and white values were going to come back and hear this theme again this afternoon when we talk about color correction, watch the green opacity as I change the blend mode there's four different categories of blend modes subtract multiply combines based upon darker pixels watch the green opacity in two one wolf look at that I'm taking the darker elements off the background and combining it with the darker elements of the foreground and while opacity on top looks like it's sitting above the stone, the opacity on the bottom looks like it's painted onto the stone. You can see the texture, the ripples actually seeming to deform the character because of the blend mode well, the next category is called screen screen combines elements based upon their lighter values see how now we've got a lighter, washed out kind of look same word I'm seeing texture doesn't have the same feeling could be a better feeling could be a worse feeling, but it's not the same feeling third category is overlay this happens to be one of my favorites multiply combines upon darker grace scales screen combines based upon lighter grey scales overlake combines based upon mid tone grey grey scales and in many cases although not this one overlay is probably the best choice to go to first followed by multiply all these different iterations give us different looks all based on combining the medium grey pixels oven image will seymour this in just seconds so in this particular case we get the best result at least to my eye for this particular color against this particular background by choosing multiply if I select the top clip were pride get the best results not with multiply but with screen notice how screen will screen so I combined the lighter pixels I don't see anything come through here how about opacity? The overlay over late yeah, we start to see that and if we go to multiply disappears totally because there's no dark pixels in that pure white shape so the color and grey scale of the foreground has an impact on what the results of the blend mode is that's well, seymour this because I want to spend a few minutes explain this this just gives us all kinds of interesting things to play with. For example here if I have notice I've got the word texture t e is in a way the second timeout tio there we go the letter t e t a is ninety percent white next to you is fifty percent gray and you can't see it but the r is ten percent so ninety percent fifty percent and ten percent almost but not quite white mid tone grey and almost but not quite black with that said if I look at this against a medium background we can barely see the t e let's just hide the projects we can barely see the tea we can clearly see the medium gray in the dark right as we change blend modes watch what happens I'm going to go down too look at screen which combines based upon lighter pixels I c t e some of x to you and none of the ar e if I look at overlay overlay I see a little bit of everything because it works in the middle multiply works with a darker pixels notice that as I changed the blend mode depending upon what the grayscale value of the foreground and background clip is I get different results take look att darken take a look it's trucked take a look a color burn the need thing about blend mode is there's nothing to adjust you look at and say that has got to be the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life well don't use it change it try something different let's try soft light or let's try hard light or let's try color, dodge your screen or whatever one that I recommend you not uses don't use ad ad is a really bad choice for video because it causes your white levels to exceed one hundred percent which for the web does not make any difference and for broadcast and cable will get you fired screen clamps white levels that one hundred percent to prevent them from going over into two white a territory adiz thie on ly blend mode that I actively recommend that you not use so what we're seeing is that these three categories of blend modes combined images based upon the grayscale value of the background and the grayscale value of the foreground and they combine based upon the brighter pixels the mid tone grey pixels or the darker pixels well this is all well and good and we use this for text all the time but let's see if we can't take this something a little bit further here this is that generator I talked about before look at that stone look at the color look at the texture look att the shading this is really cool background well notice I've applied a texture to it the texture is a blend mode called difference let's just take a look at some different choices here is what the textbooks by itself one of the ugliest colors I could possibly have chosen and it looks like it's floating above it and yes, I could go to text and yes, if I wanted to, I could add a drop shadow and give it a drop shadow look, which is what we do with many of our titles where we want the title to float over the background but in this case I want tohave the color and the text look like it's spray painted on the rock let's take a look at what multiplied does all right, definitely we get texture definitely we get colored definitely looks different let's try screen still some but not a lot color dodge we start to seymour of the rock background or linear dodge again they're subtle differences that may or may not work for you. We get overlay, which is one that I like we're seeing mohr of the shadow in here soft light is sort of a gentler hand and hard light is stronger but one of the neat settings here is farther down difference and exclusion unlike all the other blend modes which work on grayscale value difference and exclusion work on color values. This is one of those things where let's just see what we can make this look like let's see if it looks good let's see if it looks bad and you say, hey that's kind of neat? Well, we've been doing this with a still image of the background we've been doing it with a still image of the foreground but let's go back in time and let's talk ansel adams ansel adams is probably one of the most famous photographers that ever lived, and he made a career out of taking spectacularly lovely images all across the west and one of things that he discovered is a filter a camera filter called a grad filter short for graduated filter the top portion of the filter was dark, translucent but dark and it would shade to completely transparent at the bottom. It looked like this except where white is you could see through it what the grad filter allows us to do is to take a really nice looking exterior wide shot slipped the grad filter in front of the lens and what we can do also in post we get the effect of an overlay blend mode. This is the shot this is the shot without the grad filter applied look at the grass clearly it's good and it's blowing grass this is a still this is a moving image, grasses blowing wheat got a nice sweet color the clouds are definitely there there's lowering clouds and we can see that there's clouds and the mountain but we don't have a lot of detail in the sky and we don't have a lot of life in the foreground because the sun is actually way in the background not foreground watched the grad filter in too one wolf oh, my goodness, look at the detail that suddenly showed up in the sky that wasn't there before. This is before this is after look at how we've made that we'd just pop it looks as though the sunlight came out in the foreground. Why we've applied the grady int using the overlay filter and watch what happens is I play this clip in real time. There is a dramatic, different, more powerful look toe having that grad filter in than having a grad filter out. Well, they could see even more exciting than this here's a village barn, totally nondescript sky. Nothing happening in the foreground limited stuff happening to background. The sun is in the in the wrong place. We want the sun to be in the foreground I've got a grad filter, but I also have a grad filter that's got a much narrower horizon let's see what we can do here if I select both of those go, too. The blend mode changed the blend mode toe overlay cause that works of mid tone grey and let's. Watch what happens this is before, and this is the grad filter this is before, and this is the grad filter we've got detail in the sky, and we've shifted that whole balance so that now the foreground isn't a secondary thought being dominated by the background. Your eye goes right to the road the barn the grapevines and the lighting looks like it's consistent all the way across and this too is a piece of video well we can do more than this. What happens if I take this exact same scene and it's ah horror film well we can take a grady int which is dark blue shading cool the entire time select this go to video go to the overlay menu bomp bomp bom lightning and thunder just before the door slammed shut on a screaming starts or what happens if I take a grady int which is shading between different colors? Okay let's go to here and let's go to overlay look at that now we've got the world of oz all the colors air accentuated maybe this is too saturated maybe we want to just work with a warm grady in this's a grady it created inside final cut I can adjust the grady in't inside final cut in a way that I can't with the photo shop graphic but I can play with it or I could just take a photo shop graphic this's a straight radiant created inside photoshopped this is before and this is after look at how the wheat has got life energy and the sky has got detail and what we worked with this just a gold grade and there's another thing we can do with this grady in watch what happens instead of doing overly if I decide to go with hard mix now, I've got a poster ization image, which is a moving image that I could use is the opening graphic to my show drop text. On top of this, the sky is moving, the grasses moving. I've got a peter max style color palette that allows me to do all kinds of interesting things. This text knock this back in terms of brightness or we can do something. One more thing to show you. Just I want expand your thinking in terms of what we could do with these blood modes that's far beyond what you may have thought about here's our image here we're shading from cool toe, warm, selected. Go to overlay. Look at this this is before and this is after I mean, this is a fabulous shot, this's, more fabulous. This is what my I would see. This is what's in my imagination, it's a major, major difference in easy, easy to create with blend moz, is that not cool? I love this stuff.

Class Description


  • Import media into Apple Final Cut Pro X
  • Use its media management tools to organize your files
  • Explore the endless possibilities for creating amazing video effects and dig into audio.
  • Sharpen the skills you need to edit, trim, and combine clips to create a dynamic, engaging final cut.


Apple® Final Cut Pro® X has been rocking the film editing world since its initial release in 1999. Today, eleven upgrades later, the video editor's users number in the millions and its editing tools have powered major motion picture and small screen edits. Join Larry Jordan to learn what makes this video editing software so powerful, versatile, and indispensable.

Now an industry standard video editor alongside options like Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro X encompasses pro-level editing tools for Mac. Final Cut Pro is a Mac-only program with professional tools that blow the free video editing software and budget video editors like iMovie, Adobe Premiere Elements, and Movie Maker out of the water. The video software can handle everything from 360-degree video to Hollywood-level productions. But navigating those advanced editing tools is a daunting task for beginners. Pretending Final Cut Pro is an intuitive, beginners program will only leave you frustrated and missing the biggest features.


Whether you are brand new to editing, self-taught, or a seasoned pro, this course will take your editing skills and Apple Final Cut Pro X mastery to a whole new level, from upload to save.

Apple Final Cut Pro X


Larry Jordan is an internationally-renowned consultant, digital media analyst, and trainer with over 35 years of experience as a television producer, director, and editor with national broadcast and corporate credits. He is recognized as the foremost trainer in both Apple Final Cut Pro (Mac) and Adobe Premiere Pro (Mac and Windows) where his informative and entertaining teaching style provides video editors around the world with unique resources to increase productivity and enhance their skills. Jordan is on the faculty at both USC and Video Symphony and the host of the weekly podcast.


  1. Introduction

    Larry Jordan says a majority of the Final Cut Pro X technical help questions he answers stem from jumping right into editing without understanding how the software works. In the first lesson, learn what to expect in the class and why, when you edit videos, you start with organization.

  2. Key Terms

    Video editing tools are often confusing for newbies because of the terminology. Walk through the jargon you need to know and key concepts for Final Cut Pro to get started on the right foot.

  3. System Configuration and RAID Storage

    Final Cut Pro X can run on any Mac except for the Mac mini. Here, learn the best system set up for video editing and learn how to make your budget go the farthest when setting up a computer for video editing, and why storage, not the computer is most important.

  4. Q&A with Creating an Efficient Workflow

    Video editing with Final Cut Pro is just as much about the actual tools as it is about creating an efficient workflow. In this lesson, find the answers to some of the biggest questions in the workflow.

  5. Interface and Media Management

    Understanding the Final Cut Pro X interface helps you navigate through the program from one step of the workflow to the next. Explore Final Cut's single window interface and the three broad sections, as well as where to find the hidden windows and what they do.

  6. Importing Media Part 1

    Final Cut Pro will import any videos supported by your computer, from files that already exist on a hard drive to videos from a camera's SD card. Walk through the import process and options, from basic options to marking favorite locations, when working with files that already exist on the hard drive.

  7. Importing Media Part 2

    Final Cut Pro will also import your media for you from a camera. Larry walks quickly through what's the same when importing from a camera and points out the important differences when using different import methods.

  8. Ratings and Keywords

    Creating a video often means working with multiple, long video files. This lesson walks through organizing video clips to make finding the exact clip you need easy. Larry then walks you through creating the actual project and getting started in the video editing process itself.

  9. Reviewing Clips for Edit

    Time to dig into editing -- but where do you start? Reviewing the available clips to see what to include is a good place to start. Larry walks you through the process, from the keyboard shortcuts, to marking a clip.

  10. Importing Clips

    Once you've identified some clips to work with, it's time to actually add them to your timeline. Jordan walks through the different options from using keyboard shortcuts to mark the in and out to using a simple drag and drop to the timeline. Whichever option you use, Jordan says, don't worry too much about getting it exact because you can fine-tune further later on.

  11. Editing an Interview Demo

    In this essential lesson, see a finished clip and walk through how the interview was assembled. Larry outlines the fundamentals of assembling an interview -- using techniques that work with any type of video edit -- in Apple® Final Cut Pro® X.

  12. Replace Edit and Timeline Index

    Continue to work with the timeline with tricks for replacing clips. Larry walks through simple methods, like using a drag and drop, to more advanced options like the three-point edit, as well as timeline tricks for working with chroma-key. Learn replacement edits along with other timeline tricks in this lesson.

  13. Compound Clips and Auditions

    Compound clips and auditions are specialized functions inside Apple Final Cut Pro. An audition allows video editors to compare clips easily. A compound clip is a project inside of a project. Walk through the how, why and when for these advanced features.

  1. Editing Review

    Jump back into video editing with the editing review that launches day two of this three-day class. Larry reviews the first part of the class and gives you insight into what's next.

  2. Trimming Part 1

    The way clips are assembled in the final video plays a big role on how the final video influences the viewer's emotions. Larry mixes the art of clip trimming with the tools inside Final Cut Pro.

  3. Trimming Part 2

    Trimming isn't always adjusting the beginning and end of a clip. Larry walks through the process of creating a slip trim, as well as tricks like trimming multiple clips at once.

  4. How We Hear

    Jumping into audio, learn the basic terms to audio editing, how we hear, and get started on understanding audio tracks inside Final Cut Pro.

  5. Audio Key Terms with Q&A

    Continue unraveling audio editing with key audio terms that aren't specific to Final Cut Pro. Learn how sound is visually represented and how to set levels for the best sound.

  6. Audio Basics, Meters, and Inspector

    Work with levels and audio inside the Final Cut Pro timeline by diving into the video editor's basic audio tools. Larry walks the class through levels, audio meters, keyframes and more. Learn how to eliminate a cough from the audio, how to reset parameters and more.

  7. Audio Q&A

    Audio is a big component to understanding video editing. Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions with this quick lesson using questions from students just like you.

  8. Dual System Sound and Audio Analysis

    Video and sound are sometimes recorded separately -- often when the mic built-into the DSLR or GoPro used to record the video isn't great at capturing audio. Larry walks through the process of syncing audio to the clip with double system recording along with the audio analysis tool that allows Final Cut to conduct an automatic analysis and fix some audio problems.

  9. Multicam Editing Part 1

    Editing video shot with multiple cameras is a common task in the video industry -- and Final Cut Pro has tools designed just for the task. Larry walks through the basics of multicam editing and getting started with the multicam feature. Learn how to group the cameras, create a new multicam clip and adjust the order using the angle editor to prep the workspace for working with videos from multiple cameras.

  10. Multicam Editing Part 2

    Once the footage is grouped and ready, follow Larry through the process of finessing those multiple feeds into a cohesive video. Start with setting the audio to a single camera, then move into switching the camera angles with a simple click and more advanced multicam tools.

  11. Transitions Part 1

    Transitions help make moving from multiple cuts a smooth experience. Learn the keyboard shortcuts for transitions, timing transition adjustments, and adjusting a transition with a roll trim.

  12. Transitions Part 2

    Creating transitions is an art -- learn the three main types of transitions, when to use them, what emotions transitions bring, and working with transitions in Final Cut Pro.

  13. Formatting and Animating Titles

    Titles reinforce key pieces of information, Larry says. Learn how to use titles, how long to leave titles up, where to place titles, and how to format titles in Final Cut Pro.

  1. Additional Effects

    Titles aren't the only type of special effects you can create inside Final Cut Pro. In the first lesson of the final day of the class, get a peek at what's up ahead, including how to add video stabilization, correct rolling shutter, work with images and create special effects like the Ken Burns effect.

  2. Editing and Trimming Review

    Recap the editing and trimming essentials to review what Larry says is the most essential thing to understand on using Final Cut Pro. Larry puts all the editing and trimming together in a final look at the process.

  3. Changing Speed of a Clip

    The speed of a clip can create drama. Learn how to manipulate the timeline with techniques like freeze frames, variable speed, and slow motion. Decipher the retime menu and learn the tools for manipulating time.

  4. Inspector Effects

    The Inspector inside Final Cut Pro allows video editors to make changes, from adding video stabilization to adjusting the aspect ratio. Follow Larry through the Inspector Effects to learn the special effects hiding in this menu.

  5. The Effects Browsers and Generators

    Video editors can create their own videos directly inside Final Cut Pro using Generators, a tool that's helpful for creating backgrounds for infographics and other items. Larry walks through the Generators and how to use them, along with diving into the Effects Browser interface.

  6. Blend Modes

    Blend Modes originated in Photoshop, but introduce some interesting special effects for video editors as well. Learn how to use blend modes, change the opacity for regular clips and picture-in-picture, and more in this lesson.

  7. Effects Q&A

    Dive into the most frequently asked questions on special effects as Larry explores questions posed by students just like you.

  8. Simple Effects

    Final Cut Pro has a number of different special effects options. Larry walks you through the most useful special effects and how to use them, so that you'll know how to manipulate those oddball effects too.

  9. Intro to Color Correction

    Color correction is a big enough task that entire careers are dedicated to the task. Learn what you need to know on color correction basics to successfully create a color-corrected video inside Final Cut Pro.

  10. Video Scopes

    Final Cut Pro uses three main video scopes -- the waveform monitor, the vectorscope, and the histogram. Larry walks through how to use each tool in color correction.

  11. Color Correcting for Video

    Learn what colors are most essential to get right and how to manually adjust color in videos inside this lesson. Work with the vectorscope and waveform monitor to edit color in a video.

  12. Color Correcting Skintone

    If the skin color is off, the entire video looks off. Larry walks you through how to adjust skin tones. Every skin tone is different -- this lesson is designed to give you the tools and know-how to correct for every skin tone.

  13. Color Correction Q&A

    Dive into the most common questions on color correction with this short lesson taking questions from students.

  14. Audio Effects Part 1

    Visual effects are only half of the special effects equation. Walk through audio effects, from manipulating audio levels to creating a stereo mix.

  15. Audio Effects Part 2

    Continue digging into audio special effects with advanced techniques inside Final Cut Pro. Work with channel filters to mix voice and music and the limiter filter to correct audio that's too soft.

  16. Exporting and Sharing

    After all that editing, how do you share your video? Walk through the export process, from exporting an XTML and a master file to sharing to YouTube directly from Final Cut Pro. Learn about exporting to different file formats and video formats, including .mp4.


a Creativelive Student

Absolutely one of the best & easy to follow teaching / learning sessions for this product. Larry has a great approach & insight into delivering a wealth of information from his years of experience that budding video engineers will certainly benefit from with a product that is powerful & great to use. I'm enjoying the journey to better understand & use this great product, expanding my experience in producing awesome video presentations. Great work Larry, & also huge fan of creativelive Keep up the great work you all do to assist budding producers in mastering their skills. Noel Blake Melbourne Australia


Final Cut Pro with Larry Jordan has been of enormous help to me just stating in FCPX. Larry has a unique way of getting the message on the basics across in an easy to understand manner. I have not yet looked at the entire course as I am practicing the steps as I go through the course. Many programs of FCP are not presented in the easy to follow manner thatL array does so well. I am 100% delighted with my purchase. I am in Sydney, Australia, and, due to the time difference it is impractical to view courses live. So I had to purchase on trust which in this case was a good choice. It would be good if Creative Live could perhaps rerun programs so overseas folks could view them at a convenient time. The courses still need to be purchased as I find it best to run it on another monitor and put what is taught into practice. Well done and thanks for the special offer in July.

a Creativelive Student

Attending this class was really a life-changing experience. Larry is a wonderful teacher and clearly on top of the program and methodology, and the way he structured the course, did frequent reviews and constant technique reminders (naming keyboard shortcuts as he did them, for example) really added a lot to the presentation. The depth of the class was very much appreciated, and his command of a complex subject showed that it was possible. I have wanted to understand FCP for several years and have only gotten the beginnings of a handle on it in the last 6 months or so. This class was an exponential knowledge upload and I hope will allow me to do lots of things I've only wondered about. I thought Jim was a good foil for Larry and did a nice job keeping things together, even when there was a technical problem. The value for me of being able to sit through the class before deciding to purchase was huge, and I am very much looking forward to reviewing the videos as questions come up. The class was very thorough and I didn't feel anything was being left out. Thank you so much for making it available.