Placeholders versus drop zones

Most of the Final Cut Pro templates in Motion contain placeholder layers, which appear in the Canvas as downward arrow graphics.

Image of Placeholder layer in the Canvas

In Motion, you drag effects objects (behaviors, filters, and so on) into these placeholder layers. The result is a custom effect that you can later apply to clips in Final Cut Pro. When you do so, two things happen:

  • The target clip in the Final Cut Pro Timeline populates the placeholder.

  • The effects embedded in the placeholder are applied to the target clip.

Placeholder layers are not intended to hold source media (images or movie clips) that you apply in Motion. Although you can drag an image or clip into a placeholder in Motion to test what the effect will look like, those images are not used in Final Cut Pro.

If you want users to be able to add additional source media to an applied template in Final Cut Pro, you can add one or more drop zones to the template in Motion. Drop zones remain empty until users assign source media to them in Final Cut Pro.

Placeholders and drop zones can be scaled or transformed in templates to create certain looks and movements. For example, you can create a picture-in-picture effect by adding a drop zone to a template, scaling the drop zone down, then positioning it in a corner of the Canvas. When a user applies the template to a clip in Final Cut Pro, that clip populates the effect, and an empty drop zone appears in the corner of the Viewer; the user can then assign a different clip to the picture-in-picture drop zone.

Placeholders and drop zones share many of the same parameters, such as Pan, Scale, and Fill Color. If you modify placeholder parameters in Motion (via the placeholder’s Image Inspector), those adjustments do not affect the clip in Final Cut Pro to which the effect template is applied. For drop zones, however, parameter modifications made in Motion do affect the media assigned to the drop zone in Final Cut Pro. For more information on drop zone (and placeholder) parameters, see Drop zone controls.

Note: Drop zones can also be used when creating Motion-specific templates (not for use in Final Cut Pro). For more information, see Drop zones overview.