I think it's fair to say that for anybody doing YouTube videos, we would all love to have amazing titles and motion graphics, lower thirds, and all these great animations that you can do in applications like After Effects or Apple's Motion. But for a lot of us, at least for me, learning those apps is not something that I really have time or frankly, the desire to do. I want to create some cool animations, sure, but I don't want to spend a huge amount of time creating, or even figuring it out. About a year ago or so, I started using another program to do my animations. I started using Apple's Keynote. Yeah… Keynote, the slideshow app, the one that's like Microsoft PowerPoint, but you know… cooler? I'm going to show you how I've been doing that now.
Today I'm not going to be teaching you how to do really complex animations in Keynote. What I want to show you today is how to use Keynote to create your animations for Final Cut, for Premiere, for Resolve, for whatever nonlinear editor you're using. It doesn't really matter. Once we're done with what we're doing here. You can take it anywhere. If you want to learn more about how to actually create cool animations in Keynote, let me know in the comments below, and I'll
start doing some of those. But for now I just wanna show you the basics of how we actually create an animation in Keynote and bring it into the editor. Let's start by creating a new project and I'm just gonna grab a white background here and make it really simple and let's get rid of what's on here and I'll just drop a piece of text on here and we'll put in a title like “subscribe to my channel”. Here we go. And to animate this, with the text blocks selected, you simply go to ANIMATE, BUILD IN and choose an effect. And this is what makes Keynote so much fun, is that there's lots of really nice, easy to use animations. And some of these are a bit hokey and a bit goofy, but some of them are really quite cool frankly. And by using Keynote to do these animations, you don't have to really animate anything.
You just choose a preset and maybe change a few parameters and off you go. So one of the ones that I use the most is called MOVE IN. You can always preview your animation by clicking on the preview button or just click on it to select it and load it up. Now this one is set by default to one second. I usually make it a little bit faster. So let's do like 0.75 and you can change your direction; where's it coming from and going to, and you can have a bounce at the end. I like the little bounce in there, so that's what that looks like. So that's the first half of the animation. Now to get rid of it, we'll go into the BUILD OUT and I'll actually choose the same animation out, MOVE OUT, and it's set to go the right direction from left to right.
Maybe we'll make this a little bit faster again, it's still got the bounce and so it bounces out. At that point that's basically it. I have just built my first title. All I have to do from here is render out a movie and bring that into my editor, right? Well not so fast. At this point, this movie will render out with a white background. It's going to be black text against a white background and you might be thinking, Oh sure you can go into your NLE, you can use one of the transfer modes and you can get rid of that white background, but there's a better way. And the better way is to actually use transparency because that will allow you to do much more complex animations and not have to worry about trying to key out a background that's white or black or whatever color it might be.
So the way we do that has to do with how we set up the document to begin with. So let's just create a new document here and I'm going to create this from scratch is if I was doing a real project. So Command-N to make a new one. I'll go ahead and start with black this time. And the first thing I want to do is change my document aspect ratio. You'll see here by default it has a size of standard 4:3; we want to go 16:9. Now at this point I can actually leave it like this and then render out to whatever size I want. So if I'm doing HD or 4K, I don't actually have to change anything here because once I do the render out, I choose the size that I want my animation to be created at, and the software will scale everything up as needed.
As long as you're doing everything in Keynote, all of your shapes, your text, everything else you do in here is all vector based. So you can make it as big or small as you want. However, if you are going to be bringing in any pixel based graphics, maybe a photograph of a product for example, and you're going to animate that, you don't want to risk scaling that up too big because then it'll get pixalized. So what I would do is go in here and go ahead and choose a custom size and set it to whatever you're actually doing. So I'm going to say 3840 by 2160 so standard 4K or Ultra HD layout and you'll notice that it didn't appear to actually change in here because the aspect ratio is still 16:9. Okay. Now let's get rid of all these extra templates that I don't need.
I'll go into the Master Slide Editor and from here there's all these different slides that I really don't want, so I'm just going to go ahead and start deleting these and the first one is probably going to tell you that it's using it somewhere else. Go ahead and switch it down to BLANK; that converts that existing slide to BLANK and then just delete all the rest of these that we don't want. Okay. BLANK is all that I'm left with. Now the next part, the next part is critical. This is the part that makes this work. Right now we still have a black background. What we have to do is tell Keynote to have a transparent background and it's not necessarily very obvious how you do this. While you're still in this Master Slide Editor, go to the FORMAT OPTIONS and under here where it says BACKGROUND and COLOR FILL, you have to change that to NO FILL.
Now you'll notice that the background didn't appear to actually change. It's still black, and this is one of the unfortunate things about Keynote is that we don't see our traditional black and white checkered background that would tell us that it's transparency, so we have to see a black background, but as long as we know that we're okay, so NO FILL background, it's transparent, we're good to go. The only problem with this setup right now is that if we actually want to create black text, it's going to be kind of hard to do. So what I do is I go up here and I'll go ahead and duplicate this and we're going to call this one BLUE and as you might've guessed, this one, I'm going to go ahead and change to a blue color. Now if I use this blue background to create black text, I'm going to have to make sure I switch it back to the transparent or the BLANK background before I render it out.
So it's just something you have to keep in mind. But at least having this template in place, you'll be able to edit black text if that's what you need. And that's basically it. We can go ahead and get out of the Master Slide Editor and at this point I'll go ahead and save this and I'm going to put this on the Desktop for now and we'll just call this “Template”. Now I'm doing that so that I can go to the finder, click on that template file, hit Command-I and click on STATIONARY PAD. And now whenever I want to create a new project (let's go ahead and close that one), if I double click on “Template”, it automatically copies it, you'll see it's a copy here, and gives me a new one to work with. So I always have that template to go back to.
So that's one way to go about this. Honestly though, the way that I do this is I always just duplicate the last project file that I worked on and modify that one. That way. If I've already built animations for titles, lower thirds, whatever it might be, and I want to reuse some of those, they're already right there. I just delete the slides that I don't need and off I go, but whatever works for you. All right, let's go ahead and create another text animation in here and I'll once again just type in “subscribe to my channel”. That's a hint actually – don't forget to subscribe! And let's make this a little bit bigger and let's animate it. So to the animation tab, BUILD IN, I'll do the same thing I did earlier, we'll do a MOVE IN, we'll make that a little bit faster, BUILD OUT, add an effect, MOVE OUT, make that a little bit faster,
and there we go. Now at this point, I've got the animations in there, but I haven't set any timing yet. If you click on the BUILD ORDER button, you'll see the sequence of events for the builds that you're creating and you can also set individual timings. I'm gonna rearrange my window layout a little bit here and just select all of these and set them to AFTER PREVIOUS BUILD and put a delay of one second. Now this is what I recommend for doing these. Have everything automatically advanced to the next slide and always have it automatically advance one second later. You don't have to worry about setting the timing for your titles in here. We can take care of that in our editor. So in my case, I'll drop this into Final Cut and I have one second of space between the end of one animation and the beginning of the next, somewhere in that one second I'll create a freeze frame and then I can make that freeze frame last as long or as little as I want to.
I can even make it less than a second if I needed to. But this way I can make it hold onto the screen as long as I want and I don't have to worry about coming back to Keynote to adjust my timing. I can do all of that in the editor. Once that's done, we're ready to render out the movie. From the file menu, choose EXPORT TO MOVIE, and before I do that, you'll notice that mine has a keyboard shortcut, which is actually not normal in here. So let me show you how I set that up. Go to your System Preferences, click on Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts > Add the app that you're working with. So let me just delete this and start all over again. I would click PLUS, click on all applications and find Keynote down at the bottom there. The menu title has to be typed in exactly as it is in the menu. So go back to your app, and in this case, I'm looking for a menu that is called simply “Movie dot dot dot”, so I'll go in here and I'll type in “Movie dot, dot, dot”, and the keyboard shortcut that I want is Command-Shift-E. Add that,
and there it is. So now I know that Command-Shift-E will always get me there. Now to set up the settings for the render. Unfortunately the settings that you set in here are not sticky, meaning that every single time you come back to this menu, you're going to have to re-enter everything we're about to do, and unfortunately there's a lot to enter in here. So I'm gonna show you first everything that has to be set up and how to set it up. And then I'm going to go back and do it again and I'm going to show you what I've come up with as the most efficient way to do this with the minimal amount of clicks and just basically moving as quickly as possible. So going through all the options, the playback, it gets left at “self playing”. The slides that you're exporting –
right now, we only have the one so we can leave it at ALL, but usually you're going to be exporting a particular range of slides and for the most part it's going to be a single slide unless you're getting into some pretty complex animations in here. Now, I do want to advise that for every lower third, title, animation, et cetera, that you do render out a separate movie file. If you just have one big huge Keynote presentation and you render out one big long movie, things can get pretty confusing down the road. So every time you have a new title, lower third, whatever, just create a new one. So we'll need to set the range. You also need to set the GO TO NEXT SLIDE AFTER and GO TO NEXT BUILD AFTER. Now you probably don't have to set this for a lot of the work that you do, but if you get into the habit of always setting these to zero, then you know that you will have consistency in all the movies that you create.
And frankly, these are often ignored, assuming that you set everything up correctly over here, but if you forgot to set one of these, then these settings here do actually matter. So my habit here is to set these both to zero. Then you choose your resolution. Your defaults are just 720 and 1080 but if you go to CUSTOM, this is where the real magic happens. Not only can I set the size that I want, so in this case, 3840 by 2160 and fortunately it does adopt the right height once I punched in the width, and then we have to set it to the compression type of Apple ProRes 4444. That's the magic, that four four four four, that fourth four is the transparency channel. And you'll see that there's an option under here that says EXPORT WITH TRANSPARENT BACKGROUNDS. Now remember back in the beginning when I set up the background to be transparent, if I hadn't done that, then this option would not even be there.
So now that that's set up, we're ready to go. But let me show you again the quickest way to do this. So I'll cancel that. And let's say I'm ready to export this animation out. I hit Command-Shift-E and the first thing I want to do is everything that I have to do with the mouse. And then I'll switch to everything I have to do with the keyboard. So I go over here and I click on the FROM, click on the RESOLUTION to CUSTOM and click on Apple ProRes 4444 and then with the other hand, I tab over to my slide numbers. In this case it's one to one. Go to NEXT SLIDE, zero to zero, tab again, hit 3840 tab and we're done. Hit return and it brings up the save dialogue. Once you get into that pattern, that habit, it is pretty quick.
Now I've already asked Apple and I'm planning to ask them again to make this better, to keep these settings sticky, to have templates, to have ways to make this much faster and better for us. But for now it's what we have to do. All right, now we're going to save this out. And for now I'm just going to go and put this into my Movies folder. I'm going to create a new folder in here called “Demo Project”. And inside of this I'll create a folder called “Animations”. And this is an important part of it. You want to create a folder to put all of your animations in and keep them all in the same place and not actually copy them into your Final Cut library. If you're using Final Cut; if using Premiere or Resolve or something else, you're going to have to figure out how to do that part of it. But for Final Cut, I definitely want to just put them into a folder and leave them there. And this will make a little bit more sense later. So I created this folder called “Animations” and I want to make sure that I title this something that makes sense. So this was my “subscribe” title. Okay, let's go ahead and export that out.
And now let's bring it into Final Cut. I'll switch to Final Cut and hit the import dialogue; Command-I, navigate to my Movies folder and there is the folder with the animation in it. Now I'm going to make sure that LEAVE FILES IN PLACE is enabled and also to create a keyword from the folders and by selecting the actual folder itself, it'll create the keyword for that and this will help if you end up with hundreds and hundreds of these in your project just to make sure they're always keyworded. Also notice that I'm not selecting the individual video file to import it. I'm selecting the entire folder, which means of course that if you add more and more content to this, you're going to be trying to re-import the same content over and over again. Final Cut's, not going to duplicate it. Don't worry about that. It'll only start to take longer to run the import, for it to scan the folder and look for what's new, once you get dozens and dozens and dozens of files in there. So for the most part I don't worry about it. I just click on the whole folder and click on IMPORT.
There's the file right there. Drag that onto the timeline, hit play. And there it is. “Subscribe to my channel” and off it goes. So I've got this piece in here and the positioning is, well, terrible. I just dropped in the middle of the screen, wasn't paying attention to where it went and the timing isn't great. So let's play with the timing first and then we'll come to positioning next. So let's say that I want to have it, let's say, have it start to fly out just as I look away from the camera. So here I'm looking at the camera and just as I look away, that's when I want it to fly out and I'm going to have it come in. Oh, we'll leave it coming in where it is right now. So I'll start by finding where it starts to go out and I'll just scrub along until I see it start to move.
And which is right about there. There we go. So, back up a little bit. I want essentially the last frame where the text isn't moving yet and this isn't critical that you do it this way, but by choosing the last frame before the animation starts again and using that position to create your freeze frame, what that means is you'll be able to use that as an indicator of where the animation will start when you want to line that up with something else. I'll show you what I mean. So again, I've positioned the play head right at the last frame of still motion before it starts to move again. I'll hit Option-F to create a freeze frame and now I can make the freeze frame as long or short as I want to here. And if I needed to make it less than a second for overall, I could just simply take this and reduce the timing on that as well.
But in this case, let's see, I said that I wanted to have it start to go away just as soon as I look away from the camera. So right about there, right before my eyes go. So I can just leave the playhead here or in this case I'll just drop a marker on the timeline, and then I'll use that marker to line up the end of that animation. So that snaps into place and now as it plays through, just as I look away, it goes off screen. Great. So that's all there is to getting the timing the way you want it. Put a freeze frame at the last still frame before the next animation starts, and then adjust the duration of that still frame so that you can make the animation as long as you want it to be. All right, next up, let's change what it says.
So I said “Subscribe to my channel”. Maybe I want to change that to say “Subscribe to my Twitter”. So I'll go back over to Keynote and I'm going to change the text. “Subscribe to my Twitter @PhotoJoseph” and let's render this out again. Command-Shift-E, click, click, click… tab, one, tab, one, zero, zero, 3840, and return. Now I want to replace the existing file. This is why we chose to leave the files in their location in the finder when I imported them into Final Cut. By doing that, I can update the file in the finder and it will automatically update inside of Final Cut. Had I imported it into the Final Cut library, then I wouldn't be able to do what I'm about to do, so I want to update that particular animation. I'll click on the animation itself to copy the name up to here, just one click and it copies it up.
Hit export, let it replace it. And now another another little tip; make sure you let this finish rendering the movie before you switch back to Final Cut. If you switch to Final Cut while it's in the middle of replacing that file, Final Cut could get a little confused and lose track of the file. So just let that finish and then switch back to Final Cut and just like that, the title has been replaced. Now we've got this title in Final Cut that says what I want it to say, but it's in the wrong position. Now because this is a simple title, I could simply go into the transform tools and move it around, but I don't want to do that. I want to have it right from the beginning. So the way that we would do that is by exporting a still frame from Final Cut, bringing that into Keynote and using that as a placeholder to guide where we're going to put the text.
So let me go ahead and just grab a new frame. Let's actually create something completely new. Let's say that I want to put some text over this white card that I'm holding up here. I positioned the playhead where I want to export that frame. We'll go to the FILE MENU > SHARE > SAVE CURRENT FRAME, and I'll just save that to the Desktop. Now I'll go back over to Keynote and like I said, I'm going to create a whole new one. So we'll add a blank slide in here, and the picture is here on the desktop. Let's go ahead and drag that in. It'll automatically center it into your template, into your canvas here, and I'll go ahead and create a new text block. Let's just put this right here and let's say “White Balance” and we'll make that a little bit bigger. Change the font on that a bit,
and let's make that black. Okay. Obviously nothing too exciting here. Maybe I'll even rotate this. Kinda make it look like it's on there. Now I'm not going to be able to track this inside of Keynote. In fact, if I wanted to track this in Final Cut, I could do that using third party tools, but that's beyond the scope of this demo. All right, I've got my text in there. Let's animate it. I'll go ahead and do a BUILD IN and let's just do something silly because we can, I'm going to go ahead and add a little flame to this thing. We'll have it burn into place, maybe make that a little bit faster and we'll do a BUILD OUT of, how about, VANISH. Select these two builds, change them both to AFTER PREVIOUS BUILDS and set them to one second and now before I can render this out, I have to get rid of that background.
I could simply delete it, but then if I need it later, it's gone. So what we'll do instead of deleting it is set it to 0% transparency. Click on the background to select it, go to FORMAT, and take the OPACITY down to zero. And you'll notice again that the text that we made black is now invisible, but it's still there. Command-Shift-E, click, click, click, tab. And now we're doing two to two, zero to zero, 3840 and NEXT. So you can see it does get quick once you get used to it. This one's called “White Balance”. Back into Final Cut, Command-I to import, select the Animations folder, IMPORT, SELECTED, there's my “White Balance”, and I'll drop it onto where I want it to be. And there we have it. There's the animation
And that's really all there is to it. It's pretty straight forward and easy. Make sure that when you create your template, you're creating it at the right aspect ratio, if not the exact right size. Make sure that you set your background to be transparent. That is the absolute most critical part of this. You have to have that transparent background and then when you do your animations, be consistent about your timing. Always set it to AUTO ADVANCE: one second and then that'll just make the whole process of building these and updating these a bit more straight forward as you go and that way you'll also have something consistent to go back to. You know you're always doing it at one second. When you render out the movie, make sure you enable transparency and use what I showed you as far as clicking and then tabbing with the keyboard to navigate through that dialog quickly (until Apple updates that for us).
And then once you bring them into Final Cut, make sure that you leave them in place. That way you can update them later. Once they're in Final Cut, drop them on the timeline wherever you like, and to make an animation longer, just put a freeze frame at wherever the animation is not moving and make that duration as long as you need. If you need to update your animation, simply go back into Keynote, change your text or whatever it might be and render it out and just replace the file that's there. Now I will tell you if you change the timing of it, then Final Cut usually doesn't really like that very well. I've found that sometimes it updates it properly and sometimes it gets a little confused and might even end up with a duplicate file in there, so if you do have to change the timing of the slide, then in that case you may have to replace it on the timeline, but if you're just doing a text update like I did here, then it's easy enough to just render in place, replace the existing files and update in Final Cut.
Now again, if you want to see more about how to actually use Keynote for this, how to create stunning animations in Keynote to do some really interesting text animations, full motion graphics animations and so on, then let me know in the comments and I'll work on some of those. I am going to link at the end to a video that I did a few months ago that probably has my most advanced Keynote animations in it. Everything you see in the video was done with Keynote, with the exception of the handwritten notes. The handwritten animation was done somewhere else, but every other animation, every text, every motion graphic was all created in Keynote. Check it out. It's coming up next.