Articles, Blog

Create a YOUTUBE THUMBNAIL in Final Cut Pro – FCPX Tutorial 2018

October 31, 2019


In the age of internet video, having a good thumbnail for your project is more important now than ever. A video thumbnail is like a book cover, and can be the difference between people clicking on your video, or just scrolling by. The good news is, you can crate a great eye catching thumbnail without having to leave Final Cut Pro. Hey guys, whats up. This is Serge, and welcome back to another Final Cut Pro tutorial. If, like me, your final destination for your project is the internet, having a
great, eye catching thumbnail that pops is very important. In this video, I’ll show you how you can create a great looking thumbnail right in
Final Cut Pro, using the thumbnail used in my previous video as an example. Just a quick reminder, if you enjoy this, or any other one of my
videos, please hit the subscribe button below. To make a thumbnail for your video, first create a new project in the same event your video is in. From the menu bar select file, new, and project, or use the keyboard shortcut Command N. Next, give your project a name and select the video format. I would recommend using the same format for your thumbnail as your project. If your project is HD, use the 1080P format, or if your project is 4K, I would recommend using the 4K format for your thumbnail project. Since your final product will be a still image, the video frame rate and the audio options really don’t matter
here. Next, for your main thumbnail image you have a couple options. Option one is using a screen shot from one of your video clips. Skim over one of your browser clips, and with the skimmer over the frame you want
to use, press Option F on your keyboard. A four second freeze frame is added as a connected clip to your timeline. I’ll press Command Z to undo that. Option two, and the preferred option if available is using a high quality still image. The higher resolution of still images will leave you more flexibility when editing
your thumbnail. Select your still image in the browser, and press E on your keyboard add it to your
timeline. The clip duration isn’t important in this
case, but pressing Shift Z will zoom in on your clip to fill the timeline, and give more space to work with. Also, if your image is a different aspect
ratio than your project, crop in on the image to eliminate the black
bars. I’m not going to get too deep into this, but research shows that depending on your video subject, having a person in your thumbnail may get you more clicks. In my example, I want my subject to stand
out a bit, so I’ll desaturate the background, while bumping up the saturation on my subject. First, duplicate your clip by holding down the option key and dragging
up. Next, from the effects browser, add a draw mask to your top clip. Add control points in the viewer to outline
your subject. You can zoom in in the viewer for more precision. Next, with your top clip selected, in the inspector, select color inspector, and in the saturation tab drag up the global
puck to give your subject a little bit more color. Next, select your bottom clip and bring down the global puck, to desaturate your background Another common practice used by some bigger YouTubers to make something pop in their thumbnail, is adding a border around it. Since our subject in the top clip is isolated, this will be nice and easy using a downloaded
plugin. The one I use is BretFX Outliner, and can be downloaded from BretFX.com. Open the effects browser, and drag and drop the effect over your clip. There’s a number of parameters in the inspector that can be adjusted, depending on your image. For my example, the default presets work perfect. For our next step, since this is a Final Cut Pro tutorial, lets add the Final Cut Pro icon, between our subject and the background. First, download the icon with a transparent
background. Next, click and drag the image from the browser, and drop it between the two clips in the timeline. Use the transform tool to resize the image, and in the inspector, bring down the opacity slider to make it partially transparent. We can also add some text to our image by adding a title. To add a basic title, open the titles and generators sidebar, and type in basic in the search box. Select Basic Title, and with your playhead at the start of your
project, press Q to connect it to your timeline. Now, over in the inspector, select the text inspector tab, and enter your text. This is where you can also adjust the font, size, color and many other parameters of your text. You can also reposition, resize and even rotate your text here. Here’s a bonus tip if you’re making a thumbnail for YouTube. Adding a bright border around your image, will make your thumbnail appear highlighted. To add a border to your image, first Press Command A to select all your clips and Option G to combine all your clips into one compound clip. Next, in the effects browser, type in simple border into the search box. Drag and drop it over your clip, adjust the width, and change it to a nice, bright color. And there you have it, a nice bright thumbnail image to use when uploading your video . To export this image, simply place your playhead anywhere over your clip, hit the share button, and choose Save Current Frame. If you don’t see a Save Current Frame preset, you can add it by clicking Add Destination. Select your file type, hit next and choose your destination for your
image. I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial, and this gives you some ideas how to create an eye catching thumbnail for your next video. As always, if you have any questions ask in the comments below, and either me, or someone else who knows the answer can help you out. And if you haven’t yet, check out the rest of my channel for more Final Cut Pro tutorials. New videos released weekly, so hit the subscribe button so you don’t
miss them. Thanks for watching, and I hope to see you back next week.

17 Comments

  • Reply wan-der-lust March 3, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    A ton of great 👍 info here. LOVE ❤️ your vids. Thanks

  • Reply Lou Adzima March 3, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Great tip! and it saves a trip to out to Photoshop.

  • Reply Patrick Murphy March 4, 2018 at 4:47 am

    I'll be using this tutorial to create thumbnails.  I've never created one before.  Thanks!

  • Reply Luis Gomez March 4, 2018 at 7:02 am

    Great video again thanks

  • Reply Luis Gomez March 5, 2018 at 3:38 am

    Cuestión and sugestión can u do a video about subtitles for other lenguaje like if a record sometime in Spanish in want to put subtitles in English

  • Reply Old Boy March 5, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Always Enjoy all the best

  • Reply THE CONVERSATION AFTER March 10, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    I just used this entire technique for my latest video. Thank you very much. Its a huge improvement over my other thumbnails. Best to you

  • Reply The New Travel March 12, 2018 at 3:05 am

    I prefer the Photoshop workflow. But this is eye opening to the potential of FCP to do design work should Photoshop not be available! Cool tutorial.

  • Reply 林建志 April 5, 2018 at 1:36 am

    Awoseom for me. Thanks.

  • Reply Photokaaran Dhas November 5, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Great thanks to you master, and introduce the BretFX site also……

  • Reply Garrick Gillette November 16, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    This is great! Thanks. Subbing now!

  • Reply Arjay Ardanas January 18, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you so much!!!!

  • Reply PaleExercise February 8, 2019 at 1:02 am

    Serge when I first clicked on this video I said nope you can't teach me anything, canva works great. Well thank you for changing my mind. Also check out this video on how to create the outline with no plugin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDpl_O0tgjE

  • Reply Peace Avenue Productions February 22, 2019 at 10:06 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks he sounds like squidward

  • Reply Mama Julie Cooks March 3, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    Hey Serge first of all thank you as always for your excellent content. As a newbie to FCPX I really appreciate all your hard work. I watched this vid and learned thanks to you how to make thumbnails in FCPX so thank you !!!!! I had one question if possible….Ill put a link to a thumbnail I made and if its not too much trouble can you or anyone else tell me what I am doing wrong…..its not sized properly and its cutting the side of the pic off???? I would really appreciate any help / advice thank you in advance !!!! https://youtu.be/Cp8KBMOIC9I

  • Reply John Durkin March 10, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Perfect tutorial. Thank you.

  • Reply Hay & Young Art Studio June 3, 2019 at 4:37 am

    Very useful. Thank you so much!

  • Leave a Reply