A free Final Cut Pro X effect that adds a smearing effect to video clips, stills and generators so they look as if a light is being shone from behind them.

Uploaded 19 July 2013



Amount controls how long the rays are.

You can control the position of where the rays emanate from.

Glow makes the clip brighter before the rays are added.

Preserve Opacity defines whether the rays extend into the transparent areas of the clip.

Here are some more results:

More extreme settings for Light Rays a4d

If you choose to have very short rays you can subtly focus on part of the image by blurring the rest of the clip:

A subtle use of Light Rays a4d

Light Rays outside the edges of the clip

The effect of Final Cut Pro X plugins cannot extend outside the areas of the clips they are applied to. In these examples the source clip was scaled down using the transform controls and turned into a compound clip. Compound clips default to having the same dimensions of the project, so the light rays can extend outside the area of the original clip to the transparent areas of the compound clip. If you don’t want the rays to do this, click the Preserve Opacity check box:

Showing the effect of clicking the "Preserve Opacity"check box

If you want have more precise control over the animation of the Amount value, you can edit its curve in the Video Animation panel:

The length of the light rays can be animated using a animation graph


Download the free Light Rays a4d effect for Final Cut Pro X

Click to download the installer:

Light Rays a4d installer icon

This plugin is free to download and use, but if you’d like to show your appreciation for my work, please donate here:

Paypal donation button

Once installed, you’ll find it in the Light section of the Effects browser:

Light Rays icon in Final Cut Pro X palette

If when you try to run the installer you get a message stating it can’t be opened “because it was not downloaded from the Mac App Store” – your Mac OS X security preferences are protecting you. To learn how change this preferenece, or work around this message, visit this post at blog.alex4d.com.

If when you apply this plugin, your Final Cut viewer turns blue, your version of Final Cut Pro X is older than 10.0.6, if you sign into the Mac App Store with the Apple ID that bought your copy, you can download the free update. If you can’t do this, there is a workaround at this post at blog.alex4d.com.