11 May 2016

5 Tips for Better Color Correction

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1. Check your Exposure Input Levels

The first thing to do is balance your blacks, mids and whites. You can use Fast Color Corrector for this. Usually you only need to mess with mid levels (same goes for photography), but often raising the mids will make your image too light, so you may want to raise the blacks to be a bit more black as well.

Screenshot 2016-05-10 21.03.06

2. Proper White Balance

Easy white balance can be achieved by selecting your eye dropper and sampling any pure white of your frame. But this doesnt always do the trick because its more important to set your white balance to peoples skin then it is to a white background. Because people are not completely white you then have to white balance manually. White balancing consists of two main parts on a color spectrum. Hot which is a high number of kalvin such as 7000k, or Cold which is a lower number of kalvin such as 3500. Hot is orange and cold is blue. In a color wheel you can also adjust the Tint, which is the amount of purples vs greens in a photo/video.

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3. Three Way Color Correction

I rarely need to use 3 way color, unless somehow the scene was lit by a combination of different lights, such as an orange tungsten and blue daylight. In this example the camera was set to auto white balance and somehow the black levels only were much too blue while the rest of the mids were a nice warm orange. What is then needed is for us to warm up the levels of the shadows only using a three way color corrector. Problem Solved. 🙂Screenshot 2016-05-10 21.04.33

4. Selective Saturation

Lets say you have a shot of somebody wearing a blue shirt and horribly sunburned. But we want their skin to not look red but rather a nice natural orange or tan instead. What we will then have to do is desaturate the red levels only.  Which totally solves the problem of rosy faces and over kissed skin tones. But it also yields a problem. Lowering your red levels will give people pale, dead lips. We cant have people looking like they have frostbite mouth! So what we must do is mask out the desaturation effect so that it doesn’t apply to the lips. Alternatively you can add a lip only mask to increase red levels back up in the lips. We talk about how to mask below.

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5. Keyframing (video only)

So let’s say your video was shot on auto exposure and shifts from bright to dark in the middle of a shot, making your subject unbalanced in the take. This can be easily fixed by keyframing your input levels. Keyframing adds time to every effect or attribute you alter your video with. This is known as automation, as you can set your parameters to change from

IMPORTANT BONUS: Matching real physics using Bezier Keyframes

In the world of physics moving moves from a velocity of  0 to 100 in an instant unless its a bullet, but we aren’t shooting bullets all the time. Instead most things start at a speed of zero and gradually ramp up to 100. Here’s the problem: By default every keyframe software sets keyframes to “linear” which is now how our physical world moves. To solve this problem we have to right click our ketframes and make them “Ease In or Ease Out” to other keyframes that also “Ease In” or “Ease Out.” This gradual way to automate motion is what makes the difference between good animators and expert animators. We will talk about that more in an Animation Blog coming soon. 

6. Masking (with keyframes)

Ok. so lets say you have a car or a person that is moving in your frame and you need to put an effect just on the moving car or person. You will then need to mask your effect, using keyframes to crop out the effect from everything outside the car or person. You do this by having your mask shape morph from one keyframe to the next as you use the pen tool to rotoscope your car/person. This is like using a lasso tool in Photoshop, however your lasso is constantly changing shape. Masking is a nice tool to learn if you want to take your work to the next level.


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