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Black & White

From: After Effects CS5 New Creative Techniques

Video: Black & White

In the previous movie, when I was talking about the brand-new Vibrance effect, I mentioned that many users use Saturation, crank it down to minus 100, and that's a quick way of creating a black and white image. Well, it's quick and easy, but it's not necessarily the best or most refined way to create a black and white image. Well, now we have a new effect to do that. Delete Vibrance, and I'll apply Effect > Color Correction > Black & White. This is another effect borrowed from Photoshop, and I really glad they brought it into After Effects. It gives you individual control over not only the red, green and blue components of an image, but also the yellows, the cyans, and the magentas.

Black & White

In the previous movie, when I was talking about the brand-new Vibrance effect, I mentioned that many users use Saturation, crank it down to minus 100, and that's a quick way of creating a black and white image. Well, it's quick and easy, but it's not necessarily the best or most refined way to create a black and white image. Well, now we have a new effect to do that. Delete Vibrance, and I'll apply Effect > Color Correction > Black & White. This is another effect borrowed from Photoshop, and I really glad they brought it into After Effects. It gives you individual control over not only the red, green and blue components of an image, but also the yellows, the cyans, and the magentas.

People who are more involved in the print world are more used to those colors, and if you want to see how they relate, basically red plus blue is magenta, blue plus green is cyan, green plus red is yellow. So it's a way of dealing with the intermediate colors instead of just dealing with the primaries. It gives you a default mix which kind of creates a luminance mix to this image, which you can really get in and then fine-tune. For example, with the standard RGB color mixer, you might only have access to the reds, greens, and blues.

If I want to play around with the red component of this rock, you see red brings down virtually all the rocks together, or increases all the rocks together. But if I use the adjacent color like magentas, you'll see I have control now over just shadowed areas, which are related to red as opposed to bringing down all the reds together. Vry handy. Similarly, we have some blue tint up in the sky. I'll turn the effect off for now to remind you what this looked like. And you might be tempted just to say let's alter the blue content of that sky. Well, if I pulled it out, you'll see that actually what I can consider to be my sky is staying white, not really adjusting it the way I wanted to.

Well, skies are actually closer to cyan in color. If I pull cyan out, you'll now see that I'm increasing the ingredient up in the high part of the sky. This is where it started, and now I'm actually affecting that falloff from the sky from the blue sky to the white horizon. So it gives you much more subtle way of mixing individual color components to create that ideal black & white image from your source. It also has a handy little tint command, this appears in another effects, where you can just quickly tint footage as well. It creates your idealized black/ white version, then give it a color tint.

Nice little effect!

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After Effects CS5 New Creative Techniques

35 video lessons · 17992 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
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