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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
Just like you will want to adjust luminance, or in other words brightness often, you'll also probably want to adjust colors often. So, we're going to start looking at that here. I'm going to apply the Hue/Saturation effect to this layer, just drag-and-drop onto these flowers here. We've got a bunch of cool colors of flowers. If we're adjusting luminance, it's fairly simple, because typically that's something that we want to do on a global scale. We want to make everything brighter, everything darker. But oftentimes with colors, we want to isolate those things. Say, for example, in this case, we might want to take these take these blue-ish, purple-ish, violet-ish flowers here and tone that color down, or we might want to change that to a different color, and the Hue/Saturation effect will allow us to do that.
First, let's talk about the Channel Control dropdown at the top. This is where it all boils down to. By default, the Channel Control is set to Master. In other words, everything that we do here with the Master Hue, Master Saturation, Master Lightness values, is going to affect all colors in the entire image. If we adjust the Master Hue, Hue being basically like the color family, we're going to adjust the color family of all the colors in the image, which creates these kind of weird psychedelic looks, which I don't find are very helpful unless you're doing some kind of like psychedelic thing or whatever.
But I'm just going to take this down this to 0. One of the things I do find to be very useful is this Master Saturation. You can click and drag left on this value to reduce saturation. So, if you're doing something for like maybe a flashback or something and we want some kind of antique look, we can take this saturation down almost all the way. If we take it to -100, it will be all the way. It'll be perfectly black-and-white, which we may want. And we can take this up a little bit to add just a little bit of color. We could also take this to a positive value and increase the color saturation, in other words the vibrance of the colors. And I recommend not taking this too far above 17.
Sometimes you can get away with more than that. From my experience, 17 is where it just starts looking cartoony in almost every case. You might think that that looks pretty good as-is, but if we click the Effects icon and see the before and the after, it does kind of look like a Wes Anderson movie a little bit. But it's still kind of pushing it. So, in this case, 10 might be the highest acceptable level that I would go to. As we've talked about in the last movie, we probably want to stay away with the Master Lightness control in most situations because it universally lightens, or if dragged to a negative value, universally darkens every single pixel uniformly and that's just not good visual stuff.
So, I'm going to take Master Lightness back down to 0. So, we've increased the saturation of all colors and we've decreased the saturation of all colors. But what about our little violet flowers over here? How can we change just those? What I am going to do now is take the Channel Control from this dropdown here, let's just take it to Blues. And under the Blue Hue, I can click and drag this to the right. And you can see that we've changed the color value of just those flowers and nothing else.
As we drag this to the left, we can make these maybe a bluish green or just maybe this just a little bit more of a green blue, and if we adjust the saturation now, we're not adjusting the Master Saturation for all colors. We're adjusting only the saturation of the blues, which in this case, pretty much only applies to these two flowers so I can draw the saturation down to the left, make these just like black-and- white flowers. Increase them to look ridiculous. I could also play with the Lightness, which is now okay, because we're only fiddling with the blues and not the entire image.
So, as you could see here we have a lot of control and flexibility. We might want to enhance these two colors. We might be telling a story where the color of these two flowers is significant or they may stick out too much and we want to deemphasize them and Hue/Saturation gives us easy control over that. And separately we could go to say the reds and we could adjust the red hue and we could see the hue of all the red flowers anyway is changing and also saturation, and we could play so much with all these different values. We could go into the greens and adjust the hue of the greens.
Oftentimes when I'm dealing with a lot of green, it's important to pay attention to those greens because it says a lot. If you have a big wide-open field, if that green is a little bit on the yellow side of green, it will give a sense that every thing is kind of dead and wiped out. It's on your lawn. If your lawn starts dying, it goes to yellow. That's how you know that it's dying. When you have something that's full of life it will go towards blue and that's how you know that it's alive, because bluish-green looks much more alive and vibrant than yellow-green.
So, I'm not saying make it look cartoony blue. But if it is looking a little dead, or you want to look a little bit more vibrant, add a little bit of blue in there and you could get that by playing with this green hue slider. Again, if you take it too far, you're going to make it look like that. That's again not very desirable. Just a little push in that direction to get a little bit of blue in there and it just makes it look so much more alive and vibrant. Here's the before and the after. So, I'm actually not liking the reds, so at any time I could go back to the reds, and I could take the saturation back to 0 and the red hue back to 0 as well.
So, again, the moral of the story is that we're allowed to go in to different color families independently and adjust those colors, saturation and lightnesses as well. I should also point out one final note that I often use Hue/Saturation in conjunction with the Levels effect that we looked at in the last movie. Oftentimes, when we use the Levels effect, it shifts the colors in an undesirable way. Let's say we've brighten up this footage like we just did here. That might have a tendency to wash those colors out so you may need to increase saturation.
Or in the case here, it's looking a little bit too vibrant so I would go to the Master control, and we would take the saturation down to kind of balance out the adjustment we just added with Levels. So, again, it's kind of like this push- pull thing where as you add one effect it might be a little bit too intense, so you add another effect to kind of dial it back and balance it out. At the end of the day maybe this is little bit too much desaturation, maybe -5. So, at the end of the day we have a really beautiful image and if we click the fx icon in the Switches area of the Timeline panel we could see it without all of the effects applied to it. So that total before and the total after.
It's a really nice effect and all that control that Hue/Saturation gives you with the Channel Control dropdown is just too powerful to pass up.
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