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Changing colors in footage

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Changing colors in footage

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.

Changing colors in footage

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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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 67685 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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