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Extreme color correction

From: Digital Matte Painting Essentials 4: Texturing

Video: Extreme color correction

So far we've done fairly workaday color corrections. Here's a piece of photo reference of a waterfall. It isn't a particularly good piece of reference, it's badly With your Marquee tool, select around the edges of the waterfall and copy it out.

Extreme color correction

So far we've done fairly workaday color corrections. But before we leave the topic, I want to do an extreme color correction, changing a piece of reference dramatically. Here's a piece of photo reference of a waterfall. Those of you that are lynda.com premium members can it in the Course Materials folder as Waterfall.jpg. It isn't a particularly good piece of reference, it's badly scanned and low contrast. However, I think I can change this into a lava waterfall at the front of the castle by distorting it and applying a really wild color correction.

With your Marquee tool, select around the edges of the waterfall and copy it out. It needs to go at the front of the castle, so paste it in there. Now, transform and distort it. Every time you move one corner of the distort tool, it affects the other corners. So you'll have to work back and forth to get it to sit in this spot properly. Keep adjusting it in smaller and smaller increments, until you get what you want. I think we can all agree this doesn't look very much like a lava waterfall. But let's start pulling the curves and see what we can get.

I'm going to go ahead and do this color correction directly to the layer. You can apply an adjustment layer if you want. First, you'll want to make the waterfall much redder. Since this photo is very neutral, if we pull in on the black point of the green curve, it'll make everything maroon. Let's do the same with the blue black point. Pull it halfway to the right, and that makes everything more yellow. Since we want all of the light tones to be more yellow, pull way down on the white point of the blue curve. Now it's starting to look like lava. It would be nice if the reds would pop a bit more, so let's pull the red curve white point to the left to increase contrast in the reds.

The reds are getting somewhat over-saturated, so let's pull the white point of the green curve to the left. That neutralizes the reds a bit and adds more contrast. Finally, on the RGB curve, pull the white point to the right to increase overall contrast. The darks seem too dark for lava, so let's pull up on the shadows part of the curve. By the way, let me show you an example of posturization, or where your reference no longer has enough tones to represent the image smoothly.

If I pull way up on this light side of the curve, you can see an extreme example of that. Basically, this curve has thrown away so much information, that there are only a few tones available to represent the picture. Clearly not what we want. You can get rid of a point on a curve by pulling up or down quickly. This can be tricky, since if you aren't snappy enough, it can pull the curve in a very weird way. But, that's easily fixed. So, we went from here to here, with one extreme color correction.

Hopefully, that opens up some possibilities for you for using your photo reference in unexpected ways. Next we're going to add a photographic sky, and we'll do that in the next lesson.

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Image for Digital Matte Painting Essentials 4: Texturing
Digital Matte Painting Essentials 4: Texturing

39 video lessons · 3602 viewers

David Mattingly
Author

 
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  1. 1m 51s
    1. Introduction
      59s
    2. Using the exercise files
      52s
  2. 44m 5s
    1. Why did we wait so long to use photographic textures?
      1m 55s
    2. Prepping the form study for texturing
      5m 32s
    3. Transfer modes
      9m 4s
    4. Color basics
      4m 45s
    5. Creating a stone texture
      3m 26s
    6. Adding the dark side's base texture
      3m 57s
    7. Adding the light side's base texture
      3m 40s
    8. Rounded textures and the Warp tool
      6m 33s
    9. Websites for matte painting reference
      5m 13s
  3. 30m 12s
    1. Creating a photographic crenellation
      7m 30s
    2. Creating a line of crenellations
      3m 27s
    3. The Vanishing Point tool
      4m 54s
    4. Adding crenellations using the Vanishing Point tool
      3m 4s
    5. Trimming the crenellations
      7m 9s
    6. Adding back sides to the crenellations
      4m 8s
  4. 29m 36s
    1. Levels and Curves anatomy
      5m 26s
    2. Camera Raw
      3m 33s
    3. Using Levels and Curves
      4m 55s
    4. Color correcting individual RGB channels
      3m 19s
    5. Toning the base castle
      5m 35s
    6. Toning the crenellations
      6m 48s
  5. 32m 25s
    1. Adding photographic elements
      4m 19s
    2. Distorting the dome and rectangular faces
      5m 18s
    3. Relighting the dome
      5m 59s
    4. Color correcting the dome
      1m 52s
    5. Adding more photographic details
      5m 57s
    6. Relighting the new details
      3m 50s
    7. Color correcting the details
      5m 10s
  6. 51m 33s
    1. Extreme color correction
      3m 36s
    2. Adding a photographic sky
      6m 27s
    3. Adding background mountains
      5m 32s
    4. Integrating the details
      7m 30s
    5. Collapsing layers and more details
      5m 13s
    6. The final paint layer
      6m 28s
    7. Lights and glows
      7m 16s
    8. Smoke and flames
      9m 31s
  7. 33s
    1. Goodbye
      33s

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