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Grading layers and exploring the Layer Stack

From: Up and Running with SpeedGrade

Video: Grading layers and exploring the Layer Stack

In this movie, before we actually jump into primary grading, I want to explain the semi-confusing topic of grading shots here on the Look tab, and then here in the Layers stack versus adding new grading layers up here in the Adobe SpeedGrade Timeline. And as you learn more about SpeedGrade, at first blush these seem to be sort of contradictory approaches to grading, but in fact they are actually very complementary, and I'll explain that in just a moment. But first, if you are following along with exercise files be sure to open up this Timeline on a project called 03_01_timelinevslayers.

Grading layers and exploring the Layer Stack

In this movie, before we actually jump into primary grading, I want to explain the semi-confusing topic of grading shots here on the Look tab, and then here in the Layers stack versus adding new grading layers up here in the Adobe SpeedGrade Timeline. And as you learn more about SpeedGrade, at first blush these seem to be sort of contradictory approaches to grading, but in fact they are actually very complementary, and I'll explain that in just a moment. But first, if you are following along with exercise files be sure to open up this Timeline on a project called 03_01_timelinevslayers.

By default when you navigate to or select a clip here in the Abode SpeedGrade Timeline you're going to obviously grade that clip. Let me show what I mean. So I am going to come down here to the Look tab, and then here in the center section of the Look tab I am going to make a simple correction. Now I know that we haven't talked about making corrections yet, but just bear with me. What I am going to do here on the Overall tab is make a contrast adjustment here in the midtones of the shot, I'll also make a little bit of an adjustment to my Shadows and my blacks, something like that. And then I am going to neutralize the slight green color cast that's in the shot, here in the midtones.

Okay, I am happy with that. A good keyword shortcut to remember, by the way, when you're grading is the 0 key on your keyboard numberpad, and what that does is it toggles the grade on and off, just like that. So what I am really getting at is that each clip has a built-in container for corrections, and that's the Layers stack over here. However, sometimes you'll want to combine different looks or even have separate grades for different looks that you're trying out, or grades that different project stakeholders like. So let me go ahead and navigate over here to the Timeline tab and then on the Setup tab, right here in the middle, I have a category called Timeline Elements and then another category over here called Tools.

And we're going to use some tools in both of these categories to illustrate the idea of adding grading layers up here on Adobe SpeedGrade Timeline. So what I want I first do is click on this button right here to extract new grading layers from my clips in my Timeline, and when I did that you'll notice that I have these two pink bars above each one of the clips here on my Adobe SpeedGrade Timeline, and these are new grading layers for each clip. So as I mentioned before, each clip by default has a grading layer on it, but by clicking this button you can add additional layers for each clip in your Timeline.

So I am going to ahead and click it two more times here, so I have three additional layers, but in reality I really have four different grading layers. The original grading layer on the clip itself and then these three additional grading layers. Let me go ahead and navigate down to the second clip on my Timeline and here I have a pretty looking lizard. A good way to thank of these Timeline layers as I mentioned is as containers for grades and corrections. And by selecting one of these grading layers what you can do is then come back down here to the Look tab and make a correction. Now I am just going to make some very extreme corrections just to illustrate the mechanics of this.

So let me go ahead and I'll make this clip kind of pinky-purple, something like that. I'm going to select another layer right here, up here on my Timeline, and then we'll make another extreme correction; make this one kind of greenish, something like that, and then we'll select the third one and we'll make this nice and blue. We'll crush the blacks kind of a bit, like that. There we go, and maybe we'll even add a Custom Look layer over in my Layers stack. So you might have noticed besides the clip looking horrible up here in the monitor, the different corrections that I made for each one of these grading layers sort of combined.

That's because the layers by default mix together, and why you can certainly grade like that, a better way to conceptualize these different grading layers is as different grades. And what I mean is that you might have one that you like, the director likes, and the one that you are just playing around with and trying some ideas out on. But by clicking this little eye icon for each layer you can disable a particular grading layer so you're only viewing one grading layer at any given time. And this is again a great way to toggle between different grades that you've applied to a shot. If you'd like to remove a grade track, simply click on this icon right here, and then drag up into the blank area here above the Timeline until you see that red X, and then let go to delete that grading layer.

And one thing I do want to make clear though is that each grading layer is its own self-contained entity. We'll go ahead and turn both of these layers back on, and then select one of them and come down to my Look tab again. And you'll notice on this one we had sort of that hot pink correction. If I click on this one, you'll notice that we have that green correction. Let me go ahead and just add a couple of additional primary layers. So now you'll notice on this particular grading layer I have three primary layers, but if I click back on the first one I only have a single primary layer. Okay, finally I want to show you one more thing about grading layers on a Timeline.

Let me go ahead and remove all of these additional grading layers that I added just a moment ago, and then what I want to do is come back over here to the Timeline tab then to the Setup tab. And here in the Timeline Elements section I am going to click on this element and drag up to the Timeline to add a new grading layer. But don't actually let go as you drag. I want to illustrate something. Right now when I drag I have a thick red line. If I drag up a little further, you'll notice that I have a thin red line. Let me go ahead and start with the thin red line. When I apply the thin red line, a grading layer is applied only to the shot that I was dragging to. Let me go ahead and undo that.

If I drag up again and I get a thick red line like that and let go. You'll notice that you have a grading layer applied to both shots, grading layer one and grading layer two. Let me go ahead and undo that. At any time if you add a grading layer to the Timeline you can trim it out to match the length that you want. And I'll use a grading layer this for a scene or maybe even the entire Timeline to apply a unifying look to that scene or Timeline, or to do things like apply a custom Look layer to legalize an entire Timeline, and I'll show you that method of legalizing entire Timeline using a grading layer in a later movie in this title.

Okay, so that's a bit more about the Layers stack and how it integrates with Timeline grading layers. Once you see how these items can work together, you'll see that you have a lot more options for how you approach grading inside of Adobe SpeedGrade.

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Up and Running with SpeedGrade

29 video lessons · 7564 viewers

Robbie Carman
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