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Making color corrections

From: Up and Running with SpeedGrade

Video: Making color corrections

Earlier in this chapter we took a look at making contrast corrections to shots here inside of Adobes SpeedGrade. Well, in this movie I want to talk about the cousin of the contrast correction and that is of course is the color correction. And if you're following along with the exercise files be sure to open up this Timeline called 03_03_colorcorrections. Now let's go ahead and take a look at this first shot in the Timeline and it's a pretty cool looking shot of a lizard, but what strikes me about it is that appears to have sort of a blue kind of purplish color cast to it, but I of course want to verify that by taking a look at my scopes. So I'm going to open up the Waveform by pressing W on the keyboard and I'm also going to open up the Vectorscope by pressing V.

Making color corrections

Earlier in this chapter we took a look at making contrast corrections to shots here inside of Adobes SpeedGrade. Well, in this movie I want to talk about the cousin of the contrast correction and that is of course is the color correction. And if you're following along with the exercise files be sure to open up this Timeline called 03_03_colorcorrections. Now let's go ahead and take a look at this first shot in the Timeline and it's a pretty cool looking shot of a lizard, but what strikes me about it is that appears to have sort of a blue kind of purplish color cast to it, but I of course want to verify that by taking a look at my scopes. So I'm going to open up the Waveform by pressing W on the keyboard and I'm also going to open up the Vectorscope by pressing V.

Let's start up by taking a look at the Waveform. Over here I have traced for the three primary channels; red, green and blue, and if you notice this portion of trace on all three channels, right here on the blue channel, it appears to be elevated over the green and red traces indicating that I have sort of a blue, kind of purplish color cast to the shot. And if I take a look at the Vectorscope, you'll notice that I have a large portion of trace, this part right here, pointed out towards the blue area of the scope. Both of these things combined verify what my eyes are telling me, that I have sort of a blue kind of purplish color cast to the shot. So of course I want to go ahead and neutralize this color cast and the way I'm going to do that is by coming down to Look tab here and then to the Overall tab.

In just a moment, we'll talk about using the three different color wheels right here, in the middle of the Overall tab. But for right now, I want to show you how we can make a color correction by using the sliders here at the top of the Overall tab. But before you make a color correction, it's always a good idea to make a contrast or exposure correction first. As you adjust contrast, you potentially change where in the tonal range a color cast is occurring. So it's always a good idea to first make a contrast or exposure correction before making a color correction. So for this shot, the way I'm going to make the exposure or contrast correction is by using a slider right here called Contrast, and I'm going to drag to the right just a little bit just to increase the contrast and sort of deepen up the blacks in the shot.

Something like that works just fine, maybe back off just a touch. Okay, that's working pretty well. Now to neutralize the color cast, I'm going to start here with the Temperature slider, and I'm going to drag to the right over towards to the orange part of the slider, and remember, you can always hold down the Shift key on your keyboard while you drag to change your parameter faster. So I'm going to drag up to a value of 22, maybe 21. Yeah, that's looking pretty good. And then using the Hue control right here, I'm going to drag to the left to add a little bit of green back into the shot, maybe a value of around .5, .6 or so. That's looking pretty good.

Now up here on the trace you'll notice that the red, green and blue channels, especially this clump of trace right here in the middle are all in relative balance with each other, indicating that I've neutralized a large portion of that sort of blue, sort of purplish color cast. Now as you are color correcting, just keep in mind, in the real world there is no such thing as a perfectly neutral image. You'll notice the peak of the red trace is a little elevated over the green and blue traces right here. That's okay. The shot looks much better. And to show you the difference between the original shot and the corrected shot, I'm going to go ahead and press 0 key on the keyboard number pad.

So here's the original shot, and then the corrected shot; the original shot and then the corrected shot, and I like the corrected shot much better because it doesn't have sort of that blue purplish color cast. Okay, so now that we fixed the first shot in this Timeline, let's go ahead and navigate down to the second shot and this is also a cool shot of a lizard, but you'll notice that it has an obvious purple color cast to it. Over here on Waverform, notice that the blue trace is elevated over the red and green traces and that the red trace is elevated over the green trace. Both of these factors combined indicate that I have a purple color cast in the shot. Also if you take a look at the Vectorscope, you'll notice that most of the trace is pointed up here in the red sort of purple area, once again, indicating that the shot has an obvious purple color cast.

So of course, we want to go ahead and neutralize this purple color cast, and the way we are going to do that is by coming down to the Look tab and then to the Overall tab. But instead of using the sliders here at the top of the Overall tab, we are going to use the three primary color balance controls right here. Now of course, before you actually make a color correction, it's a good idea to make contrast corrections first. So I'm just going to make an ever so slight contrast correction by coming in here to my to Gamma or Midtone control, dragging up just like that. Okay, so that looking pretty good and now I'm ready to make the color correction. The thing you need to know is that to neutralize a color cast you need to add in color from the opposite side of the color wheel.

And fortunately SpeedGrade has a great way to visualize this. If you take a look at the color balance controls right here, you'll notice that if you had a purple color cast, right here on the color wheel, you need to add in green or sort of yellow from this side of the wheel to neutralize that color cast. So on this shot, I'm going to go ahead and start in the Midtones or Gamma control, and why am I doing that? Well, because most of the imbalance is happening here in sort of the middle part of the traces. So let me go ahead and add in a little bit yellow-green by dragging here on my Gamma or Midtone control, something like that, and I'm trying to get the traces on the Waveform to be relatively equal. Something like that is working.

Next let's come over to the Gain control and repeat that process by dragging out towards the yellow-green part of the color wheel, something like that is working pretty well. And if you take a look at the Waveform, you'll now notice that all three traces are in relative alignment with one another. And as I mentioned, in the real world there's no such thing as a perfectly neutral image. And while you are trying to get the traces to be relatively equal, you need to use your eyes and actually look at the image and adjust your corrections to taste. Okay, so now that we've made the correction, let's go ahead and toggle the grade on and off by using the 0 key on the keyboard number pad. So here's the original shot and then the corrected shot; the original shot and then the corrected shot.

And I think you'll agree that the corrected shot is a whole lot more neutral and we've eliminated that purple color cast. Finally, the last thing that I want to share with you about making color corrections inside of Adobes SpeedGrade is that you have a whole another level of granular control to making color corrections. And what I mean is that so far we've been making color corrections, as well as contrast corrections here on the Overall tab of the Look tab. But you also have the Shadows, Midtones and Highlights tabs, and these three tabs for the different parts of the tonal range give you curve like control over making very subtle adjustments to those parts of the tonal range, and what I mean, for example, here on the Highlights tab is that we have Low-Highlights, Mid-Highlights and High-Highlights.

On the Midtones tab, Low-Midtones, Mid-Midtones and High-Midtones. And I think you get the idea on the Shadows tab. Low-Shadows, Mid-Shadows and High-Shadows. If I come back over here to the Highlights tab, I can make a correction that is very subtle and only targets a very small portion of just the highlights. So I've noticed here on this image that I still have a little bit of a purple color cast here in the Highlights. And what I'm going to do is come into the Midtones Highlights control, this guy right here or the Gamma control, and drag over towards yellow-green, ever so subtly, just to eliminate even more of that purple color cast. Okay, that's looking pretty good to me.

Okay, so there are the essentials of making color corrections inside of Adobe SpeedGrade, and there are few different ways that you can make color corrections. You can use the sliders on the Overall tab, as we did, you can use the Color Balance controls, but for even more granular control you can come into the three tabs for the different parts of the tonal range and make curve like corrections when you need to eliminate very subtle color casts.

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Up and Running with SpeedGrade

29 video lessons · 7634 viewers

Robbie Carman
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