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Understanding the 3-Way controls: Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights

From: Up and Running with SpeedGrade CC

Video: Understanding the 3-Way controls: Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights

Most color correction apps and most nonlinear editors have some sort of three way color correction interface. What they generally don't have are four sets of those interfaces. As we have here in SpeedGrade CC. So I like calling SpeedGrade CC's color correction interface a twelve way color corrector. Not only do we have an offset gamma gain for overall, we've got those exact same set of controls for shadows, mid tones and highlights. But the first thing that will confuse most people is, well.

Understanding the 3-Way controls: Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights

Most color correction apps and most nonlinear editors have some sort of three way color correction interface. What they generally don't have are four sets of those interfaces. As we have here in SpeedGrade CC. So I like calling SpeedGrade CC's color correction interface a twelve way color corrector. Not only do we have an offset gamma gain for overall, we've got those exact same set of controls for shadows, mid tones and highlights. But the first thing that will confuse most people is, well.

What part of the image when I look at it is considered a shadow, a mid-tone, or a highlight? Well, the developers at SpeedGrade have thought about that problem and they've given you a solution. So if I'm over here in the Overall tab, notice that when I click on any of these other tonal ranges, we'll start with Shadows, a new menu pops out here. It's the Grayout menu. And it's designed to show you precisely, what does SpeedGrade consider to be in the range of shadow controls? I click on this pull down menu, I've got three options.

Let's start with color gray. And color gray is just showing me a color image against a gray background. Whatever I see in here as being in color Is what will be affected by, in this case, the shadows tonal range. I can click on Mid tones. And now that's what's in color there is being affected by the mid tones controls. And when I click on highlights, what's being shown in here is what will be affected by the highlights controls which (LAUGH) in this image is not very much at all.

And if I'm finding that this color gray doesn't really work for me. I can use this little arrow and move it down to make it brighter and move up the numbers to make it darker. And I'll take a quick look at some of these options. I've got color against black, so it's a pure black background. Let's punch up midtones to see it better. And then, I've also got white against black. Now, whatever is white is what will be affected by in this case these Mid tone controls. And as I get further and further away from white as these are kind of grey in here, those will have some impact on the midtones but not quite as much.

And then as I get to black, this is showing me that this part of the image will be completely ignored by these midtone controls. Let me jump back down into shadows and there you go. You can see what SpeedGrade considers to be in the shadows tonal range. And of course now I can come up when I'm done looking at that click none to hide it. I've also got some keyboard shortcuts that makes it a lot easier to use. So I press Ctrl+G, that puts me into my color against gray. If I press Option+G on a Mac or Alt+G on a PC, that puts me into my color against black.

And if I combine those two keys, Ctrl + Alt or Ctrl + Option G, that puts me into my black and white mode. And now to get out of this grey out mode completely, I add the Shift+Option or Shift+Alt+G and that goes away. And very quickly if you use these keyboard commands and you will get used to them. And they will be very, very helpful as you try to understand which tonal control you want to reach for. Depending on which feature in the image you most want to have the most effect upon.

And now that we've determined what is controlled by each of these tonal ranges, the question is, well what do each of these controls do within those tonal ranges? And for a clear demonstration of that, let's Cmd left arrow key Back to the first shot here, and this is our grayscale ramp once again. And we are in our shadows. So if we were to press Ctrl or Option+G, it's showing what it considers to be in the shadows. So, this part of the image is what's going to be manipulated by these controls down here.

I'm going to go ahead and turn off that grayout mode. Now let's go to the Gain control and we're going to kick up this gain and look at what happens on the scope here. You see that delineation, that 50% mark. It's affecting all the pixels below that, but mostly on the upper part of the shadow range. If I turn that off and go to the gamma, notice the effect that's happening now. Now it's having less of an effect on the upper part of the shadows and much more of an effect on the bottom part of the shadows. And now if I come to my Offset control, let's lift that up.

And look at that, it's having a huge effect on the entire shadow range. Let's go to the other extreme, let's check out the Highlight control. I'll come up to this gain control, kick it up. And you can see there's a bend happening in here at around the 50% mark. If I come up to the Gamma control, yeah it's having a much bigger effect on the lower part of the highlights and then if I select the Offset control here. It's having a pretty big effect on the entire range here. Look at that pivot right around that 50 IRE point.

Alright, so your challenge now is to pull up a gray scale and explore all of these tonal controls within all of these tonal ranges. So that you really get to be intimately familiar with how these different controls target different parts of your image. And this will help you become very fast and help you kind of inherit the moniker of SpeedGrade. Right, it's going to let you, allow you to make very targeted corrections very, very quickly. The time you invest in understanding this now will pay off in spades as you begin working in real-life projects.

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This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with SpeedGrade CC
Up and Running with SpeedGrade CC

55 video lessons · 9190 viewers

Patrick Inhofer
Author

 
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  1. 30m 23s
    1. Welcome
      3m 40s
    2. Where does SpeedGrade fit in a post-production workflow?
      5m 7s
    3. Exploring additional equipment
      5m 28s
    4. Using the exercise files
      9m 7s
    5. What's new in 7.1
      4m 57s
    6. What's new in 7.2
      2m 4s
  2. 46m 7s
    1. Interface overview
      7m 7s
    2. Navigating to media in the Media Browser
      4m 58s
    3. Direct Link vs. Native
      5m 39s
    4. Direct Link on the Mac
      2m 54s
    5. Manipulating the viewer
      5m 44s
    6. Manipulating the Timeline
      5m 3s
    7. Using analysis tools to evaluate contrast and exposure
      6m 42s
    8. Using analysis to evaluate color
      8m 0s
  3. 23m 14s
    1. Importing clips directly into SpeedGrade
      4m 42s
    2. Using automatic scene detection
      5m 53s
    3. Sending a sequence from Premiere Pro to SpeedGrade
      6m 6s
    4. Using an edit decision list (EDL) to conform a project
      6m 33s
  4. 35m 30s
    1. Colorist lingo: What is a primary correction?
      4m 11s
    2. Understanding the 3-Way controls: Contrast
      4m 59s
    3. Understanding the 3-Way controls: Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights
      5m 26s
    4. Understanding the 3-Way controls: Hue and Saturation
      5m 16s
    5. Using the slider controls
      6m 39s
    6. Adding, deleting, and working with primary layers
      8m 59s
  5. 17m 9s
    1. Making initial contrast and color adjustments
      6m 59s
    2. Balancing your shots by removing color casts
      6m 6s
    3. Grading in passes
      4m 4s
  6. 48m 23s
    1. Colorist lingo: What is a secondary correction?
      2m 9s
    2. Colorist lingo: The vignette
      1m 42s
    3. Using masks
      9m 43s
    4. Mask linking
      5m 41s
    5. Maks and layer linking
      2m 30s
    6. Grading layers and grading clips
      5m 29s
    7. Tracking masks and using the keyframing controls
      8m 15s
    8. Understanding the secondary layer
      8m 16s
    9. Pulling HSL keys and limiting with masks
      4m 38s
  7. 11m 25s
    1. Tracking a face
      5m 25s
    2. Keying and grading skies
      4m 18s
    3. Using a mask with a sky correction
      1m 42s
  8. 27m 10s
    1. Copying corrections from one shot to another
      4m 59s
    2. Using the Snapshot Browser
      7m 19s
    3. Using the Continuity Checker
      5m 47s
    4. Using the Shot Matcher
      4m 14s
    5. Saving and recalling grades
      4m 51s
  9. 14m 8s
    1. Understanding the Look layer
      7m 55s
    2. Saving and applying looks using the Look Manager and Look presets
      6m 13s
  10. 17m 8s
    1. Colorist lingo: RAW, LOG, and look-up tables (LUTs)
      5m 5s
    2. Controls for RAW footage
      5m 46s
    3. Understanding LOG (flat) footage and LUTs
      6m 17s
  11. 19m 40s
    1. Setting up a render
      6m 42s
    2. Importing rendered media back in Premiere Pro
      2m 40s
    3. Sharing looks between SpeedGrade and Premiere Pro
      5m 35s
    4. Direct Link to Premiere Pro
      4m 43s
  12. 4m 36s
    1. Additional resources
      2m 36s
    2. Goodbye
      2m 0s

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