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Using custom look layers

From: Up and Running with SpeedGrade

Video: Using custom look layers

In this movie, I want to talk about a very unique feature inside of Adobe SpeedGrade called custom look layers. And in this chapter, we're talking about primary corrections, and in the next chapter, we'll talk about secondary corrections. But I like to think of custom look layers as a hybrid correction motivated towards a primary correction, and that it allows you to quickly create a look without having to do a lot of manual labor. Now at first glance, a custom look layer might appear as just a way to add an effect to a shot, and that's true, but custom look layers also serve more utilitarian purposes such as the ability to apply a LUT to a shot, which we'll talk about later in this chapter, as well as do things like legalize footage.

Using custom look layers

In this movie, I want to talk about a very unique feature inside of Adobe SpeedGrade called custom look layers. And in this chapter, we're talking about primary corrections, and in the next chapter, we'll talk about secondary corrections. But I like to think of custom look layers as a hybrid correction motivated towards a primary correction, and that it allows you to quickly create a look without having to do a lot of manual labor. Now at first glance, a custom look layer might appear as just a way to add an effect to a shot, and that's true, but custom look layers also serve more utilitarian purposes such as the ability to apply a LUT to a shot, which we'll talk about later in this chapter, as well as do things like legalize footage.

For now, let's start off talking about how to actually apply a custom look layer. And on this shot in the Timeline called 03_04_ looklayers, I've already gone ahead and applied a basic primary correction to the shot. Essentially, what I did was just tweaked the contrast ever so slightly with this primary layer right over here in my layer stack. Now how you actually add a custom look layer is very easy. Simply come down to the bottom of the layer stack, and click on this plus button right here. And when you do that, you get a whole long list of different custom looks that you can apply to the shot. Now some of these things are more effect- based like a Bleach Bypass look, Day-for-Night, Emboss, and so on.

But as I mentioned, some of these are more utilitarian, like the ability to apply a lookup table or to do things like legalize footage. I'll show you how to legalize a shot with a custom look layer a little bit later in this movie. For right now, what I want to go ahead and do is just apply this effect right here called fxBloom. On this shot, I like sort of the highlights that are happening here on the back of the lizard's head, but I really want to blow them out, and give them sort of a nice glow. So by applying the fxBloom custom look layer, I can do that. So I'll come over here to the Intensity control, and drag up quite a bit, and still those highlights are getting kind of blown out and nice and glowy. Something like that is working.

I might adjust the Radius ever so slightly, something like that. And then I'm going to go ahead and adjust the Threshold. Okay, and I am really liking the look of this shot. So I want to go ahead and toggle off the fxBloom custom look layer by using the decimal key on my keyboard number pad. So here's the shot without the Bloom, and then with the Bloom; before and then after. I am really liking the blown out sort of glowy highlights, but I think I may have a problem. Let me go ahead and press the W key on my keyboard to open up the Waveform. And then here on the Waveform, notice this trace that's above 100%, well in most broadcast workflows, trace that's above 100% or below 0% is illegal for broadcast.

So what I actually want to do is come back down here to the layer stack, and once again click the plus button to add a new custom look layer. And this time, I'm going to choose this one right here, fxLegalizeNTSC. I'm choosing NTSC because it matches my footage. And when I apply that custom look layer, now on the Waveform, you'll notice that the trace is once again within or right at 100% indicating that it's now legal for broadcast. Now here's the thing though. As you go ahead and apply primary and secondary corrections as well as custom look layers, you might have shots that are illegal for broadcast, and it would be a giant pain to have to legalize each one by itself.

So I want to show you a better way of applying a Legalize custom look layer. And this is one of my favorite uses of custom look layers. So what I'm going to go ahead and do is come back down here to layer stack, and then delete the fxLegalize custom look layer off of the shot. Then, what I'm going to do is come over to the Timeline tab, and then click on the Setup tab. And what I'm going to do is click on the Grading icon right here, and drag it up to the top of the Timeline here, and let go. So now, I have a new Grading layer that I've applied to this Timeline. Let me go ahead and select that Grading layer, come back over to Look tab, and go ahead, and once again click the Plus button here to add a new custom look layer, and then choose fxLegalizeNTSC.

I have the same result over here on the Waveform. The advantage of this workflow is that if you apply a Grading layer to your entire Timeline, you can legalize the entire Timeline in one fell swoop with a Legalize custom look layer. I'll often do this right at the start of a project. I'll add a new Grading layer, apply the Legalize custom look layer, so that way when I'm actually grading and correcting my shots, I'm working within the confines of a legalized image. Okay, so that's a little bit more about applying custom look layers.

Now in this movie, we only applied two effects: the fxBloom effect, and then the Legalize effect. But, if you come back down to the layer stack, and click on the Plus button to add a custom look layer, just keep in mind that there are a ton of different custom look layers that you can apply to your shots depending on what you're trying to do and how you are trying to stylize your footage.

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Up and Running with SpeedGrade

29 video lessons · 7637 viewers

Robbie Carman
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