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Using a key to make secondary corrections

From: Up and Running with SpeedGrade

Video: Using a key to make secondary corrections

In this movie, I want to begin our exploration of secondary color inside of Adobe SpeedGrade by talking about using keys. Keys lets you isolate a portion of the image based on the HSL, Hue/Saturation and Lightness values for further refinement and correction, and making a secondary color correction using a key inside of Adobe SpeedGrade is really straightforward and pretty easy. Let's begin by taking a look at the shot. This is pretty cool looking shot of a lizard, but there's one things that's distracting me about the shot, and that's this green leafy background right here. I think it's just a touch too saturated. So what I want to do is use a key to isolate this leafy background and then de-saturate it just a touch so it's not as distracting.

Using a key to make secondary corrections

In this movie, I want to begin our exploration of secondary color inside of Adobe SpeedGrade by talking about using keys. Keys lets you isolate a portion of the image based on the HSL, Hue/Saturation and Lightness values for further refinement and correction, and making a secondary color correction using a key inside of Adobe SpeedGrade is really straightforward and pretty easy. Let's begin by taking a look at the shot. This is pretty cool looking shot of a lizard, but there's one things that's distracting me about the shot, and that's this green leafy background right here. I think it's just a touch too saturated. So what I want to do is use a key to isolate this leafy background and then de-saturate it just a touch so it's not as distracting.

Well, let's come down to our Layers palette down here and you can see that I actually already have a primary correction on this shot. And I use this primary correction to do a slight contrast adjustment on the shot. If I use the decimal key on my keyboard number pad, I can toggle that correction on and off, so there's before and there's after; before and after, and you can see it's just a simple contrast correction. But this is actually a really big point; you want to make sure that you perform primary corrections before secondary corrections. Why? Well, as you perform primary corrections, you potentially change where in the tonal range an object that you're trying to isolate exists.

So it's always a good idea to perform a primary correction before a secondary correction. Okay, so now that we've seen that we have a primary correction on the shot, let's come back down to the Layers palette here and click on this button right here, the +S button, and that's going to add a new secondary layer to this shot. And in Adobe SpeedGrade, the main purpose of a secondary layer is for a key. Over here in the main part of the window, I have my controls for this key, but we are not seeing all of them right now, so let me grab this little handle and drag up so we see everything. And then, because I'm on a Mac, I'm going to go ahead and use the keyboard shortcut Command+Home to snap the image back into the viewable area, up here in the monitor.

If you are on a PC that keyboard shortcut would be Ctrl+Home key. Down here in the main part of the Look tab with my secondary layer selected, the most noticeable thing that you'll probable see is this area right here, and these are my Hue, Lightness and Saturation controls. And let's start at the very top. Using these buttons right here, I can isolate different vectors or different preset colors. So for example, red, yellow and green. Below these Presets, or below these Vectors, I have my individual Hue, Lightness and Saturation qualifiers, and I can enable and disable each one by simply using this little check box right there.

On each qualifier, you'll notice a scale, one right there, one right there and one right there. Let's start out with the Hue scale. The Hue scale just simply shows me the color spectrum, wrapping around from red to red. The Lightness scale shows me black on the left and white on the right, and then the Saturation scale shows me desaturated on the left and heavily or fully saturated on the right. Now each qualifier, when you make a selection can have a little block, like this one for hue. This block determines the range of the selection that you've made on that particular qualifier.

And you can adjust the range by using this top little triangle here, by dragging out or dragging in to adjust the range. Once you've settled on a range, you can use the bottom of the triangle here to drag out to soften that selection or to soften that range. Below the qualifiers, you'll find a plus eyedropper and a minus eyedropper. The plus eyedropper lets you add to your selection and the minus eyedropper, of course, let's you subtract from your selection. Using the X key here, you can reset your selection. And then this little button right here, that's a plus and minus button, allows you to invert the selection that you've made.

Normally, when you make a selection and then make a correction based on that selection, you're affecting what you've selected. However, if you click this button you can correct the inverse of your selection, which is useful in certain circumstances. Then over here in the main part of the window I have all my color correction controls. Things like Input Saturation, Contrast, Temperature, and so on. I also have controls for Offset and Gain. All right, so let's go ahead and actually make a selection, and the way I'm going to do that is by clicking the plus eyedropper right here and then coming up to the image and clicking and dragging on the green leafy background there.

Now it looks like nothing happened, but something actually did. Notice here in my Hue, Lightness and Saturation qualifiers, I've actually made a selection. These different ranges right here, but I'm not actually seeing that selection at the moment. To see the selection, I need to come over to this menu right here, labeled Gray-out and the default option is None, meaning that I'm not going to actually see my selection. But I have three different ways of viewing my selection in this menu. I can view the selection as Color/Gray background. I can view the selection as Color/Black background, and I can also view the selection in a more traditional matte view as White/Black background.

Let's start out with a Color/Gray background. So here's my initial selection, what's in color right here, and then my background here which is gray, it's stuff that they don't have selected in the shot. The same idea with the Color/Black background. What's in color is what I've selected and what's in black is stuff that I haven't selected. And then, finally, for a more traditional sort of matte view, you have the White on Black view, again it's the same idea. What's white is what you have selected, and what's black is not selected. It will not take part in the secondary correction. I actually like the Color/Gray view, but which option you choose is totally up to you.

So now that I've made a selection, let's go ahead and refine it just a touch so we get a little bit of a better selection. I'm going to start out with my Hue qualifier here and widen out the Hue just a touch; something like that works, and then I'm going to do the same thing with my Lightness control. Yeah, I'm liking that, and then finally, I'll do the same thing with my Saturation control. I'll also soften up the Saturation control just a touch, and go back and soften the Lightness qualifier or the Lightness control, just a touch as well.

Okay, one last thing that we need to do before actually making the correction, and that's to use these two controls right here for Blur and Denoise. It's always a good idea to blur and denoise your selection, so that you don't get any chattering or ringing on the edges, or any other artifacts that might be present when you make a selection. So what I'm going to do is drag up the Blur control here, and remember, you can always hold down the Shift key to change the value of a slider, a little bit faster here inside of Adobe SpeedGrade. So I'm going to drag up until I'm around a value of 2 or so, yeah that's working, and then I'm also going to denoise the selection just a touch, maybe a value of around .5, .55, somewhere in there.

All right, that's looking good and then I'm going to come back to the Gray-out menu here, and change this back to None. So I've made a selection and I'm pretty happy with it, but now it's time to actually make the correction. So I'm going to come into my final Saturation control right here, this guy, and drag down, again, holding the Shift key, so I can drag a little faster and something like that is working pretty well for me. Now with the secondary layer selected over here in the Layers palette, once again I'm going to use the decimal or period key on the number pad on my keyboard and toggle that on and off.

So there's the original and then the corrected shot; original and corrected shot. And you can see that the leafy background here is less distracting. I actually think I want to touch too far, so I'll add a little more saturation back in and that's looking pretty good. So there you have it, performing a secondary correction by using a key inside of Adobe SpeedGrade. Keys are a very versatile way of making secondary corrections. Although, we used the key in this movie to isolate a background element so we could reduce its saturation, keys can be used for a wide variety of circumstances; things like skies, adjusting skin tone, and so on.

I think the more that you practice using the key, instead of Adobe SpeedGrade, the more usage you'll find for them in your own projects.

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Up and Running with SpeedGrade

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