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Using masks to make secondary corrections

From: Up and Running with SpeedGrade

Video: Using masks to make secondary corrections

Earlier in this chapter, we took a look at making a secondary correction by using a key. In this movie, I want to show you another way that you can make a secondary correction here in Adobe SpeedGrade, and that's by using a mask. A mask allows you to isolate an object or something else onscreen by using a geometric shape. And once you've isolated it, you can then go back and refine the contrast and color within that shape. So let's begin here by playing back this clip and seeing what we got. All right, this is a pretty straight forward shot, guy working on his guitar. But the one thing I notice is that his face over here, kind of gets lost in the shadow of this dark room.

Using masks to make secondary corrections

Earlier in this chapter, we took a look at making a secondary correction by using a key. In this movie, I want to show you another way that you can make a secondary correction here in Adobe SpeedGrade, and that's by using a mask. A mask allows you to isolate an object or something else onscreen by using a geometric shape. And once you've isolated it, you can then go back and refine the contrast and color within that shape. So let's begin here by playing back this clip and seeing what we got. All right, this is a pretty straight forward shot, guy working on his guitar. But the one thing I notice is that his face over here, kind of gets lost in the shadow of this dark room.

Now I should mention that I've actually already gone ahead and performed the primary correction on this shot, that is a correction that affects the entire image. And what I did was I deepen the blacks and I neutralized a little bit of yellow colorcast. And I did that with this Primary layer right here. On my keyboard, let me use the number pad and then use the Decimal or Period key to toggle this correction on and off. There's the original shot and there's my corrected shot. So you can see I cooled it off and darken it up quite a bit. After I made that correction though, the subject's face, as I mentioned, kind of got lost in shadow.

So I want to fix that, but I don't want to brighten up this stuff over here. I like the look of this shot. I just want to lighten up the area around his face. And the way that I'm going to do that is by using a mask. Okay, let's come down to our layers here and then I'm going to click on this +P button right here to add a new Primary layer. Now you might be thinking to yourself, hold on a second Rob. I thought we were doing a secondary correction. We are, but remember, secondary layers inside of SpeedGrade are really just for keys. What we're going to do is tie a mask into this Primary layer. Okay, so now that I've added a new Primary layer, let me click over here to the Mask tab.

And the Mask tab is where I find all my controls for creating masks. Now you can create very simple masks or very complex masks, and in this movie, we're going to create a pretty simple one by using a preset, these guys right here. We can create a circle mask, a square mask, or a traditional edge vignetting type mask, and again these are presets. But please keep in mind that you can draw your own masks with Bezier controls and all that kind of stuff to your heart's content, but for this movie, as I mentioned, I just want to do a simple mask around the subject's face. So I'm going to go ahead and click this Preset button right here for a circle mask and when I do, up here in the Monitor you will notice that I have some onscreen controls.

Now this is a really unique feature to Adobe SpeedGrade and that's this guy right here, the Widget. The Widget provides you onscreen and sort of tactile control over adjusting the shape and the size and the softness of the mask, and I really, really, really love the Widget. And you can turn the Widget on and off by using this button right down here in your Mask controls. So how does the Widget actually work? Well, it works in a few different ways. You are just going to have to experiment and play with it. These controls right here allow you to adjust the vertical and horizontal size of the mask.

This sort of semi-grade control right here allows you to adjust the overall size of the mask. This little plus button right here in the middle allows you to move the mask around. These grade controls right here and right here allow you to skew the mask however you want. And then this control right here allows you to rotate the mask, and then finally, this control on the outside of this box, allows you to soften the mask up. So what I want to do is adjust this mask so I can position it around the subject's face and I'm going to do something like this, maybe we'll make it a little bigger, somewhere in that range. That's working pretty good.

I'm going to come in and adjust the skew, just a slight amount something like that's working, maybe make it a little smaller, and then I'll rotate it just a touch. Again, the idea is I'm just trying to get it around the subject's face, and I'll go ahead and add a touch more softness as well. Okay, so I positioned the mask around the subject and I should also be clear that the subject doesn't really move a whole lot throughout this entire shot. Later in this chapter, we'll talk about tracking masks, when you want to have a mask move within an object onscreen. Okay, so we've set up the mask pretty well here.

Now what I'm going to do is come back to my Look tab. Right here in the Primary layer that we just added, what I need to do to make this correction actually work is use these buttons right up here. These buttons allow me to apply my grading layer to the inside or the outside of the mask. The inside is this one right here. It has kind of white opaque background with a sort of black, sort of translucent center, and then if I wanted to affect the outside of the mask, I'd simply click on this guy. And if I didn't want the layer to work with the mask at all, I'd simply click this one right here to turn off the mask for that layer.

But I want to control the inside of the mask here. So coming over to my Overall controls right here on the Look tab, what I'm going to do is use my Gamma controls and adjust the contrast for the inside of that mask. Something like that works just fine, maybe I'll back off just a little bit. And then what I'm going to do is just up the saturation inside of that mask just a touch, so he doesn't look so washed out. Again, I'm going to use the Decimal or Period key on my keyboard to toggle that particular layer that I've selected, this Primary layer right here on and off. Here you go.

So you can see we've lightened him up quite a bit and we can now see him a whole lot better. But one of the ways that I love using masks is to sort of digitally relight a scene. So not only do I want to control the inside correction on this mask, what's happening inside of the shape, but I also want to affect what's going on, on the outside. And the way I'm going to do that is by adding another Primary layer here, and then using the Mask control buttons right here, I'm going to click this guy to affect the outside of the mask. Now that I've selected the outside of the mask, I'm once again going to come into my Gamma controls and just darken that contrast a little bit in the midtones.

That way we're more focused on the subject and his face than what's going on over here. Let me toggle that on and off again by using the Decimal or Period key on the number pad on my keyboard. And you can see that works pretty well. I notice after I made that last correction, I can see a little bit of a heavy edge around the mask, so no problem. I'm simply going to come back to the Mask tab here and I'm going to soften that out even more so we have a nice soft shape, and we don't actually see an edge around where that shape is. Let me go ahead and toggle this entire grade on and off.

Here is the original shot that we started with. It was warm, there is not all that great contrast to it, and then here's the final image; original and then final. So you can see in combination with the primary correction, by using a mask, we were sort of able to digitally relight the scene, to get the light from over on the left-hand side of the screen to more on the subject's face, and now our viewer's eyes will be focused right to the subject. So there you go, using a mask to create a secondary correction inside of Adobe SpeedGrade.

It's pretty straightforward, and this was just a simple example, but in your own projects, I think you'll find that using masks is a great way to perform secondary corrections.

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Up and Running with SpeedGrade

29 video lessons · 7629 viewers

Robbie Carman
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