Learn about grading with Boris effects to improve the aesthetic quality of a shot.
- [Instructor] We spent some time discussing how you can apply color FX to change the current time of day. Now, that's really a stylistic effect. It's not 100% realistic. It'd be more real if you actually shot at sunset or night time. It's a good trick, but the main function of color FX is really color grading. And color grading allows you to change the aesthetic quality of a shot. It could be to match a certain mood or to match a plot point of the story, or even just to match it to surrounding footage.
So it's done quite often. Let's give that a try using some Boris FX. Back to importing some footage, and this time I'll go back to the hostess shot that's in the Chapter Two set of folders also. Import that, and drop that down into a new composition. Now, this is taken from the company library, and this was originally shot to demonstrate color grading. So, in this case, the background is exposed well, it's not over exposed, but the foreground is a bit under-exposed and dim.
It's also very blue. So let's say we want to make this a bit happier, a bit warmer, and also change it so we can see our hostess's face a little bit better. I'm going to start with a new effect in Color and Tone, and this will be the Levels Gamma effect. It says a Gamma slider plus a input and output set of black and white sliders. The inputs and outputs affect the end range you wind up with in terms of colors.
The Gamma controls that contrast function. Let's start with Gamma. If I raise Gamma, everything gets brighter. You can see I have my HUD up right now. I'm going to hide that though. You don't really need it, and I want to see her face. In that case, if I raise the gamma, it gets brighter but I lose contrast. It gets washed out. If I lower Gamma below one, it gets darker with more contrast. I don't really want that. So, let's say I go up to 1.5.
Okay, 1.5. It's definitely brighter in the foreground, but I miss the contrast. So, let's try this. Let's raise the Input Black. If I raise that, what happens is the pixels with values between zero and that slider value are pushed down to zero. Therefore, the blacks return. However, if it's too high, it's a pretty extreme result. Let's say I go to 10. I get contrast back and actually her face looks pretty good.
Now, it might not look good everywhere. In fact, this may reveal some artifacts within the footage. For example, in her jacket, I can see some posterization, some of the compression is revealed because I'm pushing the values between zero and ten down suddenly. Well, I can deal with that another way, but for now, I'm going to leave it at 10 in order to keep her face. Now, there's also the Input White. If I reduce that, then values are pushed upwards towards white. We don't really need that, so I'll return that to the default value of 255.
There's also Output, which works in the opposite fashion. If I raise Output Black, things get more washed out. If I lower Output White, things get darker. So, in this case, just Input Black 10, Input White 255, Gamma 1.5, and basically I haven't touched Output Black or White. Alright, next, let's talk about the Color Balance. In fact, I'm going to grab a Color Balance effect. Color Balance. This allows you to readjust the ratio of red, green, and blue channels to bias a certain channel or shift it towards a particular color.
I'd like to make this more warmish, so I'm going to raise the red, and maybe a little bit more green, and less blue. You can see how it shifts. So, for example, let's say I wind up with 28 red, a little bit more green at five, and a little bit less Blue at negative four. So a bit warmer and a bit happier. Now let's go back to our problem with the posterization in her jacket. What I can do is return to the Pixel Chooser, and remember that each Boris FX has that.
So I can put a Pixel Chooser Mask on just the Levels Gamma, but not use the Pixel Chooser for the Color Balance. So you can mix and match that way, all in one layer. So I go back up to Levels Gamma. I'm going to activate my Pixel Chooser, turn that to on, expand my Pixel Chooser dropdown or roll out, do the same for Mask, and turn on the Shape to something that fits, like a oval.
I'm going to go back and turn on my HUD, grab my Mask box. I can also drag that and move it so it's around her face, and then increase the Feather, so it's nice and soft. So, here's the feather, increase it until the point where I cannot tell where it ends. I'll hide the HUD again, and then zoom in, and I can't really tell where the Gamma starts or stops. What's good is though her jacket is pretty much in tact.
Looks like a good range of colors and any compression artifacts are much more difficult to see. Let's play that back. Alright, so it looks pretty good in motion. So let's stop that for a second and show you before and after. Here's with no effects, dark, gloomy, kind of blue. Here's with the effects on, brighter, warmer, more inviting. So there's an example of doing some color grading for aesthetic reasons using Boris FX, and once again, the very useful Pixel Chooser.
VFX expert Lee Lanier begins by exploring shared Boris Continuum controls, and then shows how to apply stylistic effects. He explains how to work with the PixelChooser and Boris Lights, and discusses how to color grade and warp footage. He also takes you through using the Boris Chroma Key Studio and working with Mocha Pro for motion tracking, as well as how to add particles and work with 3D text.
- Overview of Boris Continuum
- After Effects preferences
- Applying stylistic effects
- Relighting with Boris Lights
- Adjusting colors
- Changing the time of day
- Warping footage
- Keying green screen
- Motion tracking
- Adding particles
- Working with 3D text