Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating and saving custom LUTs, part of After Effects Guru: Advanced Photoshop Techniques.
- One of the things I love about working with Adobe applications is the tight integration between each of the different applications. Now in this video I'm going to show you how we can take all the different looks and styles that we've created in our different Photoshop projects and save them out so we can build our own custom library of preset styles. This way you don't have to ever go back into Photoshop to access those styles. This should definitely help increase your day to day workflow and production, since you won't ever have to jump back into Photoshop.
You can just browse through the presets and load them directly into After Effects. Now if we look at our project, you see I've got my background video layer and I have these two adjustments. I want to keep adding to this to create my own custom style. So to do this I'm going to go down to my adjustment layers and let's add a color lookup table. So I'm going to click on my New Adjustment Layer here and we'll choose Color Lookup. I want to create kind of a vintage look, so let's go to the Abstract section, click on the pull-down, and choose Sepia.
Now this is a little aggressive, so let's actually change the blend mode. I'm going to change it from Normal to Screen, and this way it's just going to give me that nice bright sort of washed out look, which is halfway there but let's keep polishing this. I'm going to go down here, add a new adjustment layer, choose Color Lookup. And this time let's go to the Device Link presets. Click on the pull-down and choose RedBlueYellow. And here now I've got much more of that sort of vintage 70s retro look.
But I want this to only blend in in the dark areas, so I'm going to click on the pull-down and choose Multiply. Now this is definitely starting to look a little bit more like what I was hoping. Now I can back this off just by adjusting the opacity of this individual layer, so let's back that off to about 80%. Now the reason I went through all this is to show you that we can save all these adjustment layers as its own individual lookup table. But what's cool about this is the fact that it'll actually go and save each one of these adjustment layers including their opacity and their blend mode to literally recreate the exact same look.
In a specific instance like this where we've made an adjustment, say here on the vibrance, just to the water with this mask, if you're not sure how you're going to use this adjustment in the future, I suggest filling in that mask completely so you apply that adjustment over the entire image or just getting rid of that adjustment. So let's click here in the mask area for vibrance. And I'm going to make sure that my colors are reset. And I'll just press Option and Delete, or Alt Delete on Windows to fill from the foreground, and that'll give me a nice fill on my mask here.
So now my vibrance is covering the entire image. To save this, what we need to do is actually have a background layer in our Photoshop document. And most of the time when I'm building these lookup tables, if I know I'm going to create a style, I'll go ahead and just create a flattened still image and then add my adjustment layers above there. But many times when I'm working with video like this, I don't necessarily know I want to save the adjustment or the look until I'm further down the pipeline.
So this is my workaround. I'm going to go ahead and click on Curves, hold down Shift and click on my topmost adjustment layer. Now I'll just click on the flyout and choose Duplicate Layers. We can go ahead and choose a new document and click Okay. Now that they're copied into the new document, I can go back to my original Photoshop document here and drag all those adjustment layers to the trash. Then we can go back up to our flyout under Layers and choose Flatten Image.
It's going to ask us to discard the animation, just click Okay. Now that our background's nice and flat we can go back to our untitled document, right click or Control click on any one of those selected layers, and say Duplicate Layers and just duplicate them right back into the Photoshop document. When you click okay, now it's set up to actually save its own lookup table. So to do that, we need to go up under File, Export, Color Lookup Tables.
Now make sure to add a description. So I'm going to highlight this, and I'll call this "Old_School". And definitely add yourself for the copyright. And you can change the Grid Points up to High, that's fine. Under Formats, if you know a specific format you'd like to save, go ahead and choose any of these options. Since I know I want to bring this back into Photoshop, I'm just going to choose 3DL. I know that'll work perfectly well inside of Photoshop and After Effects, et cetera.
So I'll click Okay, and it's going to ask me where to save it. So let's go to our Exercise Files in the Footage folder, and create a brand new folder. In there, I'll save one capital LUT with a little s. And then I'll rename my Save As, and we'll call this "Old_School.lut". Now when I click save, it's gone ahead and saved this out. If you want to see how this looks, I can just turn the visibility off for all of my different adjustment layers and come back down here and add a new adjustment layer.
You guessed it, choose Color Lookup. And here on the pull-down for 3D LUT file, just click on the pull-down and then reselect the name. It'll give us our open options. So we can navigate here to our Desktop under Exercise Files, in the Footage folder, go to your lookup tables and select Old_School. When I click Open, notice it's automatically applied my adjustment and it looks exactly the same as all four of these layers together.
So it copied everything perfectly, including blend modes and all that stuff, perfectly well. Now if you want to know how to load this into After Effects, I'm just going to jump into After Effects here. And notice I've opened my 01_05_Save_LUTs-Alt file. And I'll just select layer one, go up under Effect, and go all the way down to Utility. I have more third-party plugins, so don't panic if you don't have those. When I go to my Utility here, I want to go ahead and say Apply Color LUT.
Now I can click Old_School and click Open, and sure enough it's been applied. When you apply it directly to a layer, it's either on or it's off. But just like in Photoshop, if you actually apply this to an adjustment layer you can then use the blend modes within the layers inside of After Effects just like you could inside of Photoshop. The key is once you've actually built the style inside of Photoshop, just save it out as a lookup table. That way you can load it into any of your favorite applications.
- Retouching video with the Healing Brush
- Color correcting video
- Saving time with preset lookup tables (LUTs)
- Creating custom LUTs
- Preparing still images for 3D camera moves
- Creating 3D animation
- Building environment maps to match graphics in footage
- Creating custom bump maps and textures for 3D models