One of the main elements of the Color Correction effect and Color Correction workspace in Apple Final Cut Pro X is color wheels. How is this similar to three-way color correctors you have seen? In this video, author Nick Harauz walks you through how to use the color wheels to affect your footage in Final Cut Pro X.
- If you've come from Final Cut Pro 7 or another NLE you're going to feel right at home with Color Wheels. In this movie we're going to take a look at how we can apply them, how to use them, and the differences compared to a traditional three-way color corrector. So here I am in my Chapter 1.6 project, I've double-clicked that from my Projects events in the Chapter 1 folder to open it in the timeline. I want to take a look at the Color Wheels effect. And there are a few ways that we can access it. In the last movie we saw that we could press with a clip selected by pressing c to select a clip and then cmd + 6 to go to the color inspector.
From here we could actually add a Color Wheels adjustment. You should also note that this same effect can be added by simply going to your Effect browser, going under the Color effect category and you'll notice that if I scroll down the Color Wheels effect shows up and I can simply drag and drop that to a clip. The color inspector updates right away. So right now I'm looking at my Color Wheels and there happen to be four. So notice that we have four ways to make adjustments.
Our Master, our Shadows, our Highlights, and our Midtones. And those affect different regions or brightness regions of our image. The Master actually affects the overall image and we'll see the adjustment it makes when we bring up our scopes in a second. Before we do that note that there's a few different layouts I can have here with my Color Wheels. To see this better I'm going to close down my event browser and first of all over here at the side with the Color Wheels selected I'm going to scroll to the top and change my View from All Wheels to Single Wheels.
Now we can see here as a pane-based system we can select each of the individual wheels, the Master, the Shadows, the Midtones, and the Highlights. To get an even better view of this in a different display, if you drag here to the left eventually your scopes will be laid out from left to right rather than as a All Wheels list kind of from top to bottom. So I really like this layout, which is why I wanted to show it to you. As you can see, you need to basically make sure that your display is only showing your viewer and your inspector here at the top.
So let's make an adjustment with the Color Wheels to get a sense for how it works and how our scopes respond. If I press cmd + 7 notice that that is going to bring up my video scopes. With my video scopes showing the first thing I want to do is be able to keep sure the view is set to Monochrome. What we're going to take a look at is our Luma waveform. Again, this was a way that we could make a contrast adjustment on our image. So to make contrast adjustments or adjust just the brightness values of our image those are these little sliders here to the right.
Notice what happens to my scope if I make a Master adjustment. The overall scope moves uniformly. At any point in time if you double-click the triangle that you've just moved it's going to reset it back to zero. But here we can see the Master essentially takes the entire scope, again, and moves it uniformly. So you can basically brighten your overall image, no problem. Just going to double-click again to reset that. Let's see what happens if I make an adjustment here in the Shadows.
I'm just going to drag here to the right. Notice how the entire waveform is not moving uniformly. In fact, what's happening is more of the bottom portions of the waveform are being affected. Again, we're looking at this image as something from left to right. I will just actually drag this down close to the zero line. Now notice what happens with the Midtones. I want to drag here. Again, not a uniform adjustment.
We can see that it's definitely affecting our shadow region, as well as our brightness region. But just something to keep in mind, it's not uniform like the Master control. Finally, I'll add to my Highlights and we'll just do the exact same thing, and there we have an exposure-based adjustment. Usually what I use any of the following tools, especially with exposure corrections, it's a push and pull process. I'll make one adjustment, then I'll make another adjustment in a different region, then I'll have to go back to the original adjustment, because it's affected the previous one.
And there's nothing wrong with that, just something to keep in mind as you work through your color correction process. Now what we've done here with our Color Wheels is usually, again, the first stage in the color correction process. And that is to essentially expand contrast in the image. Some cases you might want to take it away. Moving on, we have the insides of each of these Color Wheels, which is how we adjust color in the various regions.
If I move over right now to my RGB Parade we can see our image, but let's make sure that we turn off the Monochrome display and there's my waveform there. And I'm just going to actually drag it here to the side, so we can get a better view. Here I am in my Master pane and I'm just going to show you what happens to these scopes when I drag the Master wheel in the center towards blue. Number one, notice the color changes here on the left hand side showing you what color you're dragging towards.
If I double-click, of course it resets. But the Master control, as you can see, affects all those scopes uniformly. Moving onto the Shadows pane. Let's do the exact same thing. I'm going to actually move it away from blue. Notice it's moving towards orange and the effect it has on your red and your green scopes. And notice the effect that happens when I kind of drag it towards blue on those scopes. I'll double-click to reset.
Heading to the Midtones pane. Notice the effect it has on your scope. Compare that to the Master slider and what parts of the scope are being affected. Finally I'm going to move over to the Highlights pane and just look at the upper portions of your video scope and how that's being affected. Again, the color that you're dragging towards is going to show up here on the left hand side. If I press double-click that's going to reset. Lastly, if I move on over here to the Vector Scope where we can see the overall saturation in the image we're going to head to the Master pane and over here on the left hand side notice the effect it has on the saturation of your image.
This is the Master pane. Double-click to reset. Head to the Shadow pane. Now what I would recommend for here to see the effect it's having on the shadows is to actually bring up another scope. If you head to the View menu and actually go to a two up display we can go over here and make this an RGB Parade. And here you can get a sense for the saturation being expanded in the image, but then what pixels or what parts of the image it's actually affecting.
Compare that to the Midtones. Double-click to reset. Compare that to the Highlights. Just to show you the last part of this pane, in fact, what I'm going to do is actually move over to the next clip. That has no color correct effect and we can see that when I select it. So let's add a Color Wheels effect. Here while we've been predominately working with each of these individual panes and this lovely wheel here in the center, draw your attention to the bottom part of this where we can also adjust the Temperature of the image, in this case I'll use the hooked arrows to reset the value.
Our Tint of the image. Hooked arrows to reset. And the Hue. And the effect it has on the image in place. The same hooked arrows are on the bottom right of each of the wheels. Keep in mind we can always click on here to turn the effect on and off. And lastly, if we head to our video inspector we can come here to the Color Wheels and get rid of that effect altogether. And there you have it, working with Color Wheels in a nutshell.
Note: This version covers the October 2018 update to Final Cut Pro X, including new features such as the comparison view, auditions, compound clips, Photoshop LUTs, exporting to Resolve, and more.
- Using and customizing a color correction workspace
- Making basic corrections
- Previewing adjustments with auditions
- Fixing white balance
- Color matching shots
- Adjusting curves
- Creating a secondary color selection
- Combining shape and color masks
- Applying creative looks with color correction presets
- Creating lookup tables (LUTs) in Photoshop
- Applying filmic looks and effects
- Working with HDR video