Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Using adjustment layers for individual clips, part of Artistic Video with Photoshop (2012).
Inevitably, you'll end up having to color correct some of the images in your sequence. And when you're working in a non-linear environment like this where you're editing pieces to appear back-to-back- to-back, a lot of times, you don't want to make those adjustments until you can see how each individual object fits within the entire piece. So let's look at our project the way it is right here and then we're going to use some Adjustment layers to correct individual clips within our sequence. Now, I've already cached this so you don't have to wait for that.
I'm just going to press the spacebar to play this back and we can check it out. Press the spacebar to stop playback. Aside from the audio issues which we haven't even gotten to yet, there are some level issues that are going on here between each of the individual shots. So if I scrub my playhead just by clicking and dragging, notice we have this kind of dark rainy shot here at the beginning and then it comes right into this really bright train shot.
And so, what I want to do is kind of match these two shots a little more closely. And the easiest way to do that is to make an adjustment to the brightness of this image. Overall, I want the background to kind of have this sort of dark feel. So let's go to our first clip in Video Group 2 and click on it. And notice, the train layer is automatically selected in the Layers panel. In order to apply an adjustment to this one individual clip, we want to use an Adjustment layer. And the way you apply that, just go down to the bottom of the Layers panel and click on this button that looks like a half-filled-in circle.
In here, we can go up to Levels. Now, notice the Properties panels opened up. Now, I'm not going to dive way deep into color correction and brightness adjustment and things like that, there are plenty of titles within the lynda.com library that dive way into color correction. In here, we're just going to go on some of the basics for correcting this individual image. And I really, in particular, want you to understand exactly how these adjustments are applied to this clip within an animated sequence.
So to get started, let's deal with the brightness. If we're looking at the levels here, there are two main areas we want to focus with. This first area here is called the Histogram and this line down here controls the Output Levels. Now, the way the Histogram works, all of the brightness information in the scene is represented in Histogram. On the left-hand side, this controls the darkness in the image. If I click on that little black arrow there and drag, you can see it makes the dark levels darker. And then the right side here deals with highlights.
If I drag it to the left, it makes certain pixels from this part over, brighter. Since there's a lot of information here on the right side, I can tell this image is extraordinarily bright without ever having to look at this image. What we need to do is actually go down here to the Output Levels and click and drag on the brightness slider. If I click on this little white arrow and drag it to the left, notice it's making the brightness not quite as bright. As I make that adjustment here, you can see in the overall Histogram, I've sort of dragged the brightness down to the left.
Now, this appears to be matching a little more closely what I was looking for. If we scrub in the Timeline by clicking on the playhead here, you can see it's not quite as jarring going from one clip to the next. Now, we've got the basics down, but let's pay attention to how this is applied to the layer. If we look in the Layers panel, we have our train Smart Object and our levels adjustment. Now, if we look in the Timeline here and open up Video Group 2, notice there is no other layer to make adjustments to this level over the animation in the Timeline.
That's because this is clipped to the train layer. And the way this works, if we select the Levels Adjustment layer and go up to the Layer pull-down menu, about half way down is this option to release the Clipping Mask. When I click on this, notice it's no longer clipped to the train layer. And if I drag this up out of the video group, you can see I actually have a separate layer for my levels adjustment. It just happens to be trimmed at the exact length of this one clip.
Now, I didn't want to do that so I'm just going to go ahead and move this levels adjustment back down to my train layer right above the train layer. And I'm going to go up under Layer and choose Create Clipping Mask. The way they work, Clipping Masks will automatically clip to the layer below. Now, there's one last thing with how this is applied. Let's go ahead and close the Properties panel just by clicking on the buttons so we can see our image as a whole. If I click and drag on the playhead here, notice the adjustment is beautifully applied over the entire image no matter where the image moves there are no edges to that adjustment or anything like that.
That's because this Mask over here on the right is completely white. Now, this box, I use the term mask, actually allows me to paint in this adjustment. And the way masks work, whatever is white will allow the adjustment to show through the entire layer. And then anything that's black will paint that adjustment out. Now, there's one "gotcha" when it comes to animation. If I paint in this Mask, something funny will happen. So let's go ahead and do that. If you click in this little thumbnail making sure you have the little white corners, that's letting you know that you have the Masks selected, go ahead and select your brush, and make sure you have the default colors set for your color chips, and then click on this arrow to swap the black color to the foreground.
Now, when we click and drag, I'm painting black into the Mask here. Now, if I wanted to brighten up these clouds this is a great way to paint that darker adjustment out of this one section. The only problem with this, when I click and drag on my playhead, notice the adjustment isn't moving with the layer. Here, let me paint a little more clearly here so you can see. As I drag, notice that adjustment is not moving with the layer at all. So the way to get around this if you actually need to paint on the Mask and paint in a specific area of an adjustment is to edit the Smart Object itself.
Now, to do that, here, I'm just going to delete this levels adjustment by dragging it to the trash. With the train layer selected, if we right click on the layer we can say Edit Contents. When we edit the contents, Photoshop is going to give us this menu that basically says if you want to make adjustments to this, you can, just make sure to save it when you're finished. So I'll click OK. Now, notice I have a separate layer that's been opened up here that has my entire image. Now I can make my Levels adjustment.
Here, let's bring the brightness down with my Mask selected. I still have black and my brush selected here, I can paint in the clouds. And now, when I click Save, I can go back into my adjustment correction document. And here, notice I have the bright clouds that have been painted in, but if I scrub, now they're moving with the animation. So as you can see, using Adjustment layers is a great way to actually make corrections to individual clips.
Just remember, when it comes to animation, if you need to paint in certain areas of the adjustment, you want to edit the Smart Object and then Save. That way they'll be edited back in to your original animation.
With this course, existing Photoshop enthusiasts can expand their skills to learn a new discipline while staying in the application they already know and love. Video editors will see how to fix footage issues like lens distortion and chromatic aberration and how to create unique effects with Photoshop filters, brushes, and effects.
- Optimizing Photoshop for video
- Browsing and importing video clips
- Understanding video groups
- Trimming and sliding video
- Applying video transitions
- Using video shortcut keys
- Fixing lens distortion and chromatic aberration
- Creating and animating masks
- Rotoscoping with vector masks
- Stylizing video with filters
- Applying specific color correction with 3D LUTs
- Adding and adjusting keyframes in the timeline
- Creating animated brush strokes
- Animating type
- Exporting video files