Join Maxim Jago for an in-depth discussion in this video Adjustment layers, part of Premiere Pro CS6 Effects Workshop.
Adjustment layers were added to Premiere Pro with the release of CS6, and if you're already familiar with using them in Photoshop or in After Effects, it's kind of old news. The workflow is very, very simple, and it just opens up some really wonderful new opportunities to work with effects, it's also extremely efficient. If you want to make a new adjustment layer, you can click on the New Item button, at the bottom of the Project menu, and choose Adjustment Layer. When you choose this option, it's a little bit like making a new title. Premiere Pro is going to take the settings for your current sequence, which the width of 1280 by a height of 720 in this case, and the time base and the pixel aspect ratio, it just fills in these boxes automatically. I'm going to click OK, here and let's call this Look One Adjustment Layer, okay.
In terms of editing, adjustment layers behave in exactly the same way as titles. You can just drag and drop on to the timeline and re-size as much as you want, and position them however you like, and trim them, and so on. And effectively, an adjustment layer is a layer through which you see the layers below. But so we'll you can see here for example, it's transparent, I'm not having any impact on the layers below it. But any effects that you apply, to the adjustment layer, are applied to the layers below as well.
So, for example, if I go to my effects, and maybe go to well, let's have a look let's just take an obvious one. I'll take the Fast Color Corrector and drop it onto this adjustment layer. And then If I go to my Effect controls, let's make this really obvious, I'm going to crank up the levels, so it's really really high contrast. And any clip that is beneath this adjustment layer, is going to be seen via it. I'm just going to turn off the audio, so I can scrub here, and you can see very, very clearly, all of these clips underneath the adjustment layer are being seen via my Fast Color Corrector. And as soon as the adjustment layer runs out, I'm back to the unmodified effect. Of course the positioning of an adjustment layer is very important, you see here, I've got my layer set up on video three, and that's in front of my graphic.
It's kind of ruining the graphic, as well as giving me this very stark look for my video. Actually that is a little bit too stark, isn't it? Let's just pull the levels up a bit so you can see what's going on a little in this image. It's still very very strong contrast, so if I want to fix that, I just need to swap these around. I'm just going to be pretty lazy here and drag this out of the way, and pull that title up and drop it down underneath, and there you go. Now my graphic is in its original state, nice and clean above the adjustment layer.
And again, anything below the adjustment layer is seen through the effect. This is a really good way of applying a look to an entire scene if you need to. For example I can pull this over and because of the snapping, this is going to snap to the beginning of this wide shot. And I'm just going to select this Fast Color Corrector and delete it. Let's say, I've got these shots, in fact, these three, well maybe these two. But let's say this scene has a look that I developed based on adjustments to the first clip. If I look in my Effects List, I can see, let me clear this out.
I've got a Camera B Fix Preset that I created earlier, I can apply just about any effect to the Adjustment Layer. About the only thing that probably wouldn't make any difference would be things like the Adjusting the speed of play back, it's not going to do anything, because I'm adjusting the speed of the adjustment layer rather than the clips. But if I drag and drop this preset onto the adjustment layer, right away you can see by selecting it, I have got my three effects applied. This Gaussian Blur, I've got a horizontal flip, there's a Fast Color Correcter.
And as I drag through, all of these clips are being affected by it. Now, it's a bit of a problem, isn't it? Because actually this shot, and this shot they have a totally different look to them. Presumably, they're shot at different times of day, different settings on the camera. So, I don't really want my adjustment layer to cover those shots. Well, it's a bit of an issue, and the only ways around it are probably logic ones. If I for example press Ctrl or Cmd+K opps that's got the wrong layer selected. Let's just get the right layer, Ctrl or Cmd+K it's going to add a cut there, I can then Just trim back and you can see now, in fact I don't really need that.
You can see now I've chopped up my adjustment layer and I'm seeing those other clips with their own grading and their own color. But now, I've got an issue because each of these has their own effect settings, and it kind of of destroys the point of it. I suppose it's useful, I might have extra layers underneath, I might combine them in some way. But for me, the elegance of the adjustment layer, is that you have one set of adjustments for multiple clips. So, I've got a workaround here that's it's might seem like a bit of a fudge but it does work. If I go to my Project panel, and click on the New Item button, I can make a color matte.
And I can make it pure white, let's call this White Matte, and then I can get another one but that's, actually I can probably just make do with the white. I'm going to show you why, because I'm going to use the Track Matte Key Effect to combine with the Adjustment Layer. I'm going to lay this white matte down on the timeline. Just where I want the adjustment layer to be visible. So, you can see right now it looks pretty useless, because I've got pure white filling the screen any time the white matte is in place. But if I go to my effects and I put the Track Matte Key on this Adjustment layer. And then choose as my key, as my matte, video three, and then specify to composite using the Luminance rather than the Alpha. Just to be on the safe side, now where I've got a white matte, I'm going to see the adjustment layer, and where I don't, I'm not. So now, and let just move this over a bit, so you can see the result of it more clearly.
Let me just zoom in a little bit, I hope I'm not being a bit too clever with this effect. But okay, now, let's turn off snapping. Here I've got the original unmodified version of the shot. As soon as the matte kicks in, the adjustment layer is becoming visible, thanks to the matte. You see here, I've got my Track Mat key set up, and I'm only going to see the adjustment layer where the white parts of this matte are. Then if we go towards the end of this, you can see there's a gap.
Again I'm going to trim this out so you can see the effect. I've got the effect, I've got the effect and then the white matte ends, and I'm seeing the unmodified image in the background. So, if you do want to have just one set of controls to modify your effects. You can do it by combining the Adjustment Layer with the Track Mode Effect and a White Fill Layer. Now, I can do things like go into my Color Corrector, and maybe pull this away from the blue a little bit towards the green. That's awful isn't it? Let's go, let's go bright orange so it's nice and visible. And there we've got the effect, no effect, effect. Okay, you might not go for something almost as monochrome as that, but hopefully you get the idea.
It's this combination of effects that makes Premiere Pro a powerful finishing system. And of course, it does mean that your timeline might get a little bit messy. And it means you're going to need to be aware that the timing of this clip, this teacher shot for example, in intrinsically linked now to the timing of this white matte clip. I need those to be absolutely synchronized for my effect to kick in and leave at the right times. Let me turn my snapping on here to make sure I get that absolutely lined up.
So, that's working with Adjustment Layers in Premiere Pro CS6.
- Advanced keyframing
- Essential effects
- Adjusting color
- Adding transitions
- Working with time
- Creative effects
- Combined effect examples
- Sharing work with After Effects