Join Amy Leland for an in-depth discussion in this video Making primary color corrections with timeline effects, part of Smoke 2015 Essential Training.
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The next area of timeline effects that I want to take a look at is color correction. If you've used previous versions of Smoke, there's an important change to color correction that you should be aware of. Now, instead of a single timeline effect called Color Correct, inside of which we can use either the color corrector or the color warper controls. We now have two separate timeline effects, the color corrector and the color warper. You can apply both to a single clip to create layered color correction effects.
For a couple of different reasons, I personally prefer the color warper. First of all we're going to see in the next lesson, there are things we can do in the color warper, we simply can't do in the color corrector. I also just happen to prefer the way the color warper deals with color changes. But again, you can use both on the same clip to create layered effects, so I want to show the controls for both. In this lesson, I'm going to look at each one to apply a primary color correction. For this I'm going to start with a new sequence. I'm going to select my sequence's clip library and again, you can either right click and choose new sequence or you can use that shortcut, Cmd+N. And I'm going to call this one Color Correction in Timeline. And I'm going to click Create. What I'm going to work with is from this opening scene I'm going to work on this clip called opening scene master. And I'm not too worried about what specific part of the clip I'm using. I'm just going to take what's already marked with in's and out's and hit F10 to override it into the timeline. I'm also not concerned about the audio tracks so I'll just click confirm and let the clip come in without the audio. I'll then hit Shift+Z to fit the timeline into the window. And I'm just going to place my playhead here where we can see the clip. When we work on color correction there are different types of color correction that we can do. The simplest is a primary correction. In other words, making a color correction that affects the entire clip uniformly across the frame. In later lessons we will also look at secondary corrections. Where we have different methods of choosing part of the clip to adjust color wise. But let's start with the primary correction. I'm going to click the fx button or of course you can right click on the clip and choose Add Effect or use the shortcut, Ctrl+Tab. And I'm going to add this color correct affect. Now like all other timeline effects, you get some controls immediately in the toolbar. So for instance, if all I was trying to do was raise the saturation of the clip, I have that control right here in the toolbar. As we have seen with these other fields in the past, I can click and drag to adjust the value. If I don't like the change that I have made. Once you've changed a value, you'll see that asterisk to show its been changed. I can Option+Click to set it back to the default. I can also click in that field to type a value. Let's raise the saturation to a 150%. So, again, you can make simple color correction changes right here in the timeline. I, of course, want access to all of the color correction controls, so I can show you those. I'm going to click on the Editor. The controls are broken down into two sections. I have this color wheel for making overall color adjustments. And I have these Gamma Gain Offset and Contrast controls for making overall changes to light values. On the color wheel, you'll notice I have some controls to the left.
By default, I'm set on Master. So, in other words, any change I make in this color wheel applies an overall color to that entire image. If I click and drag here toward the red, you'll see I'm turning the entire image more red. I'm going to undo that. I can limit that selection by saying do that only to the shadows. And now that change is a little more subtle because it's being applied in the shadows, in the darkest regions of that image. I can do the same with the midtones and the highlights. You have some ways of limiting that color change here. You can also use these hue and saturation sliders to add an overall hue adjustment or an overall saturation adjustment to the entire image. As we've seen with other effects, any time I've made a change to a value, I'll see the asterisk. I can hold down the Option key and click to set those back to the defaults. With our controls here in the middle, I can adjust the light values of the gamma, which is the midtone range of light, the gain. Which is going to be our highlights or brightest areas, or the offset, which is our shadows or darkest areas, or even the overall contrast. And I can do that either on the entire image by doing it here where it says RGB. So, in other words if I raise gamma here I'm lightening the mid tone values of the entire image. I'm going to undo that. I can also adjust contrasts for the entire image right here in the RGB. You'll see that's cleaning up that image and giving it better contrast. But again, I also have the option to limit that to either the red, green, or blue channel. So in other words, I could raise the offset in just the blue area in order to add some cool tones. But that's mostly affecting the darkest parts of the image. So, you do have some controls in the color corrector to give you an overall color look to the image. But as I said, I just happen to prefer the controls in the color warper. So, let's take a look at that. I am going to exit back out to the timeline. With this clip selected I'm going to Option click here on this cc button to remove the color correction control. I'll then click my FX button and instead add a color warper and now go into the editor for those controls. Let's go take a look at the color warper controls. There are several things I can do in this color warper control, that I can't d in the color corrector.
First of all, I have separate color wheels for the shadows, mid tones, and highlights light ranges, within the clip. If you've come from Final Cut 7, this will look very familiar to you, if you've ever used that color corrector three way. The other thing I can do in the color warper that I can't do in the color corrector is related to this area over here that says selective. Remember, I told you that a primary correction applies to the whole clip and secondary correction applies to part of the clip. In a later lesson, we'll use this selective area to select part of the clip to apply a color correction to.
I'm not going to do that now, but I wanted you to know that's one of the reasons I prefer the color warper. So now let's make a fast primary color correction. When I correct color I always like to fix contrast first. The basic controls for fixing contrast are your black control and your white control. in other words I want to adjust the light values in the shadows and highlights of the image. So that there's higher contrast between them which will give me more details in the image. This histogram in the middle of the screen will help me to see where those light values are. It represents the signal across the whole image. And what you can see is that right now the darkest part of the image isn't sitting anywhere near that 0 where pure black would be. To adjust that I'm going to click in the blacks control and drag to the left and watch the signal in that image move closer to 0.
And already, you can see I have deeper shadows and a little bit richer color in the darkest part of the image. I'm going to do the same thing with the white. I don't need to stretch all the way to the top but if I brighten the highlights a little bit. Again, I'm stretching the contrast and bringing a little bit more life to that image. If you want to make finer control contrast changes, you can switch this control from Warp to Gamma, and you get the gamma curve. Now, instead of just adjusting the darkest part and the lightest part, I can actually adjust the light values and the mid tones, as well. I can do that with the point that already exists by curving the mid tones, either darker or lighter. Or I can also change the controls for that curve from select to add points and click to add more points along the curve. Change this tool back to Select. And now, I can move these individual points, to get a more complex, contrast curve, to get the exact look that I'm looking for. You can also make color changes within the clip. And again, they will apply to the whole image, but within the light areas. So I can make a color change in the shadows, in the mid tones or in the highlights. The color values for skin tones are in this mid tones range. So if I took this color wheel in the mid tones and dragged up left, to warm up the color. You'll notice it's warming up her skin and making her a little bit healthier. I like that. That's a primary color correction. I've come into these controls, I have adjusted the contrast to sharpen the image.
I've warmed up the mid tones to change how her skin tones look. I'm going to exit back to the timeline. And if you'd like to see a before and after, I can use this blue light on the color corrector effect, to turn it off and back on. And you can see, that with a pretty simple primary color change, I've added a lot of life to this clip. In the next lesson, we'll start looking at secondary corrections of adjust part of the clip.
- Creating a project and user
- Importing and organizing media
- Editing in the timeline
- Trimming in the timeline
- Connecting scenes with transitions
- Using timeline effects like 2D Transform and Action
- Color correcting
- Adding 3D objects to a scene
- Working with titles and 3D text
- Exporting your final project