Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Interesting Color Correction Tutorial

Stu Maschwitz, now of Red Giant Software, has posted a nice color correction tutorial on Creative Cow. He goes through the process of emulating the look of a few of this year's summer blockbusters. Even though he uses Magic Bullet and Colorista software in After Effects, this tutorial is applicable to any software.

Even if you aren't going to do a lot of color correcting, this is quite interesting to watch because he gives you a primer on how to look at and dissect the color palette of film images. It is also fascinating to watch the process of a colorist, how they fiddle with things, etc. As a film maker, it will also help you be able to speak more intelligently with your colorist.

I think I am going to bite the bullet, pardon the pun, and buy Colorista. I already own Magic Bullet Looks (which I've used mostly for brainstorming looks) and work in Apple's Color, but I can see how useful Colorista is, particularly as a complement to Looks. The main value I see in Colorista (in Final Cut) is that it is a tool that you can use within Final Cut Pro (with vignette tracking!!). Color is amazing, but sometimes you don't want to take the time to roundtrip things in and out of FCP, especially if it's not too complicated of a correction (but more complicated than the 3 Way color corrector can handle). Roundtripping requires a bit of preparation, particularly on a long timeline with motion graphics, still photos, etc.

The other tool that he used which I found cool was the Hue/Saturation effect in After Effects. I didn't know that it was hidden in there. You can define what the color range is for each of your color channels in After Effects. Nice tool. I am starting to understand why some people like to live in After Effects.

If you go to the Red Giant site, check out the "Indie Film" looks pack created by Eric Escobar. It's a nice selection of pre-made looks for use with Magic Bullet Looks or Quick Looks. They are a nice addition to the pre-set looks that come with Magic Bullet already.

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