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how can I color correct grass?

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jonathan grant
how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:44:02 am

In our film there is one scene shot in March where the grass is mostly dead, so it's that dead yellow color. We need to make it look like summer grass. The actors walk across it so we were playing around with after effects "change to color". It isolated the grass really well, but we can't figure out how to make it look like the right color. No matter what we try it looks like fake neon easter grass! You'd think it'd be as easy as choosing the right color in the "To:" box, but it doesn't look anything like the color we choose. Sometimes the darker the color we choose the lighter the color it becomes.

I'm not familiar at all with this effect.

Any suggestions on the best way to turn dead grass into summer green grass? (without having to manually mask out every frame of the actors walking across it)



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Trevor Gent
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 5:27:03 am

Which effect(s) are you using at the moment?

Try playing around with several adjustment layers with different colour correction effects applied to them.
The first one I'd go for is 'curves'. Play around with the settings there.

Also try the "tri-tone" and "colour link" effects. These you can use to sample colours from a real photo your choice.

You can always double up on these effects if you're not getting the range of colours you need and can change the opacity of the adjustment layers to get a good mix.

Goodluck!


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jonathan grant
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 10:32:15 am

Thanks for your response. We are using change to color which does a great job of isolating just the yellow grass. The problem with adjustment layers and other effects is that it applies it to the whole picture and there are actors walking on the grass. So we'd have to mask them out in each frame which would be a nightmare to get to look right. :-/

Maybe we could key out the yellow grass and put a duplicate layer underneath with the color correction?



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Christian Wheel
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 12:30:55 pm

This is just a guess, but I think the reason it looks neon-ey is because it's transforming the brightness and saturation properties.

You just want to change the hue, and maybe bump up the saturation just a little bit.

----- Christian Wheel -----
Radio Host, Los Angeles/San Diego/Nationally Syndicated
Audio Production & Imaging
MS Visual Studio Developer
After Effects Enthusiast


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Cassius Marques
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:42:41 pm

If your isolating the grass with the effect change to color, just check the view matte and use that as a matte to ANY color correction effect that AE has, such as curves on adjustment layers.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:40:40 pm

[jonathan grant] "We are using change to color which does a great job of isolating just the yellow grass."

So change the shade of green you use for the To color. You can also duplicate the layer, remove the effect and reduce the upper layer's opacity to bring some of the real color back in for a little more realism.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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jonathan grant
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:46:03 pm

You'd think that'd be easy, wouldn't you? lol Adjusting the hue just isn't making any sense. The output is nothing like the hue we choose. In fact it seems like when we make a darker hue the output of the grass actually gets lighter! We've played around with the hue saturation and brightness but can't get anywhere close. We just don't know which to change and which way to change it to get the color we want.



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Jim Arco
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 7:06:25 pm

Can you post a still?

As much as we like to think grass is a deep green, it usually contains a lot of yellow.

Try to find an image with some grass in the color you want and then duplicate that hue/saturation/lightness. Also look for other things in the scene that might not be correct for the season. (Are there leaves on the trees? Sun at a low angle?)


Jim


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jonathan grant
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 21, 2011 at 12:14:23 am

Sure thing, here are a couple of screen grabs. I'm having a lot of problems with it. The change to color just doesn't isolate it well enough and there's not enough options on there to make it the right color anyway. I tried keying it out but that looked awful. I tried using a mask that that's looked the best so far, but as you can see from the composition it's really hard and it doesn't look perfect (the feather mask bleeds color correction onto the actors and other things.

I tried using another mask for the trees just using change to color which did a good job except it changed the color of the branches and trunks of the trees which looks kinda funny.

What do you think?



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jonathan grant
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 21, 2011 at 12:15:49 am







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Walter Soyka
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 21, 2011 at 4:57:37 am

Color correcting the brown grass won't put leaves back on the trees, so it'll be really hard to sell this shot as summer.

Is there a different editorial approach you can take?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jim Arco
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 21, 2011 at 4:23:59 pm

I'm not at the workstation with AE right now, but Walter is right. No leaves on the trees, overcast grey skies, and people wearing long pants and jackets mean that the best you're likely to get is "someone painted the dormant winter grass a weird shade of green." It will be tough to sell this as anything but winter. Maybe you could take some of the blue out of the scene, but you'd also need to paint in some leafy green leaves on trees and shrubs, make the skies blue and maybe add some colorful flowers.

You'll either need to find an editorial option or plan to reshoot.


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jonathan grant
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:47:27 pm

Well, I would agree with you except there are a few things that might save it.

One, we never say what season it is. The majority of it was shot in the spring where the weather really was teetering back and forth between chilly and nice. So, the scenes go back and forth between wearing jackets and short sleeves. Pants are always worn, though.

Two, this is supposed to be a foreboding house so the dead trees actually work really well. There are some leaves on them but they are brown. So, putting leaves back on the trees isn't really necessary. That helps. We do want it to look kind of dead, but have enough green that it doesn't look too jarringly obvious that it's a different month from other scenes.

The sky isn't great, but maybe we can key that out? Luckily the sky is mostly covered up by trees and given that it's a pretty quick establishing shot we might be able to get by with the overcast sky, or hopefully key it out and replace with another sky.

I think changing the grass to a greener shade and changing the brown leaves to a greener shade will be enough to sell it. Test audiences will confirm or refute that. The biggest problem is that there's just so much of that brown in the picture!



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Adam McCune
Re: how can I color correct grass?
on Jul 22, 2011 at 2:02:38 pm

Crop.

Writer/Radio host/Community Media Advocate


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