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Color Grading(please critique)

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Victor Nguyen
Color Grading(please critique)
on Apr 29, 2011 at 1:49:12 am

http://reels.creativecow.net/film/color-grading-by-a-noob

my color grading is really bad right now and I would like a lot of tip.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Color Grading(please critique)
on Apr 29, 2011 at 2:37:00 am

it was extremely difficult to judge precisely what you did, because the changes were so brief.

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


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Victor Nguyen
Re: Color Grading(please critique)
on Apr 29, 2011 at 2:37:50 am

sorry I have to do this really fast because I have school tomorrow


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Walter Soyka
Re: Color Grading(please critique)
on Apr 29, 2011 at 4:08:50 am

It's tough to give any creative feedback on this shot without knowing what you're trying to accomplish, or even what this shot is about (there is no clear subject -- does it make more sense in context?).

There were a couple technical things that jumped out at me:
  • The grade completely crushes the shadows and blows out the highlights -- you're losing a lot of detail throughout the image, and my eyes are drawn to the blazing white wall in the stairwell. Do you know how to read a waveform monitor or RGB parade?
  • The vignette around the woman at the right of the frame is way too loose -- it spills over onto everything around her.
  • It looks like you're going for the very popular orange/blue look, but not quite getting it. The traditional technique for this effect is to cool the shadows and warm the highlights, but it looks like you're cooling and warming entire areas of the picture across the entire range instead. This inconsistency makes it less an overall look, and more like strange lighting.

I hope this is helpful -- and good luck with your project!

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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Victor Nguyen
Re: Color Grading(please critique)
on Apr 29, 2011 at 11:59:41 am

Walter, wow this was very helpful.how do I read waveform and rgb parade? I was using colorista, so do you have any tips to get my desire orange/blue look?


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Color Grading(please critique)
on Apr 29, 2011 at 7:47:15 am

As Dave and Walter mentioned I too am not sure what you're trying to achieve. The framing does not look like it was well designed- Walter mentioned the way the white area of the stairs grabbed your eye, but maybe you were going for a home video look... although the cinematic aspect of the frame kills that instantly.
Grading is a way of enhancing the visual story. Any decent camera will give you good color balance now a days and a good looking picture, so the challenge is to present the story with a different look, one where colors and light are different than what the eye can see (or what the camera sees without grading). You need to establish a theme, a color palette that you want to use and also to know why you are using that. Just because Transformers or another blockbuster is using the orange/teal look it does not mean you should go for the same. Grading with masks can help you bring attention to a part of the shot you want to pop out, but it needs careful planning- Walter mentioned the mask around the woman that spills around her. That does not help. masking needs to be precise, even if it's sometimes loose and feathered. A person or object usually requires a tighter mask than a piece of sky.
Here's an example - a tvco that I graded based on the color scheme (green and blue) extracted from the painting "man with the bowler hat" by Magritte. There's some loose masking (sky and most grass) but there's also some insane detailed masking (orange seeds, blades of grass, paper planes, man...). The colors are not what you would see in real life but they follow a theme and stick to it.






Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Victor Nguyen
Re: Color Grading(please critique)
on Apr 29, 2011 at 12:05:03 pm

thanks for the help mr.Jelescu.yeah I knew that the mask were a mistake.But how would you make a tight mask when the object is moving without using rotoscoping(I was trying to put some skin tone back to the woman)? Should I also have made a mask around the stairway and use a tint or pull out some color? I believe color grading is really important and would like to learn it more, thanks for the help


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Color Grading(please critique)
on Apr 29, 2011 at 1:43:08 pm

[Victor Nguyen] "But how would you make a tight mask when the object is moving without using rotoscoping"

What's wrong with rotoscoping? I mean, yes; it's tedious, but it's the basis of most effects shots and an awful lot of color grading. The new Roto Brush in CS5 could certainly help. This page [link] has a bunch of tips for making rotoscoping faster and easier.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Color Grading(please critique)
on Apr 29, 2011 at 4:08:38 pm

I'm afraid Michael is right- sometimes you can't get away with a quick fix. Rotoscoping is the only option. Mocha can help you with tracking and rotoscoping.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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