Color Grading in Alien Skin Exposure X3
Now for the actual color-grading of this image, my little secret that I use to color-grade is, I use a program called Alien Skin Exposure a lot. I use it a lot. You can definitely use curves and things like that to achieve the effect you're trying to create, like, okay, I wanna add more contrast. Great, let me grab a curve. Let me make the S-curve and add contrast. And I think this totally works. But I just happen to think that Exposure is quick for what I use. So I'm just gonna come in and go to Alien Skin Exposure. It does struggle sometimes with these huge, huge, files. So you sometimes have to work around it. For the sake of speed, I really, really like it. So I'm just gonna pick one kind that I prefer. The one that I think turned out really nice on this was like a Kodak gold, which is that regular, there we go. It was one of the Kodak golds I like. I think it was this one. It's just that consumer-grade film. I just thought, even though it's usually a very saturated gold film, it l...
ooked really nice here. I thought it had a nice little punch to it. I also will say that I rarely use this at its fullest intensity. So obviously, you can come in here and you can tweak these levels a lot. But a lot of times what I do is I just lower the opacity until I'm happy with it. So let's run this and see if it'll get it. It sometimes doesn't on the first time. Oh, there we go. Or maybe I'm just not that patient. And so this gives, it's a much punchier look but let me take the opacity and dial it back. Another thing that I'll regularly do when I run this, is I actually control it with two layers. So I'll take this one that was just ran because it generates it on a new layer, and I duplicate it. And on the top one, I change the blending mode to color. And on the bottom one, I change the blending mode to luminosity. And if you don't know a lot about blending modes, you really should. There are some good blending modes classes here on Creative Live that you should definitely get into 'cause it really allows you to control things a lot more easily and a lot more effortlessly and with a lot more control. And so what I'm basically saying is, one of these is only gonna affect the color, and one of these is only gonna affect the brightness and contrast. And so I can basically say hey, I really like the way it did contrast, but I don't like what it did to the color. And so I can control them separately. And I find it's a little bit easier for me to do it this way than to do it actually in the program. So that's kind of how I like to do it. So this was luminosity and there's no color that's being changed. It's just tone. So maybe I'll go, I just wanna back it off a little bit. Great, cool. And now I go to color. Oh, man, really saturated. Let's bring this off quite a bit more. So now it's at 30%, maybe. 30-40%, right? So now I got to use the color at 30% and the luminosity at 70%, and it gave me the color grade that I wanted. That's usually how I like to work with a program like that. And I think it gives me a whole lot of control and sets me up for success. So where we started was here. And where it ended was here. Not hugely different, but definitely has a lot more polish. I prefer the color. The whole image just feels a little bit cleaner. The details are a little bit better. And there are obviously more things I would do to this image. I'd dodge and burn it. I would clean up skin, all the normal stuff you would do for a retouch. I just kinda wanted to show you some of the bigger things that really help guide this to get the image to where it is. We'll field some questions on this particular image if you have them. Oh, by the way, when you're dealing with these files, you generally are not gonna be able to save it as a TIF or a PSD. You might as well just default it to something called a large document format. This saves it as a PSB, because once you start breaking that four gig mark, it just doesn't work. It won't save it. And these files get real big, real fast, especially not only are you switching panos, but you start duplicating layers and stuff, I mean, these things can be eight, nine, 10 gigs pretty easily. Just something to keep in mind. Questions?
This is a bit of a quick edit. How much more time would you invest if you wanted to actually print this and where would you spend that additional time? So obviously we're teaching, if you're sitting down by yourself with a cup of coffee to work on this thing, how much more time? It would depend upon where it's going. That's definitely an important consideration. So if it is going for a big ad, yeah, maybe I'll spend a couple hours on it. If it's gonna be printed small, maybe not as much. It really depends on the scope of the project and who needs it. But I find that the quicker you are in Photoshop, the better you get, the quicker you are. So maybe I'll spend 30 minutes to an hour on an image, it just depends on how intense it needs to be. Sometimes it's 15 minutes. So it really depends. And sometimes it's four hours.