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Color Grading

Lesson 3 from: Dramatic Black & White Architecture

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

3. Color Grading

Add a hint of color to your black & white images to give them a warm or cool tone.
Next Lesson: Lens Corrections

Lesson Info

Color Grading

so far we've created purely black and white in our image. That means all we have is shades of gray. There is no hint of color by introducing a little hint of color, you can make an image feel somewhat warm, that would be more of a yellowish orangish reddish tone where you can make it feel cool, which is more of a bluish or greenish tone. And you can do that in adobe camera using something called color grading. So let's take a look. Here's an example. This image was black and white. Uh that's how I processed it. But afterwards I didn't really like the look at the end of results. So I ended up adding split Tony. But let's go to the image we were last working with so we can fine tune it and I'll double click on that and then let's just scroll down in our adjustments to this area called color grading. And with colour grading, what you see below is going to be determined by which of these icons up here you've clicked on, you'll see here's three little circles and down here I see three circl...

es. We have shadows, highlights and mid tones. Or up here we have individual circles. If I click on them here, I'm going to see only the shadows, I can see only the mid tones or only the highlights. And when I'm on one of those three over here, you see part of a circle. Well if you click there, you're going to move between those and that's just the same as clicking on those icons. It's just making it easy. So if I want to switch from shadows to mid tones, all I got to do is click on what's on the edge, but it's no different than clicking these icons. Then there's another one on the far right. And it's called Global. And this is going to add a color across the entire picture, not limiting it only the highlights, shadows, mid tones. So let's start with Global. So you can get a general feeling for what this does. We got this circle here and in the very center of the circles where you're gonna find white, white represents no color whatsoever. If I grab that circle that's in the middle and start dragging outwards whatever color I start dragging towards is the color is going to be added to the image in the further I dragged, the more obvious the change will be the more saturated the result will be the closer I am to the center, the more subtle it will be so often times you end up dragging out there moving around until you find the overall look you're going for. Let's say I'm going for a cool look and you find the general color you want, then you slide in towards the middle to control how strong is it in most of the time you want to under do it because otherwise it can be distracting from the image if it's too much, you can also grab this little dot on the outside here and move it around to fine tune the basic colour that's there because sometimes moving this, it's too hard to go around in a circle without changing how far you are from the outer edge to the center. You also have sliders at the bottom and Hugh just changes what the outer edges pointed out. So here all it's doing is moving it around that outer edge, you have saturation, which is going to control how close are you to the middle. And so it's just a way of doing it with sliders instead of one single um choice. And then you have luminous and there you can darken the in this case global meaning the entire picture you're gonna find luminous is much more useful when you're working on the shadows or highlights. So you could use this, but this puts color throughout the entire image. And oftentimes I like to have two contrasting colors in the image, one in the bright areas, one in the dark. So in here I'm gonna bring my saturation all the way down, which effectively will make it. So we're not adding any color and I'm gonna make sure my luminous is at zero. So we're not brightening or darkening the image as a whole. And then I'm gonna go up here to the three way, therefore I can adjust all three. And what I might do in this particular case is I'm going to come in here and make my shadows cool meaning towards bluish or purple actually kind of like them bluish purple in there and then as a contrast to that, I want to make my highlights, the bright areas warm. And so I'm gonna go towards a yellow. So I'm just gonna drag this out this way. Let's see if I can find one that I think goes good with the color I have in my background, may be right about there and then I pull in towards the middle so that I mellow out how much color is being added. Then um what you're gonna find is if you ever try to add colour to the dark areas or to the bright areas and you have solid black or solid white, those areas won't change. Let me show you that by coming up here and maybe bringing my shadows way down, bring my blacks way down. So I get some solid black in the picture. Then let's go over there to the area called color grading. And here, if I choose shadows, let's push it as far as I can into blues in purple blue and notice we have that but it feels like it's kind of in the middle areas of brightness in this dark hair. I don't see any of it if you want to add color to the area that is solid black, you're going to have to take this area called shadows in this controls the brightness and just bring it up a little bit and brightness. It's only areas that are not black that you're able to add any color too, the same is true for your highlights. If there's any areas that are solid white, you will not be able to add color to them and you'll need to take this slider and move it towards the left to darken those highlights and only after you get them. So they're not white. Will you be able to pump color into them? In this case? I have a rather extreme amount and so I'm just gonna back off on this to get it lessened. And then here you can control the color that's in between the highlights in shadows and I don't always add a color there, but you can sometimes just pulling this out and then working your way around the wheel, you can see if there's something that might look good kind of like and what's right in there and then pull towards the middle and towards the outer edge to control exactly how strong most of the time I find if this thing called color grading that's new to you, you're just not used to doing it. Uh and you decide to incorporate, you'll overdo it because it will be novel, it's something new to you, you're not used to. So you're like, this is cool, let's pump it in there. But if you review the images that you processed maybe six or eight months later most the time I find you're going to find you overdid it. So if anything try to under do this, try to get it to the point, you think it should be at and then back off a little bit on that saturation. So it's not overdone. Once you have the overall look, the way you like it, there are some other sliders, there's blending and balance and you want to swing those to their extremes so you can see what they're going to do to influence your picture and then find what you think is going to render it best balance is going to control, kind of how far did the shadows extend uh into the mid tones and how far to the highlights extend into that, or should they be a bit more isolated to only the extremes of brightness. Finally, if you want to see the effect of your color grading, there's an eyeball over here and if you just click it and keep your mouth held down, you'll see what your image looks like without the color grading applied. So you have a pure black and white image and then when you let go, you'll see the results and when you do that, you might need to look away from your screen because your eyes get used to the colors that are in here and when you turn that off, you might actually perceive the opposite of the colors that are here because because your eyes are so adjusted to this, that when you give it something neutral, like I see green up there when I do it, even though the image itself is not green.

Ratings and Reviews

ehab ghobara

Good content Ben. Thanks a lot

Chris Lonardo

Ben's course is concise, practical, and packed with useful info. I've already recommended it to several NYC photographer friends. Well done!

Tom Hackett

Thanks for stressing the position of the photographer (perspective) rather than the focal length of the lens.

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