Color Grading Using The Color Balance Tool
Color grading is really not editing individual colors, it's applying a color grade over the entire image as such. So let's go to a nice wedding shot and look at the color balance tool. So color grading is generally carried out in the color balance tool itself. Previously you could have attempted to do this kind of work let's say in the levels tool, or the curves tool by kind of finding individual channels. Like if you went to let's say the blue channel, and then trying to make shadows a bit cooler and so on. But the problem with trying to manipulate color on individual channels in the levels tool, and perhaps the curves tool, is that you can't affect the color without affecting the density. It's not two separate things. So again, one adjustment is fighting against another one, which is not really the way you want to work on your images by making an adjustment and then having to correct some aspect of it by doing a different adjustment. So the whole purpose of making the color balance t...
ool come to life was to separate color and separate density and further separate that into shadows, mid tones, and highlights. So let's bring out the color balance tool, hide the tools again. This is another tool that we can actually make larger to aid its use. So it's split into five different tabs. Here we have a master tab, the thee-way tab, shadows, mid tones, and highlights. So the master tab simply allows you to put a tint or grade over the entire image. It's very simple to use, we just pick up the center spot and push that towards the hue that we want to add to the image as such. The further you push that to the edge, the greater the saturation. So I'm exaggerating here of course. So we can drag that out to the edge to make that stronger, or just keep it towards the center to be more subtle. You will also see as I drag out to the edge this slider bar on the right also move. So if you've really landed on a color tone that you want to have, you can leave this alone then pick up the slider and then move that back and forth towards the outside to get the stronger, or a lighter tone. But that's a grade over the entire image, so that's... The closest analogy is to getting a filter if you like, and then placing that in front of the camera, like a colored filter placed in that front of the camera and that's pretty much what the master tab does. If we want to reset, double-click anywhere in the outer space and it will jump back to zero. Three-way is just a composite view of shadows, mid tones, and highlights. So this gives you the same control, but specifically just for shadows, just for mid tones, and just for highlights. So now if I grab the shadow slider over here and just move that out to say cool it down, that only affects my shadows. Equally if we go to mid tones and push it this way, this just warms up the mid tones. And then we could warm up the highlights like so. Additionally on these wheels, we have a lightness slider if you like on the right-hand side so if we raise this up we could lift shadows or darken shadows, like so. And we could lift the mid tones, darken mid tones, lift highlights, darken highlights. So it's another round about way of manipulating contrast as well. So if you want to have you know, cooler shadows, just raise them up a bit to get a nice kind of lower contrast look. This is by far the easiest tool to use it in as well. If you need kind of more scope to work, then the shadow, mid tones, and highlights can also be looked at separately. If you have a laptop with a track pad, you can also do a couple of gestures, like two finger swipe will move that up and down towards the edge. And then we can walk two finger swipe around the outside of the circle as well. Pretty sure we can also use our cursor keys I think. So if we use cursor keys then we can just jog that left, right, up and down, just to get really fine controls if we wish as well. This is also another one of those tools that you might like to have multiple versions of it. So if we go to Window, Create Floating Tool, Color Balance, we can get another color balance tool and stick that to that, and have mid tones, for example. Probably gonna run out of screen space, but then we could have a third one, make color balance, have that as highlights, and then stick that over to its final one as well. So if you wanna have the possibility of the large interface, as opposed to the smaller three-way one, then you can just stick three color balance tools together like so. And if that's something you're gonna do, then remember save that as a Workspace and call that your Color Grading Workspace. So if we said Save Workspace, call that Color Grade like so, let's just go back to my default for a second. So that's how we would've been working, and then if we go back to Color Grade, then straight away it pops open the tools so we're ready for our color grading workflow. You're gonna have more screen real estate at home so it will be easy to have those three tools next to each other. Let's just remove those and we're good to go. So master, three-way, shadows, mid tones, highlights like so. We looked in an earlier lesson about black and white and split-toning. Now also with the color balance tool you can kind of think of the possibility of this is being able to do some sort of triple-toning as such. Because we've got the benefit of the shadows, mid tones, and highlights. And what is nice, if you couple this with a let's create an exposure tool, we stick an exposure tool to that, so this is another kind of color grading workspace you could think. Then what we could do is by using saturation as well if we drop saturation down we can be a bit more aggressive with these. And then we can do really nice kind of effects with sort of triple-tones as opposed to just the split tone that we have with shadows and highlights on a black and white tool. On the black and white tool, for example. So experiment with that as well. There's so much scope in this tool, and it's really super simple to use. There's also some presets as well. So you can drop through the various different presets. Just to give you a possible starting point. So if you think you know what I like one of these presets, warm green for example, you can pick that and then you could just manipulate as well. Don't forget you can combine master and three-way as well. So if we just reset this. If you wanted to just kind of have an overall sort of warm tone to the entire image. Pump up saturation a bit. But then you wanted to have you know, cooler shadows, and then just warm up the mid tones even more, manipulate saturation. Then it's a really fantastic tool for that. So have a look at the presets, it's good start points and then don't forget you can save your own presets as well. So if you've been wondering what all this fun looking stuff is on the left-hand side, this is hardware equipment which would traditionally be used for video editing, video grading, and so on and so forth. But we thought quite some time ago that it sort of makes sense that why not use it for stills editing as well? You've seen hopefully by now, the power of short cuts in Capture One that allows you to move through the application faster, trigger events without having to find the menu system and so on. So what these hardware input decks allow you to do is have a direct connection to some of the tools. So I've just connected one. And this is basically three trackables and you can probably guess what those trackables influence. Which is the color balance tool. So instead of having to you know, pick up mouse or pen and then find the particular one you want, at any point you can rest your hands on these and then simply spin the trackable to the color grade that you want to have. And then the outer ring you can see if I turn it to the right, I get lighter. Turn it to the left we can go darker. So this gives you a really nice analog input. There's some push buttons at the top which allow you to preview the color grades. If I press this B button over here it just shows me a before and after, like so. And I can also reset each individual shadow, mid tone, and highlights by hitting the buttons at the top. So if... And the other benefit of this is that you can do sort of two or three things at the same time. Because you're not limited to just operating on one section. So it becomes pretty nice to just be able to dial in color grades with really out too much thought, and without even looking at the tool. So the guys who are professional colorists for video of course, you know, they don't even have to see the tool. They know by which direction they're moving gives you which color tone and so on. The other kit that you see it's part of the same series. They're actually all individual kind of modules like this. Just USB connection. So dials can manipulate sliders for example. Buttons, as you see here can just invoke shortcuts, for example. And then the final sort of multifunction pallet here is good for like local adjustments, like changing the brush size which we can do with rolling the ball. Accessing other shortcuts, moving through images, so forward and back images, color tagging, and so on. It's a really wonderful way to kind of work with Capture One. And once you've tried it it's actually very difficult to go back to the traditional sort of keyboard and mouse system. The name of the kit just in case anyone's interested before they start bombarding Jim with questions, it's called the Element system. So these are Element panels made by Tangent. So it's a company based out of the UK. If you're interested in the color grading aspect they actually have a number of other products which are slightly lower in cost. They also have an IPAD application which emulates all of this as well. So if you just wanna go touch on the IPAD, then it can emulate this very, very nicely if you want to sort of try exactly what it can do. The whole system you can configure, you can change the shortcuts, you can make your own mapping for all the different panels. It's extremely powerful and great to use especially for the color grading aspect. So before we go into another edit, I think let's just look at other possibilities. So if we just reset this, a good tip I got from a colorist is always kind of look at what's in the image and then sort of try and enhance what's there, or just use that as a cue. So in this case, we've got nice sort of warm mid tones so it doesn't make sense to you know, enhance those a little bit more. Would it enhance them even more by just knocking the shadows back to something colder? And again, just try those luminosity sliders on the side to just see what that does. And always worth having a quick before and after, so Option click, just to see exactly what your color grade can do. But it's a no-brainer to use this tool because it's as I said, you just decide color, and you decide the density. Affecting one doesn't affect the other. So there's really no reason why none of you listening, watching, and so on, can pick up this tool and just start to experiment with the possibilities.