Color Grading Exercise

The following show some of my experimentation with color grading, both in terms of trying to change the lighting/mood of the clip, as well as to play with stylized images:

Before 1

Before 1

My first clip was under outdoor lighting, mostly warm sunlight.

After 1-1

After 1-1

After 2

After 1-2

After 1-3

After 1-3

After 1-1 saw my first attempt at doing some minimal, subtle color grading. I tried some purple hues in the shadows and midtones, and left the highlights mostly orange/yellow (skintone).

After 1-2: I wanted to try averting the daylight by artificially trying to use color grading to emulate night time – or at least overcast skies. To do this, I tried to cool down the colors as much as possible with blue to light blue everything but I don’t think I put other factors into mind.

After 1-3: I thought more about what overcast lighting had, and for this try I also played with darkening the midtones through Luma and input/output, as well as desaturating the highlights. I also tried more subtle color grading, and the result is slightly more realistic.

Before 2

Before 2

Clip 2 is also outdoors lighting, however the lighting is focused on back-lighting, with the shadows on the face.

After 2-1

After 2-1

After 2-2

After 2-2

After 2-1: I wanted to emulate the vintage filters commonly seen on Instagram, so I used red shadows, orangeΒ midtones and blowing up the highlights to a really light yellow, to overexpose the clip. This created a burned, summer tone, and also the orange midtones meant the shadows on the faces were able to be brought up to more natural skin tones. The skies weren’t as evenly graded, and the edges near the leaves are still very blue. I think this could have been fixed if I’d been able to do a secondary color grading, where I picked out everything blue and pushed it to a yellowish-white, however that may have changed the color on the singlet.

After 2-2: In a similar attempt with the first clip, I tried to change the entire tone of the clip – whereas it was sunny and warm, I wanted to create a cooler, wintery feel. To do this, I first made the shadows bluer, but also selected less tones to be considered the shadow. I also pushed down the midtones, giving more tones to be considered highlights, then gave it more blue, meaning the sky even bluer and colder. Finally I desaturated the very small scope of midtones that I had, but I think that probably wasn’t as successful as with the first clip.

Before 3

Before 3

Clip 3 is indoors lighting, with a very bright background.

After 3-1

After 3-1

After3.2

After 3-2

After 3-1: I wanted to make the clip look as if it is filmed in outdoors lighting, so I used yellow/orange midtones, and also brought up the brightness of the clip a little. I didn’t do much apart from that, but I think perhaps some tweaking of Luma to make the highlights brighter would have been effectively.

After 3-2: Feeling like making something ultra stylish, I purposefully used contrasting highlights vs midtones (opposite ends on the hue wheel), and also a purple shadow, much like the retro-pop art styles.

Before 4

Before 4

Clip 4 is overcast outdoors lighting, but my focus was the solid red in the foreground and the small reds throughout the mid-ground and background.

After 4-2

After 4-2

After 4-2

After 4-2

After 4-1: Using the secondary color grading tool, I opted to select only the red (using show mask), then inverted the selection. With everything but the reds selected, I desaturated everything. I think it worked very well, and if I had taken more time to more carefully select more red, I wouldn’t have the jagged lines of color.

After 4-2: This time, without inverting the selection, I rotated the color wheel so that all reds became purple. This actually brought out a lot of the inconsistent color selections that I didn’t notice before – when things look purple, especially in the skin, it becomes more apparent to the eye.

From the color grading exercise, I learned a few basic skills to change the tone and mood of a clip, as well some more artful techniques such as selective color grading. However, I feel that successful color grading – at least, color grading that either realistically emulates the chosen tone or achieves accurate matching to a previous shot – occurs only if the editor has a good grasp of not only how light and color works, but also how to best manipulate it. For example, making things bluer doesn’t necessarily make it colder, but desaturation of highlights do.

Note: The girl and boy featured areΒ my friends, who have given me permission to publish their image. The footage used are from a series of videos that I took for a separate subject.

Alex.

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I Only Want Sympathy In The Form Of You

[Dance Dance – Fall Out Boy]

This is from the life and laughs of this uni assignment

This really isn’t that fantastic a rant but I told myself to write at least 2 blog posts a week for CMEL.

I had this thought a few years ago:

I was walking home from school in Yr 8 I think it was, and it was around the time when Pokemon came out with FireRed and LeafGreen.

I remember that this caused my friend’s (apparently non-Pokemon literate) sister some confusion. We explained that FireRed and LeafGreen were revamps of the original Pokemon games for the GBA, so they’re essentially the same game but it looks better and a few more features, right?

Then she asked, “But weren’t the originals Red and Blue?”

I answered, “In Japan, when the games first came out, they had Red and Green. For some reason when the US picked it up, they changed Green to Blue. Obviously for the remake they decided to go back to green.”

She asked, “What difference does it make, apart from the fact that Blastoise got replaced with Venusaur?” (She didn’t actually say the names. She said “the big turtle thing with the water hose”, and “the big plant monster”.)

And at that point, the Yr 8 me started going off on a tangent about the meaning of words. My friend and his sister got very bored very quickly, but I think I’ll explain what I ranted about, to the extent that I remember:

There really isn’t that much of a difference aside from the fact that at the start you now get to choose Green as your name instead of Blue. Everything else is pretty much the same – the same Pokemon are available and inversely unavailable on LeafGreen as it was on Blue. So, really, it was just some stupid choice in words and colors.

I wondered (out loud), what got people to choose the words “blue” and “green”. My grandparents used to mix the words “blue” and “green” together (in Chinese) when describing something that is colored blue, and something that is colored green. Mostly, they use “green”. So for example, the grass is green, and my blue sweater is “green”. There probably is a historical/linguistic reason behind why older generation Chinese people do this, but I don’t know it.

Now, there is obviously a difference between “blue” and “green”. Blue is the color of the dashboard on this blog (unless of course you changed it) and green is what trees would look like if Melbourne left the drought. But why are there two different words (we say two, but let’s not argue over cerulean and celadon – yes, more Pokemon references) for these two different colors? Obviously my grandparents went through the better part of their lives differentiating between water and grass using the word “green”, so it’s not like the world will implode if we bunched those two together. And yet in school, Naiads, the blue house of water nymphs never cheered for Dryads, the green house of tree nymphs – or, for a much better metaphor, Ravenclaw never cheered for Slytherine. We would have been mortified if someone said that the blue house and the green house were “the green house” (especially the blue house).

We differentiate between these colors with our words because we want to, not because we need to. It makes life easier and more varied if we have two different words for what obviously can be a mixed concept. I know you’re probably thinking “yeah but if we say the ocean is green, we’re in for an environmental disaster and not doing anything about it” but that’s because you grew up being told the ocean is normal when it’s “blue”, and if it’s “green” it’s dirty. But we have words for “contaminated water” so it is feasible that we can go through life knowing the water is “green” but not to go in if it’s “contaminated”.

Anyway I want to get my 8 hours’ of sleep so I’m heading off. See how much thought Pokemon can provoke?

Alex.

P.S. Title has almost no relevance to the blog, which isn’t a great idea.

I will try my hardest to incorporate Pokemon into anything.

Alex.