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Quick Change

Using Adobe After Effects Change to Color effect By Stephen Schleicher
Ever go on a shoot, only to come back and hear the client say, "Gosh I wish the (insert name here) would have worn a green shirt instead of a red one". Now you can satisfy the client by using one of the color changing effects in After Effects.

The After Effects Change to Color effect does just as the name implies, it take a sampled color and coverts it to another color of your choice. The effect is a really easy one, but one you may not have known existed. It doesnt come as part of the After Effects Standard or Production Bundles, but if you have purchased the Plug-in Power Pack from Adobe (www.adobe.com) for a mere $25, you would have it installed and ready to go.

Here is how easy the plug-in is to use.

In the following image, there is an assortment of crayons; the one we are concerned with is the red one in the middle. The client would rather have made this one green instead.

Load the image (or footage) into After Effects and add it to the composition. From the Effect menu select Image Control>Change to Color and apply it to the crayon layer.

In the Effect Controls Palette, use the Eyedropper Tool to highlight the region in the image that you wish to change. For this exercise, instead of clicking on the actual crayon, I selected the reddish-pink wrapper.

Once that is selected, use the Eyedropper Tool to select the color you would like to change the color too, or use the color picker. Here I used the color picker to select a green color.

Once the Change to Color has been selected, the results are instantly displayed in the Comp Window. For this exercise, no other tweaking needs to be done, however there are a few things that need to be pointed out.

If you click on the View Correction Matte button, you will be able to see the matte that is being extracted from the color sample that was selected. Here you can see that there are other areas of the screen, which are also undergoing a color change (but very small changes). Some of the shadows are also tinted a slight red due to the Radiosity of the other crayons. While not highly noticeable in this image, if you are working with a clip that has more colors present, you might have stray pixel issues.

There are two ways you can correct this. The first would be to adjust the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness Tolerance values to tighten the mask. The second would be to create a mask around the element that needs to be changed - in this case the red crayon, but it could just as easily be someones eyes, jacket, or car.

There are 16 new effects in the Adobe After Effects Plug-in Power Pack. Most are very much worth the upgrade, and at $25, the collection is worth the price.

When not working deep in the labs of the DMN Central Division testing the latest and greatest software/hardware products Stephen Schleicher can be found at the local university teaching a few courses on video and web production. He can be reached at schleicher@mindspring.com. You can also visit him on the web at www.mindspring.com/~schleicher

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Stephen Schleicher is a well known writer, visual effects artist and media guru! You can see more of Stephen at
www.majorspoilers.com and www.stephenschleicher.com
Related Keywords:After Effects, Adobe, Schleicher, color change, plug-in power pack, filter, effects

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