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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #45

Turn your brown eyes blue By Stephen Schleicher

The Final Cut Pro HD Color Corrector 3-way effect is a great way to correct video.  In the upgrade from 4 to 4.5, the Limit Effect feature has become a bit hidden.  In this Final Cut Pro Quick Tip, Ill walk you through the steps on how to isolate a particular color in your shot to turn someones brown eyes blue, or to achieve a Pleasantville effect.

If you havent used the Three Way Color Corrector effect in Final Cut Pro, then you either have perfect video, or you dont know that the effect is there.  This is easily one of the more powerful, easy to use, great result effects available in a NLE.  A sub feature of the color corrector is an option to limit your color correcting to a specific color range.  If you just need to correct the color of the leaves of a tree, the blue of the sky, or to change a normally red lady bug to a purple neon one, then you will need to use the Limit Effect option.

Step 1:  With your clip in the Timeline, double click it to load the clip into the Viewer window, and apply the Color Corrector 3-way effect from Effects>Video Filters>Color Correction>Color Corrector 3-way.


Step 2:  The default interface for the Color Corrector 3-way effect has the Limit Effect feature minimized.  Open the feature by clicking on the twirl down arrow.

Click for larger image.

Here is a quick breakdown of the controls:
The color bar represents the color range of the Hue being affected.  The handles on the top and bottom do two different things.  The top handles serve as a broad modifier affecting the width of the selection, while the bottom handles serve more as a refinement tool for fine tuning the color range.

The Saturation range allows you to include or exclude colors that are more or less saturated than your original selection.

If you want to include or exclude lighter or darker shades of the selected color, you use the Luma selector and its handles.

Because it can sometimes be difficult to select every pixel of a color especially with subtle gradients or when working with DV video you have two controls for controlling the Matte that is being created; Edge Thin and Softening.   You can think of these two as Matte Choke and Matte Feather.

Finally you have the eye dropper tool, which allows you to select the color you are trying to isolate.  The Key icon allows you to cycle between the Final view, the Matte view, and the original Source view.  The last icon allows you to invert the selection.

Step 3:  Click on the eye dropper tool and in the Canvas Window click on the item you are trying to isolate.

Because we are dealing with a real world object, a single click will probably not give us the entire color range of the object (in our case a green apple).  By selecting the eye dropper tool again and Shift+clicking, we can refine our color selections.

Step 4:  To really see what we have selected, click on the Key icon to change the view to Matte View.

Chance are you are going to end up with something that is less than perfect.  It is now time to use the handles to refine our selection.

From the Matte View, we can see we need to widen the Hue selector to include more green.  To pick up some of the darker areas, adjust the handles for Saturation and Luma as well.

Click for larger image.

Be careful when adjusting the Luma range as you dont want to have all of the highlights selected.

After you are satisfied with the matte, click the Key icon to switch back to the Final View.

Step 5:  You are now able to use the three color wheels to adjust the Hue of the Blacks, Mids, and Whites of the image.

Step 6:  Now suppose you want to isolate only one color and desaturate the rest of image.  You simply follow the same procedure and select the color range you wish to keep, but instead of adjusting the color wheels, click on the Invert Selection button.  Then all you have to do is drag the Saturation slider to zero.

This process is not perfect.  There is a good chance you will be picking up colors in other parts of your image.  The solution is to use a garbage matte to isolate the specific objects in your shot.

Click for larger image.

With more fine tuning and continued work with this aspect of the Color Corrector 3-way effect, you will have even more control over the color of your next project.

For a complete list of all of the Final Cut Pro Quick Tips, visit my website 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:color correction, isolation, limit effect, Non Linear Editor, Final Cut Pro, apple, color corrector 3-way, schleicher, tutorial

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