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Using Curves to Simulate Bleach ByPass

Using Curves to Simulate Bleach ByPass
CreativeCOW Adobe After Effects Tutorial


Using Curves to Simulate Bleach ByPass
Filip Vandueren Filip Vandueren
Belgium

©2005 Filip Vandueren and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Article Focus:
In this quick tutorial, Filip Vandueren would like to share a technique he uses a lot which in Belgium is called 'etalongage' or color-timing. It's a two step process which gets great results.



The terminology "Timing" is from the old-fashioned way of Film-transfers. I believe the process was something like this: By using separate Red Green And Blue lights and shining them for a specific time onto each frame of the negative, you get different color-balances on the positive print of the film.


So, let's begin. Here's the footage I'll use:


I'd like to change the colors using Curves, but when I try to achieve colorization, the saturation starts to run into it's limits, and you get ugly posterized stuff like this:



The trick is using a "bleach-pass"

Usually a de-saturated version of the footage is overlaid on the original, but I prefer screening the red-channel, not just the gray; you'll see why in a second.


1. The easiest way of doing the bleaching is using the Channel->Calculations-effect with these settings:

  • Input Channel: RGBA

  • Second Layer: Choose the layer you're working on

  • Second Layer Channel:Red

  • Second Layer Opacity:100%

  • Blending Mode: Screen

Here's the result:


The nice thing about using red is that it evens out and de-saturates the skin, but leaves detail in the eyes.

2. Now, when you use curves to reintroduce Contrast and create a new color-balance, you can go from subtle to pretty wild — and clichéd ;-) — color-treatments, but you keep a certain 'believability' in the color-change; just compare these to the 1st and 2nd picture in step 1.





3. Here's a variation with different curves



It's true, my way does lose some contrast and works best on footage that isn't too hot, like the footage I started with.

If the histogram is very white, I mainly correct that in with the RGB curve, achieving a similar thing as Gamma. I can also Clip the whites or Blacks there, so it gives me almost all the control I need with just 2 filters !

Please discuss this technique in the After Effects forum at Creativecow.net



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