The response so far on my upcoming book has been wonderful, so I wanted to give you more than a tease of what’s to come. I’m working on my last chapter right now (!), and it’s all about mastering or onlining your film. It probably won’t surprise you that I advocate doing this in After Effects rather than your NLE software. The power and control AE offers is just too much to ignore. But for all that power, there’s one big piece of the puzzle missing, and that’s a simple, elegant, telecine-style color-correction tool for coloring or grading your movie.
Enter Rebel CC. Although not as awesome as a real plug-in, this Animation Preset uses color swatches to drive a Levels effect using rather deep expressions.
You start by eyedropering your blacks, whites, and grays to optimize the image. These steps are optional—you can do them or not, or you can do only one or two of them if you don’t need to do all three. The eyedropper method is a nice fast way to perform the first stage in color grading: grading for consistency.
You perform the next step, grading for look, by using the color picker as a makeshift color wheel. Not as fast or interactive as one might like, but the control is there. You can set colors for shadows, midtones, and highlights, and you can even recover color information that may have gotten lost when you sampled your black and white points.
But why read about Rebel CC when you can watch about it? I made this quick video to show it off:
and place it in your Presets folder (in your After Effects application folder).
(Updated 061022 1:00pm PST to fix a compatibility bug)
See also: Colorista Free