Grading Secondaries in SpeedGrade

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the SpeedGrade webinar with Jeff August last week! In case you missed it, we’ll have a recording of the webinar available in a few days. In this post we’re taking a look at how to apply secondaries in Adobe SpeedGrade CS6.

Secondary color corrections are applied to specific colors within your images – as opposed to primary color corrections which affect the whole image.

For each secondary, you select a color range, and then apply adjustments to just those pixels. Secondary adjustments allow you to accent, modify, or tone down parts of your image. With SpeedGrade, secondary color corrections are added as individual grading layers within the overall grade.

To start, load a clip in SpeedGrade and decide which part of the image you want to adjust. Secondaries can be tricky! I recommend an easily distinguished color when you are learning.

As with almost all grading work, it’s best to make sure your blacks and whites are balanced first, along with any other basic color correcting. In this clip I did the balancing and then used the temperature slider to warm the shot up slightly.

Secondary corrections are applied to specific colors in the image.

Secondary corrections are applied to specific colors in the image.

Once the overall image looks good, click the +S button at the bottom of the Layer pane to add a secondary grading layer. The secondary grading tools open in the main pane of the Look panel.

Click the eyedropper tool and drag with the pointer (cross hairs) over the area you want to adjust. In my case I started with a pretty broad sample, dragging back and forth across the pink dress.

To see the area you have selected, click on the Gray-out pull-down menu, and then choose Color/Gray

The Gray-out function allows you to see just the area of the image you want to adjust.

The Gray-out function allows you to see just the area of the image you want to adjust.

With the area visually isolated by the gray-out, use the triangular handles on the secondary color range sliders to fine-tune the selection. The sliders adjust the range and falloff for hue, lightness, and saturation.

Sliders allow you to adjust the range and falloff for hue, lightness, and saturation in your color selection.

Sliders allow you to adjust the range and falloff for hue, lightness, and saturation in your color selection.

Getting the range right is the big trick with secondary grading! In some lighting conditions, or with subtle colors, such as skin tones, you may need to spend some time to get the range just right. You may need to create several secondary layers for different parts of a particularly finicky color range.

Once you like your selection, set the Gray-out pulldown back to None so that you can see the whole image again.

Apply the adjustments you want to make. Toggle visibility on the secondary layer to compare the before/after.

Toggle visibility for the grading layer.

Toggle visibility for the grading layer.

Another useful trick is to soften the edges of the color range and smooth variations with the blur and denoise sliders on the right side of the Secondary grading pane.

Secondary adjustments make the color of the dress more prominent in this shot.

Secondary adjustments make the color of the dress more prominent in this shot.

Keep playing with secondaries! They are a powerful component of the SpeedGrade toolset.

Interested in SpeedGrade? Buy SpeedGrade, or download the free SpeedGrade CS6 30-day trial.
For help, or any technical questions, visit the SpeedGrade user forums.

FXPhD has a new course on SpeedGrade! Check out their SpeedGrade CS6 intro video.

 

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