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Color Management

30 Days of CS5: After Effects Color Finesse Program

I’ve spent the past several days highlighting the new tools in After Effects CS5 that help make your digital video look its very best. Today, I get to introduce you to perhaps the most powerful of these new features, the Color Finesse plugin from Synthetic Aperture, now bundled with After Effects CS5.  Photographers will find this plugin provides a familiar suite of tools including Levels, Curves, RGB histograms and even an RGB Info readout for color correction.

Color Finesse offers two views: 1) the Simplified Interface which appears within AE’s Effect Controls panel and 2) the Full Interface which opens the Plugin into a separate window. I find the Full Interface to be the easiest to work in as I can view the histograms and preview window and controls (Levels, Curves, etc). The preview window allows you to preview your footage in several useful formats including a split-window Before/After view, and a comparison to a reference image to help ensure consistency between clips, cameras and takes.

Included with the plugin are several presets for quickly performing stylized color corrections. While not as comprehensive as Red Giant’s Magic Bullet’s Looks, the presets provided are sufficient to get you started, providing a quick starting point for warming up your video footage or providing a quick Bleach Bypass effect.

Having a set of tools you already know makes it significantly easier to jump into the world of color grading and allows you to provide finished video footage to your clients faster and with a shorter learning curve.

Note: The Color Finesse plugin is not available in the Trial version of AECS5 and requires a separate serial number to unlock the plugin. Look on your install DVD or your download receipt for the serial number beginning with CFLE…


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