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Colorista II

A first look at Red Giants anticipated new release! By Kevin McAuliffe

Looking at plug-ins from a developer's perspective, I'd have to say that color correction plug-ins must be the hardest to develop.  The reason being is that every NLE and compositing application on the market has a (or a few) color correction effect that comes with the program, so the trick is, how do you convince people to buy another one?  In many cases it's easy, as the color correction plug-in may stink for the NLE, so a third-party one is an easy choice, but when it comes to a program like After Effects, competing with Color Finesse 3 (that comes with AE CS5) can be tricky, but if there is one company out there determined to do it, it's Red Giant Software and their flagship color correction application Colorista.  For all you Colorista users, it's time to get excited, because as you are reading this, Colorista II is now available for download and purchase from the Red Giant Software website.  Let's see if Colorista will be your color correction plug-in of choice.

INSTALLATION

As I just mentioned, Colorista II is now available to download from the Red Giant Software website.  The file is relatively small, coming in at under 10mb, so the install will take longer than the download.  Colorista II (C2) is 32 and 64-bit ready, so no matter which AE (CS3/CS4/CS5) version you are using, Red Giant has you covered.  C2 is also supported in Premiere Pro CS3/CS4/CS5 as well as Final Cut Pro.



As of right now, Final Cut Express, Motion (no FXPlug?), Vegas and Media Composer editors are out of luck, as there is not support for you yet. All in all, you will be up and running in about ten minutes.


 




WHAT YOU GET AND HOW IT WORKS

Now, I want to start out this section by mentioning that C2 and Colorista 1 (C1) are not compatible with each other.  That means that if you have a comp/timeline with Colorista effects in it, it will not update automatically.  Now, Red Giant Software has taken your frustration with the thought of having to rebuild your C1 effects in C2 into account, and they have included C1 in with C2, so that way, all your legacy projects will open, and be able to be altered with little to no work on your part.  High Five!  It's a little thing, but the little things can help immensely.

Colorista users are going to notice the change is C2 right away, as you can see from the below image.




Gone are the "standard" Lift, Gamma and Gain wheels, the White Balance eyedropper, Saturation/Exposure and Power Mask controls (Yes, that was it as far as tools in the original Colorista).  Now, C2 has been divided into "boxes" to handle its color correction.  This major enhancement to C2 now makes it feel more like a professional color correction tool.  Looking at the Primary "box", we now not only have control over lift, gamma and gain, but we now also have two Primary HSL color wheels to tackle individual colors in our primary color space.




Moving onto the Secondary "box", we have a two of my favorite new features.  Now, Secondary color correction is where most color correction plug-ins fall flat, as the keyer is less than stellar.  Not here, though.  RGS has built the "Colorista Keyer".




Now, you can isolate a color by simply selecting color you want in your image using the drag box tool, and once you have it, simply use the "+" and "-" tools to "color" out the parts of the image you don't want, inside the "matte window.





I love the fact that the tool is re-sizeable, so no matter what type of monitor you are using, you can get the window the size you need 

My other favorite new feature in the Secondary "box" is one that can easily be overlooked, but one that shouldn't be missed.  And I'm talking about the "Pop" parameter.  Mojo users will be familiar with how it's used, as all of Mojo's controls work very similar, and it does exactly what you would think.  It adds a little extra "pop" to your secondary color correction.  Simply drag the parameter left or right depending on how much, or how little "Pop" you want.  Simple, yet very effective.

Next, we have the Master "box".  This would be used once your primary and secondary color corrections are complete, and you want to give your newly adjusted show one last overall look that will effect both primary and secondary.  Located inside this "box" is another great new feature, and that is the ability to adjust your "Master Curves".  Now, all of your manipulation of the curves will be done from parameters below the curves window, not by clicking and dragging on the curve itself.




Lastly, we have the "Options" box, where there is another feature that Mojo users will be familiar with, and that is the "Show Skin overlay" checkbox is.  This is a great way to get C2 to show you what "proper" skin tones should be as you are color correcting your shots.  This way, you don't stray to far away from a normal looking skin hue, and give someone a "sunburn" they didn't want.

All in all, I have only scratched the surface of what is new in C2.  I think they need to rename and sell the first one as Colorista Lite, and this new one can be just Colorista, as the upgrades that RGS has given to this plug-in really make it stand out from the others, and make it one of the few single (not in a package) plug-ins worth picking up and adding to your color correction collection.

PROS
- Major enhancement over Colorista 1
- The "Colorista Keyer" is awesome
- Use the color wheels or punch in values manually
- Love the new "Pop" feature
- Every improvement was well thought out, and implemented


CONS
- $100 price increase may scare away potential buyers (but it shouldn't!)
- FCP but no Motion version (FXPlug???)

I was glad to see that when Red Giant went to update Colorista, they didn't just throw in a couple of new features, they went back to the drawing board, looked at what Colorista did well, and what it didn't do at all, an made HUGE steps to make it a product worth picking up, or upgrading to.  I can easily see Colorista II becoming part of my post production process in the future.  Oh, and in case you were wondering, I asked my Red Giant rep about the inclusion of C2 in the Magic Bullet Suite, and I was told "Magic Bullet Colorista II will be part of Magic Bullet Suite 10 when it ships later this summer".  The summer just got even better! You can get more details, and download the free demo of Colorista II at www.redgiantsoftware.com.


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Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at kevinpmcauliffe@gmail.com


Related Keywords:red giant, colorista, color correction, plugin, after effects, fcp, adobe premiere, visual effects, di, digital intermediates

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