March 29, 2011

After Effects A-Z: Brightness & Contrast

Motionworks' tour of built-in AE filters continues with a few words on the Brightness & Contrast effect (AE Help) with guest presenter Topher Welsh.

Beyond that we can note that in Photoshop, Brightness & Contrast is much improved, though those improvements haven't trickled down to Afters Effects and Premiere. In AE the effect even seems different than the Legacy option in Photoshop, thought it hardly matters since you're better off with Levels or Curves anyway. For a good illustrative look at limitations (using the waveform levels monitor in Premiere), see Color Correction 1: Brightness & Contrast by Andrew Devis.

For an in-depth intro to controlling color in AE with the standard Adobe tools, see Adobe After Effects CS5 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques by Mark Christiansen. It's really the best place to learn how to use these tools in AE, and builds the foundations for mastering procedural mattes for compositing.

If you need a free option, happily there's videos at from Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced by Deke McClelland, with a whole section that covers the basics of Level, Curves, and related effects in detail. See also the free infographics Levels Quick Reference Guide (thanks for the picture) and Curves Quick Reference Guide by John Dickinson, as well as some useful tutorials at Cambridge in Colour.

To go a bit deeper see AE Portal references Waveform, vectorscope, and basic color correction and White balance + more with Color Finesse.

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