Magic Bullet Colorista IV

The Keyer

The Keyer is a powerful, easy-to-use tool that allows you to isolate and adjust individual colors or ranges of colors. A custom interface window gives you a variety of tools to intuitively and directly sample colors. Create your key and then soften, choke or invert it. The Keyer operates in HSL space (Hue, Saturation, Lightness).

The Keyer can be used a variety of ways from fine-tuning flesh tones to boosting the look of trees, to adding subtle saturation to an image based on a midtones to increase vibrancy. By default, the Keyer looks at skin tones, which means its perfect as a skin retouching tool.

Important Note: Once a key is created, all color correction affects the keyed area only.

 second-key

Edit... Button

Click the Edit button to open the Keyer in its own window. You will not be able to access the other Colorista controls while the Keyer window is open.

Mode drop-down Menu

keyer-keymode

There are three mode choices:

  • Off: Turns off the keyer. This option is selected by default so that the default key, which selects skin tones, does not affect color adjustments. Toggling a Key on and off can be a useful way to quickly make sure your Key is producing the desired effect.
  • Apply: Turns on the keyer. This option is automatically selected when exiting the modal window for the Keyer. This option must be chosen to have the key affect the image.
  • Show Key: Shows the alpha matte overlay for the key in the main preview window in your NLE.

Keyer Window

There are four sections: Result View panel, Source View panel, Matte View panel and Tools panel.

The default state of the Keyer is to select a standard range of correct skin tones in your image. You don't select anything in the main Colorista interface; the Keyer will automatically decide for itself what to choose. If your skin tones are not correct, then the key will initially be off.

In the Tools panel are the Color Cube, Vectorscope and Color Parade. All three tools are linked together. These controls give you a lot of flexibility in how you want to define your color range because each tool allows you to select color in a different way. Combine these options with the Select, Add and Minus tools and you have very powerful, flexible choices. There are 99 levels of Undo in the Keyer.

Here is how you can approach the Keyer tools:

  1. Use the Select tool to drag along a range of colors. For instance, the purple in our model's sweater.
  2. Use the Add tool to add to the range of colors. Use the Subtract tool to remove from the range of colors.
  3. Notice the Color Cube has changed to show the Hue range, the Saturation range and Lightness range of the selected colors.
  4. Use the Color Cube, Vectorscope and/or Color Parade to further define the target color and its softness value.
keyer-chart

The View Panels

There are three View panels: Result, Source and Matte.

  • Result View: Shows any color correction as applied to the key over the source image.
  • Source View: Shows your original image. The Keyer always looks at the base source image and ignores any color correction imposed by Colorista.
  • Matte View: Shows the grayscale image that is the resulting key.

The panels are locked together for their preview, zoom and pan.

  • To preview, sample in any panel with the Select, Add and Subtract tools and the key will update its preview in all panels.
  • Zoom in and out of the panels with a roller mouse or a two-finger touch on a laptop pad. The zoom goes directly to your cursor point.
  • To pan, touch the spacebar and click-drag to pan the image. Move the cursor without holding the mouse button down to get out of pan mode.

Select, Add, Subtract Tools

These three tools let you select a base color range, add to the base range, or subtract from the base range. Do this by clicking and scrubbing any of the View panels. We call this sampling the 'scratch 'n sniff' method. These tools work in all three dimensions at once. Each click of the mouse will increase or decrease the range and feather slightly to expand or contract the target range of colors in the key.

  • Select tool: Drag a rectangular region that selects a range of colors; for instance, the purple in our model's sweater.
  • Add tool: Add to the target range of colors.
  • Subtract tool: Remove from the target range of colors.

Hue, Saturation, Lightness (HSL) checkboxes

The HSL checkboxes let you restrict the color selection to one, two or three dimensions.

By default, the checkboxes select for Hue, Saturation and Lightness. You can uncheck Lightness, for instance, and only select for Hue and Saturation. When you deselect an HSL dimension, the Tools and View panels will shift their display, sometimes quite radically. Turning on/off the HSL checkboxes can be a powerful way of getting very specific about the color and softness that you want to affect in your key.

Color Cube

The Color Cube is an indicator of the color and softness values selected in the keyer. The Color Cube is two-dimensional because it adjusts both the target color range and the softness.

There are three faces to the Color Cube:

  • Hue face: This adjustment is centered on the left-face of the Cube. If you drag up, you are increasing the color range and the feather. If you drag down, you are decreasing the color range and the feather. If you drag right or left, you are offsetting the color selection but the color range and softness remain the same.
  • Saturation face: This adjustment is centered on the top-face of the Cube. If you drag towards the left-face, you are increasing the Saturation. If you drag away from the left-face, you are decreasing the Saturation. If you drag left, you are decreasing the Saturation and the feather. If you drag right, you are increasing the Saturation and the feather.
  • Lightness face: This adjustment is centered on the right-face of the Cube. If you drag up, you are offsetting the Lightness range and the feather to select brighter values. If you drag down, you are offsetting the Lightness range and the feather to select darker values. If you drag towards the left-face, you are decreasing the Lightness range and feather. If you drag away from the left-face, you are increasing the Lightness range and feather.

All of these offsets are reflected in the Vectorscope and Lightness Parade as you drag and change the values.

Click and drag the center point to change the target; this does not affect the range. In the arrow that appears, the solid lines indicate the target color, while the dotted lines are the softness. Color range and feather are tied together for any Color Cube adjustment.

keyer-colorcube

Hue Strip, Saturation Strip, Lightness Strip

Each face of the Color Cube has an associated Indicator Strip. There is a Hue Strip, Saturation Strip and Lightness Strip. The Indicator Strip has interactive areas that execute the same HSL color offset as moving along the Cube.

To change Hue with the Hue Strip, for instance, drag along the interior part of the strip. A solid arrow line will indicate your movement. To change only one side of the Hue range, drag along the edge of the strip. A dotted arrow line will indicate this movement.

The difference between the Cube faces and the Strips is that for the strip, each change is in one dimension (for instance, Hue) while the Color Cube faces each work in two dimensions (for instance, Hue and Saturation). Another difference is that an Indicator Strip will change only the color range and not the feather, while the Color Cube affects both.

Vectorscope

The Vectorscope shows the overall distribution of color in your image against a circular scale. This is a two-dimensional graph (Hue and Saturation).

The Vectorscope wheel works like a Hue wheel. The color range is mapped radially from red to orange to yellow, green, cyan, blue, purple, magenta and back to red. The saturation of colors in the image is mapped from the center to the edge of the wheel, with unsaturated gray at the center and fully saturated colors at the edge. The bands show the resolution for different colors along the Saturation vector, from no saturation to full saturation.

The box drawn over the Vectorscope has two indicators:

  • Selection Box: The solid line which shows the color region that is completely selected.
  • Softness Box: The dotted line which shows the region of softness (or feather) around the color selection.

Both indicators are interactive along the Vectorscope.

  • Drag along one side of the Selection Box to increase or decrease the selected color range.
  • One side will collect more values of that color (for instance, magenta) towards white, or lower Saturation.
  • Click-and-drag along the other side to add more values of magenta with greater Saturation.

As you create softness in the Vectorscope, you correspondingly create softness in the Color Cube. The Color Cube is an indicator of the color range and the softness of the key superimposed on the Vectorscope. You also correspondingly create Lightness in the Lightness Parade.

vectorscope-graph

Lightness Parade

The Lightness Parade is an indicator of the Lightness values associated with the color range shown in the Vectorscope. This is a one-dimensional graph (Lightness only).

The box drawn over the Lightness Parade has two indicators:

  • Selection Box: The solid line which shows the Lightness region that is completely selected.
  • Softness Box: The dotted line which shows the region of softness (or feather) around the Lightness selection.

Both indicators are interactive along the Lightness Parade.

  • Click-drag in the center of the Selection Box to shift the Lightness range.
  • Click-drag the edge of the Selection Box to increase or decrease the Lightness range of the selection.
  • Click-drag in the center of the Softness Box to shift the softness of the Lightness range.
  • Click-drag the edge of the Softness Box to increase or decrease the softness of the Lightness range of the selection.

Softness Slider

One of three controls that further refine the key. Softness is a simple blur with a twist. The Softness operates directly on the key that results from the color range selection, and blurs the key as a percentage of the image size. If a Black Clip or White Clip is set, then the Softness results in more of an edge feather around the clipped values.

Black Clip, White Clip

The other two controls that further refine your key. The Clips operate directly on the key, and force the values that are above or below the indicator to clip at that value or choke the map. If you move the White Clip indicator towards the middle of the scale, it will clip all of the values above the indicator towards white, making everything that is indicated as light gray become white. Move the Black Clip indicator towards the middle of the scale to clip all of the values below the indicator towards black. In either case, the control forces gray values to become white or black, depending upon which indicator you use.

Invert Button

Inverts the key. White areas become black, black areas become white, and the gray values flip in between.