Red Giant BulletProof

Colorista 3-Way

Colorista 3-Way lets you change the color of the shadows, midtones and highlights for your clip. The wheels are arranged in a triangle, with Shadow on the left, Midtone on the right and Highlight in the middle position.

The BulletProof pipeline. Colorista 3-Way is a good step to getting balance, saturation and exposure correct for your footage.

Already know Red Giant? If you’re familiar with our Red Giant Colorista II and Magic Bullet Looks 2 products, then you will recognize these 3-Way wheels. They function the same in BulletProof as they do in Colorista and Looks.



The three color wheels

The 3-Way wheels correspond to the color grading concepts of Lift, Gamma and Gain. In our wheels, Lift = Shadow, Gamma = Midtones, Gain = Highlights.

Shadow wheel

Shadow sets the black level in the footage. You add density or darkness when you move the Shadow color. You can raise or lower the Shadow levels with its Luminance control. You can offset the color balance in the Shadow regions with the Hue Point. Moving toward any of the colored regions pushes the color balance toward that color, moving from unsaturated at the center to completely saturated color at the edge.

Midtone wheel

Midtone changes the mid-tones in the footage, shifting the middle tones to be darker or brighter. For instance, to make your image more warm, just move the Midtone dot toward the yellow/red area of the wheel — the more you move to the outside of the wheel, the more 'warm' the image becomes.

Highlight wheel

Highlight lets you set the white level in the footage. The Highlight wheel will brighten and tint the entire image but it mostly affects the highlights.

R, G, B numeric entry

Each of the nine colors corresponds to a color dot in the wheels. Numbers can be scrubbed to reach a value. You can also type in a numeric value. Double-click a number to reset its value to 0.


This slider works like an Amount control. Less Strength lowers the effect of the color adjustment.


This slider affects the bright colorfulness of the color adjustment. Less Saturation makes the colors less bright.



How to use 3-Way correction

We recommend the following order of operation for adjustment.

  • First, move the Shadow Luminance, then the Highlight Luminance, and then Midtone Luminance controls. This will get a proper balance for the lightness in the image.
  • Then use each of the color offset controls in the same order (Shadow, then Highlight, then Midtone) to adjust the color tone for each range.
  • Setting the color offset is not necessary for all three wheels. We do recommend adjusting the Midtones to counteract the prevailing color if you used Primary Auto Balance.
  • Moving the Shadow color wheel can add inky blues or warmth to your shadows.

Workflow Note. The 3-Way wheel controls may sometimes react slowly, but for a very good reason. Unlike many color tools, Colorista II gives you a real-time preview every time you make a change. Every time you scrub a number or move a color dot, you get a real-time update of its effects in the Viewer. All the pixels for that operation are recalculated and all the operations above it are recalculated as well for a very accurate update.

Highlight has red added, Shadow has blue added, and Strength is 80%.



Anatomy of the color wheel

Now let's look at the specifics of how to use these powerful 3-Way tools.

Each color wheel is divided into Hue, Saturation and Luminance controls. The wheel has four parts: Hue Point, Hue Shift, Saturation Shift and Saturation Shift. Value range of each is 0-100%; default value is 0%.

Hue Point

A two-dimensional control that adjusts Hue and Saturation together. It is a dot inside the wheel that moves along the Hue axis and Saturation axis.

  • It always appears as a 100% Saturation version of whatever color is picked.
  • Hold the Shift key to constrain the dot for Hue-only changes.
  • Hue Point and Luminance Shift combine to set the target color.


Hue Shift

A one-dimensional control that adjusts Hue only. It is a chip on the outskirts of the wheel that moves along the Hue axis.

  • As you move the Hue Shift chip around the wheel, it rotates the Hue Point dot along the center of the ring.
  • The chip always reflects the exact color that it is sitting over. This control lets you adjust Hue without changing Saturation, giving you finer and more accurate control.

For instance, let's say you are working on skin tones and you know the Saturation level is correct but the Hue is wrong. You can change the Hue only, perhaps make it more yellow than orange, without touching the Saturation.


Saturation Shift

A one-dimensional control that adjusts Saturation only. It is a color gradient with a white chip along the left side of the wheel.

  • Moving the Saturation Shift slider moves the Hue Point dot in a corresponding fashion, along the axis of most saturated to least saturated point of the same color.
  • Move the chip upward to increase the Saturation of the color it is affecting. When the chip is all the way towards the top, the color is at full saturation.
  • Move the chip down (towards gray) to decrease the Saturation of that color. When its chip is in the gray area, the Saturation has gone towards white at the same Luminance level.


Luminance Shift

A one-dimensional control that adjusts the Luminance. It is a grayscale gradient with a black chip along the right side of the wheel.

  • Move the chip upward (towards white) to increase the brightness level of the image.
  • Move the chip down (toward black) to decrease the brightness level.
  • Hue Point and Luminance Shift combine to set the target color.



How Midtone is calculated

Our Midtone, or gamma, control works in a unique way. The Midtone calculation protects changes in the Shadows and Highlights. In many other correction tools, when you shift the midtones, you also inadvertently lift the shadows and clip the highlights at extreme values.

In our Midtone calculation, there is a little toe at each end of the gamma curve that prevents it from touching changes to the absolute white and absolute black points. The gamma does a mathematically smooth curve, so the gamma change gives you a smooth result in the shadows and highlights, and protects them from data loss and radical adjustment.

At left, a regular gamma is typically clipped at its white and black points. At right, our Midtone calculation blends at either side of the gamma.