For general information about color correction and color adjustment, including links to tutorials and other resources, see Color correction, color grading, and color adjustment.

Third-party effects in this category included with After Effects:

  • CC Color Neutralizer effect

  • CC Color Offset effect

  • CC Kernel effect

  • CC Toner effect

Lumetri Color effect

After Effects provides you professional-quality Lumetri Color grading and color correction tools that let you grade your footage directly on your timeline. You can access the Lumetri Color effect from the Color Correction category of the Effects menu and the Effects & Presets panel. Lumetri Color is GPU-accelerated for faster performance. Using these tools, you can adjust color, contrast, and light in your sequences in new and innovative ways. With editing and color grading working hand in hand, you can freely move between editing and grading tasks without the need to export or launch a separate grading application.

The Color workspace is designed not just for experienced colorists but also for editors who are new to color grading. You can apply simple color corrections or complex Lumetri Looks using intuitive sliders and controls. Or you can easily adjust cuts or fine-tune grades using advanced color correction tools like curves and color wheels.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

The Lumetri Color effect works the same as the color panel in Premiere Pro. To learn more about using the Lumetri Color effect, see Color workflows.

Auto Color and Auto Contrast effects

The Auto Color effect adjusts the contrast and color of an image after analyzing the shadows, midtones, and highlights of the image. The Auto Contrast effect adjusts the overall contrast and mixture of colors. Each effect maps the lightest and darkest pixels in the image to white and black, and then redistributes the intermediate pixels. The result is that highlights appear lighter and shadows appear darker.

Because Auto Contrast and Auto Color don’t adjust channels individually, they don’t introduce or remove color casts.

The Auto Levels effect uses many of the same controls as the Auto Color and Auto Contrast effects.

Note:

A quick way to remove (or at least reduce) the flicker caused by fluctuations in exposure and color from one frame to the next is to apply the Auto Color effect. This is useful, for example, in reducing the flicker of old film or for correcting for the flickering color of a light source.

These effects work with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Temporal Smoothing

The range of adjacent frames, in seconds, analyzed to determine the amount of correction needed for each frame, relative to its surrounding frames. If Temporal Smoothing is 0, each frame is analyzed independently, without regard for surrounding frames. Temporal Smoothing can result in smoother looking corrections over time.

Scene Detect

If selected, frames beyond a scene change are ignored when surrounding frames are analyzed for temporal smoothing.

Black Clip, White Clip

How much of the shadows and highlights are clipped to the new extreme shadow and highlight colors in the image. Setting the clipping values too high reduces detail in the shadows or highlights. A value in the range from 0.0% to 1% is recommended. By default, shadow and highlight pixels are clipped by 0.1%—that is, the first 0.1% of either extreme is ignored when the darkest and lightest pixels in the image are identified. The lowest and highest values within the range after clipping are then mapped to output black and output white. This method ensures that input black and input white values are based on representative rather than extreme pixel values.

Snap Neutral Midtones (Auto Color only)

Identifies an average nearly neutral color in the frame and then adjusts the gamma values to make the color neutral.

Blend With Original

The transparency of the effect. The result of the effect is blended with the original image, with the effect result composited on top. The higher you set this value, the less the effect affects the layer. For example, if you set this value to 100%, the effect has no visible result on the layer; if you set this value to 0%, the original image doesn’t show through.

Auto Levels effect

The Auto Levels effect maps the lightest and darkest values in each color channel in the image to white and black, and then redistributes the intermediate values. As a result, highlights appear lighter and shadows appear darker. Because Auto Levels adjusts each color channel individually, it may remove or introduce color casts.

See Auto Color and Auto Contrast effects for explanations of the controls for this effect.

Note:

A quick way to remove (or at least reduce) the flicker caused by fluctuations in exposure from one frame to the next is to apply the Auto Levels effect. This is useful, for example, in reducing the flicker of old film.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Auto Levels effect
Original (left), and with effect applied (right)

Black & White effect

The Black & White effect converts a color image to grayscale, providing control over how individual colors are converted.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Decrease or increase the property value for each color component to convert that color channel to a darker or lighter shade of gray.

To tint the image with a color, select Tint and click the color swatch or eyedropper to specify a color.

The Black & White effect is based on the Black & White adjustment layer type in Photoshop.

Richard Harrington provides a video tutorial on the Creative COW website that demonstrates the use of the Black & White effect.

Brightness & Contrast effect

The Brightness & Contrast effect adjusts the brightness and contrast of an entire layer (not individual channels). The default value of 0.0 indicates that no change is made. Using the Brightness & Contrast effect is the easiest way to make simple adjustments to the tonal range of the image. It adjusts all pixel values in the image at once—highlights, shadows, and midtones.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

Rich Young collects tutorials and resources about the Brightness & Contrast effect and alternatives to it on his After Effects Portal website.

Broadcast Colors effect

Note:

The Color Finesse plug-in included with After Effects includes excellent tools that can help you keep your colors within the broadcast-safe range. For more information, see the Color Finesse documentation in the Color Finesse subfolder in the Plug-ins folder. (See Plug-ins.)

The Broadcast Colors effect alters pixel color values to keep signal amplitudes within the range allowed for broadcast television.

Use the Key Out Unsafe and Key Out Safe settings for How To Make Color Safe to determine which portions of the image the Broadcast Colors effect affects at the current settings.

Note:

A more reliable way to keep colors within the broadcast-safe range for your output type is to use color management features to set the output color profile accordingly, such as to SDTV (Rec. 601 NTSC). This method ensures that color values in the range 0.0–1.0 in your working color space are converted to broadcast-safe values. (See Broadcast-safe colors.)

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Broadcast Locale

The broadcast standard for your intended output. NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) is the North American standard and is also used in Japan. PAL (Phase Alternating Line) is used in most of Western Europe and South America.

How To Make Color Safe

How to reduce signal amplitude:

Reduce Luminance

Reduces the brightness of a pixel by moving it toward black. This setting is the default.

Reduce Saturation

Moves the color of a pixel toward a gray of similar brightness, making the pixel less colorful. For the same IRE level, reducing saturation alters the image more noticeably than does reducing luminance.

Maximum Signal Amplitude (IRE)

The maximum amplitude of the signal in IRE units. A pixel with a magnitude above this value is altered. The default is 110. Lower values affect the image more noticeably; higher values are more risky.

Change Color effect

The Change Color effect adjusts the hue, lightness, and saturation of a range of colors.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

View

Corrected Layer shows the results of the Change Color effect. Color Correction Mask shows a grayscale matte that indicates the areas of the layer that will be changed. White areas in the color correction mask are changed the most, and dark areas are changed the least.

Hue Transform

The amount, in degrees, to adjust hue.

Lightness Transform

Positive values brighten the matched pixels; negative values darken them.

Saturation Transform

Positive values increase saturation of matched pixels (moving toward pure color); negative values decrease saturation of matched pixels (moving toward gray).

Color To Change

The central color in the range to be changed.

Matching Tolerance

How much colors can differ from Color To Change and still be matched.

Matching Softness

The amount that the effect affects unmatched pixels, in proportion to their similarity to Color To Change.

Match Colors

Determines the color space in which to compare colors to determine similarity. RGB compares colors in an RGB color space. Hue compares the hues of colors, ignoring saturation and brightness—so bright red and light pink match, for example. Chroma uses the two chrominance components to determine similarity, ignoring luminance (lightness).

Invert Color Correction Mask

Inverts the mask that determines which colors to affect.

Change To Color effect

The Change To Color effect (formerly Change Color HLS effect) changes a color you select in an image to another color using hue, lightness, and saturation (HLS) values, leaving other colors unaffected.

Change To Color offers flexibility and options unavailable in the Change Color effect. These options include tolerance sliders for hue, lightness, and saturation for exact color matching, and the ability to select the exact RGB values of the target color that you want to change to.

Carl Larsen provides a video tutorial on the Creative COW website that demonstrates the use of the Change To Color effect to remove color fringes caused by chromatic aberration.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Change To Color effect
Original image (upper-left), with saturation removed in the planet (lower-left), and with light green changed to yellow in the planet (lower-right)

From

The center of the color range to change.

To

The color to change matched pixels to.

Tip: To animate a color change, set keyframes or expressions for the To color.

Change

Which channels the effect affects.

Change By

How to change colors. Setting To Color performs a direct change of affected pixels to the target color. Transforming To Color transforms affected pixel values toward the target color, using HLS interpolation; the amount of change for each pixel depends on how close the color of the pixel is to the From color.

Tolerance

How much colors can differ from the From color and still be matched. Expand this control to reveal separate sliders for Hue, Lightness, and Saturation values.

Note:

Use the View Correction Matte option to better identify which pixels are matched and affected.

Softness

The amount of feather to use for the edges of the correction matte. Higher values create smoother transitions between areas affected by the color change and unaffected areas.

View Correction Matte

Shows a grayscale matte that indicates the amount to which the effect affects each pixel. White areas are changed the most, and dark areas are changed the least.

Channel Mixer effect

The Channel Mixer effect modifies a color channel using a mix of the current color channels. Use this effect to make creative color adjustments not easily done with the other color adjustment tools: Create high-quality grayscale images by choosing the percentage contribution from each color channel, create high-quality sepia-tone or other tinted images, and swap or duplicate channels.

output channel]-[input channel

The percentage of the input channel value to add to the output channel value. For example, a Red-Green setting of 10 increases the value of the red channel for each pixel by 10% of the value of the green channel for that pixel. A Blue-Green setting of 100 and a Blue-Blue setting of 0 replaces the blue channel values with the green channel values.

output channel]-Const

The constant value (as a percentage) to add to the output channel value. For example, a Red-Const setting of 100 saturates the red channel for every pixel by adding 100% red.

Monochrome

Uses the value of the red output channel for the red, green, and blue output channels, creating a grayscale image.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Color Balance effect

The Color Balance effect changes the amount of red, green, and blue in the shadows, midtones, and highlights of an image.

Preserve Luminosity preserves the average brightness of the image while changing the color. This control maintains the tonal balance in the image.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Color Balance (HLS) effect

The Color Balance (HLS) effect alters the hue, lightness, and saturation of an image. This effect is intended only to provide compatibility with projects created in earlier versions of After Effects that use the Color Balance (HLS) effect. For new projects, use the Hue/Saturation effect, which operates the same as the Hue/Saturation command in Adobe Photoshop. You can convert a movie to grayscale by setting the Saturation to –100.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

The Color Link effect colorizes one layer with the average pixel values of another layer. This effect is useful for quickly finding a color that matches the color of a background layer.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

John Dickinson provides a video tutorial on his Motionworks website in which he demonstrates the use of the Color Link effect to blend a foreground layer with a background layer.

Source Layer

The layer from which to sample colors. If you choose None, the layer to which the effect is applied is used as the source layer, taking into account any masks and other effects applied to the layer. If you choose the name of the layer from the menu, the source layer without masks and effects is used.

Sample

Specifies what values are sampled and what operation is performed on them.

Clip

The percentage of pixels to ignore at the extreme channel values. This clipping is useful for reducing the influence of noise or other nonrepresentative pixels.

Stencil Original Alpha

The effect places a stencil of the original alpha channel of the layer over the new value.

Opacity

The opacity of the effect. The result of the effect is blended with the original image, with the effect result composited on top. The lower you set this value, the less the effect affects the layer. For example, if you set this value to 0%, the effect has no visible result on the layer; if you set this value to 100%, the original image doesn’t show through.

Blending Mode

The blending mode to use to combine the effect result with the original layer. These blending modes aren’t available when averaging alpha channel values in the layer.

Color Stabilizer effect

The Color Stabilizer effect samples the color values of a single reference frame, or pivot frame, at one, two, or three points; it then adjusts the colors of other frames so that the color values of those points remain constant throughout the duration of the layer. This effect is useful for removing flicker from footage and equalizing the exposure of footage with color shifts caused by varying lighting situations.

Tip: Use this effect to remove the flicker common to time-lapse photography and stop-frame animation.

You can animate the effect control points that define the sample areas to track objects for which you want to stabilize colors. The greater the difference in color values between the sample points, the better the effect works.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Set Frame

Sets the pivot frame. Display the frame that has the area of brightness or color that you want to match, and click Set Frame.

Stabilize

What to stabilize:

Brightness

Brightness is stabilized using one sample point (Black Point).

Levels

Color is stabilized using two sample points (Black Point and White Point).

Curves

Color is stabilized using all three sample points (Black Point, White Point, and Mid Point).

Black Point

Place this point on a dark area to stabilize.

Mid Point

Place this point on a midtone area to stabilize.

White Point

Place this point on a bright area to stabilize.

Sample Size

Radius, in pixels, of sampled areas.

Colorama effect

The Colorama effect is a versatile and powerful effect for converting and animating colors in an image. Using the Colorama effect, you can subtly tint an image or radically change its color palette.

Colorama works by first converting a specified color attribute to grayscale and then remapping the grayscale values to one or more cycles of the specified output color palette. One cycle of the output color palette appears on the Output Cycle wheel. Black pixels are mapped to the color at the top of the wheel; increasingly lighter grays are mapped to successive colors going clockwise around the wheel. For example, with the default Hue Cycle palette, pixels corresponding to black become red, while pixels corresponding to 50% gray become cyan.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Andrew Kramer provides a video tutorial on his Video Copilot website that demonstrates the use of the Colorama effect to create a procedural matte as a first step in replacing a sky.

Input Phase controls

Get Phase From

The color attribute to use as input. Choose Zero to use a color attribute from another layer.

Add Phase

The second layer to use as input. To use only this layer as input, select Zero for Get Phase From; otherwise, both the Add Phase layer and the layer to which the effect is applied are used. You can choose the layer to which the effect is applied to add a second input attribute from the same layer.

Add Phase From

The color attribute from the second layer to use as input.

Add Mode

How input values are combined:

Wrap

Adds the values of the two attributes for each pixel. Values above 100% are wrapped around the cycle again. For example, a sum of 125% wraps around to 25%.

Clamp

Adds the values of the two attributes for each pixel. Values above 100% are clipped to 100%.

Average

Averages the values of the two attributes for each pixel. Because the average of two values that are each in the range 0% to 100% is never over 100%, wrapping and clamping by this operation are never necessary. Average is therefore the safest option for predictable output.

Screen

Screens the second layer over the original layer; the brighter areas in the second layer brighten the first layer, and the darker areas in the second layer are discarded. Screen mode is especially useful for compositing fire, lens flares, and other lighting effects.

Phase Shift

The point on the Output Cycle wheel at which the mapping of the input colors begins. A positive value moves the starting point clockwise around the Output Cycle wheel.

Tip: Animate Phase Shift to cycle colors around the wheel.

Output Cycle controls

Use Preset Palette

Presets for the Output Cycle. The top palettes are designed for quick color correction and adjustment tasks. The bottom choices offer a variety of built-in color palettes for creative results.

Output Cycle

Customize the output color palette by altering the colors and locations of the triangles on the Output Cycle wheel. The triangles specify the location on the color wheel where a specific color occurs. The color between triangles is smoothly interpolated, unless Interpolate Palette is deselected. Each Output Cycle can have 1-64 triangles.

  • To change the location of a triangle, drag the triangle. Shift-drag to snap the triangle to 45-degree increments. At the top of the wheel, the triangle snaps to either the start position or end position depending on whether you drag from the left or right.

  • To add a triangle, click in or near the wheel, and select a color from the color picker. Click slightly to the left of the top arrows for the end color, and slightly to the right for the start color.

  • To duplicate a triangle, Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Mac OS) the triangle.

  • To delete a triangle, drag it away from the wheel.

  • To change the opacity, select a triangle on the color wheel and then drag the attached triangle above the opacity slider. Make sure that Modify Alpha is selected if you want the opacity information to affect your output.

Note:

When you animate the Output Cycle, the position and color of a triangle are interpolated between keyframes. For best results, make sure that all keyframes have the same number of Output Cycle triangles.

Cycle Repetitions

How many iterations of the Output Cycle the input color range is mapped to. The default value of 1 maps the input range to one iteration of the Output Cycle, from input black at the top of the Output Cycle wheel, clockwise to input white at the top of the Output Cycle wheel. A value of 2 maps the input range to two iterations of the Output Cycle. Use this option to create a simple palette and repeat it many times throughout a gradient.

Interpolate Palette

Colors between triangles are interpolated smoothly. When this option is deselected, output colors are posterized.

Modify controls

Modify controls specify which color attributes the Colorama effect modifies. For subtle refinement of images, choose the same color attribute for Input Phase and Modify. For example, choose Hue from both menus to simply adjust Hue.

Modify

The color attribute to modify.

Modify Alpha

Modifies alpha channel values.

Note:

If you apply Colorama to a layer with an alpha channel, and the Output Cycle doesn’t contain alpha information, the anti-aliased edges of the layer may appear pixelated. To smooth the edges, deselect Modify Alpha. If Modify Alpha is selected and the Output Cycle contains alpha information, the output is affected even if you’ve selected None from the Modify menu. Using this method, you can adjust the levels of only the alpha channel without also changing the RGB information.

Change Empty Pixels

The influence of the Colorama effect extends to transparent pixels. (This setting works only if Modify Alpha is selected.)

Pixel Selection, Masking, and other controls

These controls determine which pixels the effect affects. For the Matching controls for Pixel Selection to work, Matching Mode must be set to anything other than Off.

Matching Color

The center of the range of colors of pixels that the Colorama effect modifies. To select a specific color in the image using the eyedropper, turn off the Colorama effect temporarily by clicking its Effect switch in the Effect Controls panel.

Matching Tolerance

How far a color can be from Matching Color and still be affected by the Colorama effect. When Matching Tolerance is 0, the Colorama effect only affects the exact color selected for Matching Color. When Matching Tolerance is 1, all colors are matched; this value essentially turns off Matching Mode.

Matching Softness

How smoothly the matched pixels blend into the rest of the image. For example, if you have an image of a person wearing a red shirt and blue pants, and you want to change the color of the pants from blue to red, subtly adjust Matching Softness to spread the matching from the blue in the pants into the shadows of the pants folds. If you adjust it too high, the matching spreads to the blue of the sky; if you adjust it even higher, the matching spreads to the red shirt.

Matching Mode

What color attributes are compared to determine matching. In general, use RGB for high-contrast graphics and Chroma for photographic images.

Mask Layer

The layer to use as a matte. Masking Mode specifies what attribute of the Mask Layer is used to define the matte. The matte determines which pixels of the layer to which the effect is applied are affected by the effect.

Composite Over Layer

Shows modified pixels composited on top of the original layer. Deselect this option to show only modified pixels.

Blend With Original

The transparency of the effect. The result of the effect is blended with the original image, with the effect result composited on top. The higher you set this value, the less the effect affects the layer. For example, if you set this value to 100%, the effect has no visible result on the layer; if you set this value to 0%, the original image doesn’t show through.

Curves effect

The Curves effect adjusts the tonal range and tone response curve of an image. The Levels effect also adjusts tone response, but the Curves effect gives you more control. With the Levels effect you make the adjustments using only three controls (highlights, shadows, and midtones). With the Curves effect, you can arbitrarily map input values to output values using a curve defined by 256 points.

You can load and save arbitrary maps and curves to use with the Curves effect.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

When you apply the Curves effect, After Effects displays a graph in the Effect Controls panel that you use to specify a curve.

The horizontal axis of the graph represents the original brightness values of the pixels (input levels); the vertical axis represents the new brightness values (output levels). In the default diagonal line, all pixels have identical input and output values. Curves displays brightness values from 0 to 255 (8 bit) or 32768 (16 bit), with shadows (0) on the left.

To change the size of the graph, click the different resize buttons above the graph.

Use the Curves effect

  1. Choose Effect > Color Correction > Curves.
  2. If the image has more than one color channel, choose the channel you want to adjust from the Channel menu. RGB alters all channels using a single curve.

    You can also directly select and manipulate the individual color channels’ curves without using the Channel menu.

    Note:

    To adjust the curves in the Curves effect automatically, click the Auto button beneath the curves in the Effect Controls panel.

    This automatic adjustment is based on a database of curve adjustments performed by color and photography experts on a broad range of input images. The adjustment made to an image is an interpolation between the adjustments made to reference input images with similar color distributions.

  3. Use the Bezier tool and the Pencil tool to modify or draw a curve. (To activate a tool, click the Bezier button or the Pencil button .)

Note:

To smooth the curve, click the Smooth button. To reset the curve to a line, click the Reset button.

The curve type is determined by the last tool used to modify it. You can save arbitrary map curves modified by the Pencil tool as .amp (Photoshop lookup) files. You can save curves modified by the Bezier tool as .acv (Photoshop spline) files.

Equalize effect

The Equalize effect alters the pixel values of an image to produce a more consistent brightness or color component distribution. The effect works similarly to the Equalize command in Adobe Photoshop. Pixels with 0 alpha (completely transparent) values aren’t considered, so masked layers are equalized based on the mask area.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Equalize effect
Original (left), and with effect applied (right)

Equalize

RGB equalizes the image based on red, green, and blue components. Brightness equalizes the image based on the brightness of each pixel. Photoshop Style equalizes by redistributing the brightness values of the pixels in an image so that they more evenly represent the entire range of brightness levels.

Amount To Equalize

How much to redistribute the brightness values. At 100%, the pixel values are spread as evenly as possible; lower percentages redistribute fewer pixel values.

Exposure effect

Use the Exposure effect to make tonal adjustments to footage, either to one channel at a time or to all channels at once. The Exposure effect simulates the result of modifying the exposure setting (in f-stops) of the camera that captured the image. The Exposure effect works by performing calculations in a linear color space, rather than in the current color space for the project. The Exposure effect is designed for making tonal adjustments to high–dynamic range (HDR) images with 32-bpc color, but you can use the effect on 8-bpc and 16-bpc images.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

Master

Adjust all channels simultaneously.

Individual Channels

Adjust channels individually.

Exposure

Simulates the exposure setting on the camera that captures the image, multiplying all light intensity values by a constant. The units for Exposure are f-stops.

Offset

Darkens or brightens the shadows and midtones with minimal change to the highlights.

Gamma Correction

The amount of gamma correction to use for adding an additional power-curve adjustment to the image. Higher values make the image lighter; lower values make the image darker. Negative values are mirrored around zero (that is, they remain negative but still get adjusted as if they were positive). The default value is 1.0, which corresponds to no additional adjustment.

Bypass Linear Light Conversion

Select to apply the Exposure effect to the raw pixel values. This option can be useful if you manage color manually using the Color Profile Converter effect.

Gamma/Pedestal/Gain effect

The Gamma/Pedestal/Gain effect adjusts the response curve independently for each channel. For pedestal and gain, a value of 0.0 is completely off, and a value of 1.0 is completely on.

The Black Stretch control remaps the low pixel values of all channels. Large Black Stretch values brighten dark areas. Gamma specifies an exponent describing the shape of the intermediate curve. The Pedestal and Gain controls specify the lowest and highest attainable output value for a channel.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Hue/Saturation effect

The Hue/Saturation effect adjusts the hue, saturation, and lightness of individual color components in an image. This effect is based on the color wheel. Adjusting the hue, or color, represents a move around the color wheel. Adjusting the saturation, or purity of the color, represents a move across its radius. Use the Colorize control to add color to a grayscale image converted to RGB, or to add color to an RGB image.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

Channel Control

The color channel you want to adjust. Choose Master to adjust all colors at once.

Channel Range

The definition of the color channel chosen from the Channel Control menu. Two color bars represent the colors in their order on the color wheel. The upper color bar shows the color before the adjustment; the lower bar shows how the adjustment affects all of the hues at full saturation. Use the adjustment slider to edit any range of hues.

Master Hue

Specifies the overall hue of the channel chosen from the Channel Control menu. Use the dial, which represents the color wheel, to change the overall hue. The underlined value displayed above the dial reflects the number of degrees of rotation around the wheel from the original color of a pixel. A positive value indicates clockwise rotation; a negative value indicates counterclockwise rotation. Values range from –180 to +180.

Master Saturation, Master Lightness

Specify the overall saturation and lightness of the channel chosen from the Channel Control menu. Values range from –100 to +100.

Colorize

Adds color to a grayscale image converted to RGB, or adds color to an RGB image—for example, to make it look like a duotone image by reducing its color values to one hue.

Colorize Hue, Colorize Saturation, Colorize Lightness

Specify the hue, saturation, and lightness of the color range chosen from the Channel Control menu. After Effects displays only the sliders for the Channel Control menu choice.

Adjust colors with the Hue/Saturation effect

  1. Choose Effect > Color Correction > Hue/Saturation.
  2. From the Channel Control menu, choose which colors to adjust:
    • Choose Master to adjust all colors at once.

    • Choose a preset color range for the color you want to adjust, and then use the sliders for that color range.

  3. For Hue, type a value or drag the dial.
  4. For Saturation, type a value or drag the slider. The color shifts away from or toward the center of the color wheel, relative to the beginning color values of the selected pixels.
  5. For Lightness, type a value or drag the slider.

Colorize an image or create a monotone result

  1. Choose Effect > Color Correction > Hue/Saturation.
  2. Select Colorize. The image is converted to the hue of the current foreground color. The lightness value of each pixel doesn’t change.
  3. Drag the Colorize Hue dial to select a new color if desired.
  4. Drag the Colorize Saturation and Colorize Lightness sliders.

Modify the range of Hue/Saturation effect adjustments

  1. From the Channel Control menu, choose an individual color. (By default, the range of color selected when you choose a color component is 30° wide, with 30° of fall-off on either side. Setting the fall-off too low can produce dithering in the image.)
  2. Do any of the following:
    • Drag one or both of the white triangles to adjust the amount of feather without affecting the range.

    • Drag one or both of the vertical white bars to adjust the range. Increasing the range decreases the fall-off, and vice versa.

Leave Color effect

The Leave Color effect desaturates all colors on a layer except colors similar to the color specified by Color To Leave. For example, a movie of a basketball game could be decolored except for the orange of the ball itself.

John Dickinson provides an example of using the Leave Color effect on his Motionworks website.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Amount To Decolor

How much color to remove. 100% causes areas of the image dissimilar to the selected color to appear as shades of gray.

Tolerance

The flexibility of the color-matching operation. 0% decolors all pixels except pixels that exactly match Color To Leave. 100% causes no color change.

Edge Softness

The softness of the color boundaries. High values smooth the transition from color to gray.

Match Colors

Determines whether RGB values or HSB values are compared. Choose Using RGB to perform more strict matching that usually decolors more of the image. For example, to leave dark blue, light blue, and medium blue, choose Using HSB and choose any shade of blue as Color To Leave.

Levels effect

The Levels effect remaps the range of input color or alpha channel levels onto a new range of output levels, with a distribution of values determined by the gamma value. This effect functions much the same as the Levels adjustment in Photoshop.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

Levels effect
Original (left), and with effect applied (right)

By choosing Alpha from the Channel menu, you can use the Levels effect to convert completely opaque or completely transparent areas of a matte to be semitransparent, or to convert semitransparent areas to be completely opaque or completely transparent. Because transparency is based on the monochrome alpha channel, the controls for this effect refer to complete transparency as black and complete opacity as white.

  • Use Output Black Level of 0 and Input Black Level greater than 0 to convert a range of semitransparent areas to be completely transparent.

  • Use Output White Level of 1.0 and Input White Level less than 1.0 to convert a range of semitransparent areas to be completely opaque.

  • Use Output Black Level greater than 0 to convert a range of completely transparent areas to be semitransparent.

  • Use Output White Level less than 1.0 to convert a range of completely opaque areas to be semitransparent.

Note:

The Levels (Individual Controls) effect functions like the Levels effect but allows you to adjust the individual color values for each channel, so you can add expressions to individual properties or animate one property independently of the others. (See Levels (Individual Controls) effect.)

Channel

The channels to be modified.

Histogram

Shows number of pixels with each luminance value in an image. (See Color correction, color grading, and color adjustment.)

Tip: Click the histogram to alternate between showing colorized versions of the histograms for all color channels and only showing the histogram for the channel or channels selected in the Channel menu.

Input Black and Output Black

Pixels in the input image with a luminance value equal to the Input Black value are given the Output Black value as their new luminance value. The Input Black value is represented by the upper left triangle below the histogram. The Output Black value is represented by the lower left triangle below the histogram.

Input White and Output White

Pixels in the input image with a luminance value equal to the Input White value are given the Output White value as their new luminance value. The Input White value is represented by the upper right triangle below the histogram. The Output White value is represented by the lower right triangle below the histogram.

Gamma

The exponent of the power curve that determines the distribution of luminance values in the output image. The Gamma value is represented by the middle triangle below the histogram.

Clip To Output Black and Clip To Output White

These controls determine the results for pixels with luminance values that are less than the Input Black value or greater than the Input White value. If clipping is on, pixels with luminance values less than the Input Black value are mapped to the Output Black value; pixels with luminance values above the Input White value are mapped to the Output White value. If clipping is off, the resulting pixel values can be less than the Output Black value or greater than the Output White value and the Gamma value affects.

Levels (Individual Controls) effect

The Levels (Individual Controls) effect functions like the Levels effect but allows you to adjust the individual color values for each channel. As a result, you can add expressions to individual properties or animate one property independently of the others. To see each control individually, click the arrow next to the channel color to expand it.

For information on the controls for this effect, see Levels effect.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

Levels (Individual Controls) effect
Original (left), and with effect applied (right)

Photo Filter effect

The Photo Filter effect mimics the technique of putting a colored filter in front of the camera lens to adjust the color balance and color temperature of the light transmitted through the lens and exposing the film. You can choose a color preset to apply a hue adjustment to an image, or you can specify a custom color using the color picker or the eyedropper.

You can use the Photo Filter effect controls to do the following:

  • To use a color preset for the filter color, choose an option from the Filter pop-up menu.

  • To select a custom color for the filter color, click the color swatch for the Color control to select a color using the color picker, or click the eyedropper and click a color anywhere on the computer screen.

  • To set the amount of color applied to the image, adjust Density.

  • To ensure that the image isn’t darkened by the effect, select Preserve Luminosity.

Note:

To retain Photo Filter adjustment layers created in Photoshop, import the Photoshop file into your After Effects project as a composition rather than as footage. If you changed your default Photoshop color settings, After Effects may not be able to exactly match the color of the Photo Filter.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color. In After Effects CS6 or later, this effect works in 32-bit color.

Warming Filter (85) and Cooling Filter (80)

Color conversion filters that tune the white balance in an image. If an image was photographed with a lower color temperature of light (yellowish), the Cooling Filter (80) makes the image colors bluer to compensate for the lower color temperature of the ambient light. Conversely, if the photo was taken with a higher color temperature of light (bluish), the Warming Filter (85) makes the image colors warmer to compensate for the higher color temperature of the ambient light.

Warming Filter (81) and Cooling Filter (82)

Light balancing filters for minor adjustments in the color quality of an image. The Warming Filter (81) makes the image warmer (yellower), and the Cooling Filter (82) makes the image cooler (bluer).

Individual Colors

Apply a hue adjustment to the image depending on the color preset you choose. Your choice of color depends on how you use the Photo Filter command. If a photo has a color cast, you can choose a complement color to neutralize the color cast. You can also apply colors for special color effects or enhancements. For example, the Underwater color simulates the greenish-blue color cast common to underwater photography.

PS Arbitrary Map effect

The PS Arbitrary Map effect is intended only to provide compatibility with projects created in earlier versions of After Effects that use the Arbitrary Map effect. For new work, use the Curves effect.

The PS Arbitrary Map effect applies a Photoshop arbitrary map file to a layer. An arbitrary map adjusts the brightness levels of an image, remapping a specified brightness range to darker or brighter tones. In the Curves window in Photoshop, you can create an arbitrary map file for the entire image or for individual channels.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

You can import and apply an arbitrary map file with Options in the Effect Controls panel. When loaded into After Effects, the specified arbitrary map is applied to the layer or to one or more channels of the layer, depending on how it was created. If you don’t select an arbitrary map, After Effects applies the default map (linear distribution of brightness) to the layer. Although you can’t import .acv or Photoshop spline files into the After Effects PS Arbitrary Map effect, you can convert these files in Photoshop to create files that are compatible with the After Effects Curves effect.

Note:

To convert .acv and Photoshop spline files, load the .acv file (Windows) or the Photoshop spline file (Mac OS) in the Curves dialog box, click the Pencil tool, and then save the file as an .amp file (Windows) or Photoshop lookup file (Mac OS).

Phase

Cycles through the arbitrary map. Increasing the phase shifts the arbitrary map to the right (as viewed in the Curves dialog box); decreasing the phase shifts the map to the left.

Apply Phase Map To Alpha

Applies the specified map and phase to the alpha channel of the layer. If the specified map doesn’t include an alpha channel, After Effects uses the default map (linear distribution of brightness) for the alpha channel.

Selective Color effect

Selective color correction is a technique used by scanners and separation programs to change the amount of process colors in each of the primary color components in an image. You can modify the amount of a process color in any primary color selectively—without affecting the other primary colors. For example, you can use selective color correction to decrease the cyan in the green component of an image while leaving the cyan in the blue component unaltered.

Note:

The Selective Color effect is provided in After Effects primarily to ensure fidelity with documents imported from Photoshop that use the Selective Color adjustment layer type.

Even though Selective Color uses CMYK colors to adjust an image, you can use it on RGB images.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Choose from one of two values from the Method menu:

Relative

Changes the existing amount of cyan, magenta, yellow, or black by its percentage of the total. For example, if you start with a pixel that is 50% magenta and add 10%, 5% is added to the magenta (10% of 50% = 5%) for a total of 55% magenta. (This option cannot adjust pure specular white, which contains no color components.)

 

Absolute

Adjusts the color in absolute values. For example, if you start with a pixel that is 50% magenta and add 10%, the magenta ink is set to a total of 60%.

Note:

The adjustment is based on how close a color is to one of the options in the Colors menu. For example, 50% magenta is midway between white and pure magenta and receives a proportionate mix of corrections defined for the two colors.

The color that is affected is the color chosen in the Colors menu.

The Details property group provides an alternate interface for adjusting colors and matches the properties shown in the Timeline panel.

Shadow/Highlight effect

The Shadow/Highlight effect brightens shadowed subjects in an image and reduces the highlights in an image. This effect doesn’t darken or lighten an entire image; it adjusts the shadows and highlights independently, based on the surrounding pixels. You can also adjust the overall contrast of an image. The default settings are for fixing images with backlighting problems.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Shadow/Highlight effect
Original (left), and with effect applied (right)

Auto Amounts

If this option is selected, the Shadow Amount and Highlight Amount values are ignored, and amounts are used that are automatically determined to be appropriate for lightening and restoring detail to the shadows. Selecting this option also activates the Temporal Smoothing control.

Shadow Amount

The amount to lighten shadows in the image. This control is active only if you deselect Auto Amounts.

Highlight Amount

The amount to darken highlights in the image. This control is active only if you deselect Auto Amounts.

Temporal Smoothing

The range of adjacent frames, in seconds, analyzed to determine the amount of correction needed for each frame, relative to its surrounding frames. If Temporal Smoothing is 0, each frame is analyzed independently, without regard for surrounding frames. Temporal Smoothing can result in smoother-looking corrections over time.

Scene Detect

If this option is selected, frames beyond a scene change are ignored when surrounding frames are analyzed for temporal smoothing.

Blend With Original

The transparency of the effect. The result of the effect is blended with the original image, with the effect result composited on top. The higher you set this value, the less the effect affects the clip. For example, if you set this value to 100%, the effect has no visible result on the clip; if you set this value to 0%, the original image doesn’t show through.

Expand the More Options category to reveal the following controls:

Shadow Tonal Width and Highlight Tonal Width

The range of adjustable tones in the shadows and highlights. Lower values restrict the adjustable range to only the darkest and lightest regions, respectively. Higher values expand the adjustable range. These controls are useful for isolating regions to adjust. For example, to lighten a dark area without affecting the midtones, set a low Shadow Tonal Width value so that when you adjust the Shadow Amount, you’re lightening only the darkest areas of an image. Specifying a value that is too large for a given image may introduce halos around strong dark to light edges. The default settings attempt to reduce these artifacts. These halos may occur if the Shadow or Highlight Amount value is too large; they can also be reduced by decreasing these values.

Shadow Radius and Highlight Radius

The radius (in pixels) of the area around a pixel that the effect uses to determine whether the pixel resides in a shadow or a highlight. Generally, this value should roughly equal the size of the subject of interest in the image.

Color Correction

The amount of color correction that the effect applies to the adjusted shadows and highlights. For example, if you increase the Shadow Amount value, you bring out colors that were dark in the original image; you may want these colors to be more vivid. The higher the Color Correction value, the more saturated these colors become. The more significant the correction that you make to the shadows and highlights, the greater the range of color correction available.

Note:

If you want to change the color over the whole image, use the Hue/Saturation effect after applying the Shadow/Highlight effect.

Midtone Contrast

The amount of contrast that the effect applies to the midtones. Higher values increase the contrast in the midtones alone, while concurrently darkening the shadows and lightening the highlights. A negative value reduces contrast.

Black Clip, White Clip

How much of the shadows and highlights are clipped to the new extreme shadow and highlight colors in the image. Setting the clipping values too high reduces detail in the shadows or highlights. A value in the range from 0.0% to 1% is recommended. By default, shadow and highlight pixels are clipped by 0.1%—that is, the first 0.1% of either extreme is ignored when identifying the darkest and lightest pixels in the image, which are then mapped to output black and output white. This method ensures that input black and input white values are based on representative rather than extreme pixel values.

Tint effect

The Tint effect tints a layer by replacing the color values of each pixel with a value between the colors specified by Map Black To and Map White To. Pixels with luminance values between black and white are assigned intermediate values. Amount To Tint specifies the intensity of the effect. This effect is GPU accelerated for faster rendering. Click the Swap Colors button to swap the color values of the Map Black To and Map White To parameters.

For more complex tinting, use the Colorama effect.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color. 

Tint effect-Original (left), and with effect applied (right)
Original (left), and with effect applied (right)

Tritone effect

The Tritone effect alters the color information of a layer by mapping bright, dark, and midtone pixels to colors that you select. The Tritone effect is like the Tint effect, except with midtone control.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

Blend With Original

The transparency of the effect. The result of the effect is blended with the original image, with the effect result composited on top. The higher you set this value, the less the effect affects the layer. For example, if you set this value to 100%, the effect has no visible result on the layer; if you set this value to 0%, the original image doesn’t show through.

Vibrance effect

The Vibrance effect adjusts saturation so that clipping is minimized as colors approach full saturation. Colors that are less saturated in the original image are affected by the Vibrance adjustments more than are colors that are already saturated in the original image.

The Vibrance effect is especially useful for increasing saturation in an image without over-saturating skin tones. The saturation of colors with hues in the range from magenta to orange is affected less by Vibrance adjustments.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

To affect less-saturated colors more than more saturated colors and protect skin tones, modify the Vibrance property. To adjust the saturation of all colors equally, modify the Saturation property.

The Vibrance effect is based on the Vibrance adjustment layer type in Photoshop.

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