Color Grading Breakdown Series – Shot 05

This week on the Color Grading Breakdown Series… Zombies!!! I know I know. Halloween’s over. But zombies are popular all year long… no?

Color Grading Breakdown

As a colorist @ SHED, I am now using Autodesk Lustre and I know a lot of you guys don’t have acces to this software. So this week I wanted to pick a shot I did when I was still grading as a freelancer without the support of a post production facility.  This shot was taken from a music video I directed a few years ago and the grading was entirely done in Adobe After Effects and Apple Color. I did this in my living room when I was still a student… fun times!

Step 01
A couple of curves to crank up the contrast and to boost the gamma. Minoir color adjustments using also curves to get a balanced image.

Step 02
Remove overall saturation and in selective colors like red, yellow and blue using the Hue/Saturation tool.

Step 03
Create the look with color curves (I mainly removed a lot of green in the shadows and midtones) and color solids. Use masks and curves (I like curves…) to create soft vignettes around the zombie.

Step 04
This part is more tricky. Rotoscope the eyes frame by frame with a very small amount of feather and push their color towards green using your favorite method (color solids, curves, hue/saturation, etc). Next, color key the blood (At the time, Apple Color did a great job and was much faster than After Effects to do that) and increase their saturation so that it matches the eyes.

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Missed the previous shots from the Color Grading Breakdown Series? Catch up right here!

A Color Grading Breakdown video featuring more shots from this video is also available here.

Awesome music: Them Crooked Vultures – Nobody Loves Me And Neither Do I


Charles-Etienne Pascal is a freelance digital colorist working in Montreal, Canada. His line of work mainly consist of advertising, but he also very much enjoys grading music videos, short films and documentaries. Chuck likes photography, motorcycles, travelling, bouldering, guitar and of course color grading.

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