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Finalizing with LooksBuilder

The One Stop Plugin for Color Grading in Photoshop

Professional Post Production is not an easy task. Even with all the capabilities of Photoshop, it is not the ideal tool for color grading work. This is where Magic Bullets’s amazing Looks plugin takes over and makes color correcting fun and powerful.

Adding professional Plugins such as Looks Builder can save time and bring your images up to the desired result – see how its done here:

Looks works as a plugin inside your Photoshop installation. Once installed, you can access it through Filter > Magic Bullet > Looks.

In this current scene, you can see that I’ve already done a lot of professional post production to the image in Photoshop. I’ve grouped all the similar corrections to their unique folders. These include atmosphere, local fixes, light beams, lens flares, layered adjustments, render passes and the base layer with the exterior background. Now that I’ve fixed and finalized a final image, I’ll start color grading it.

It’s best to collapse all these layers by selecting the last layer and pressing Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E. We’ll be doing our grading over this merged layer.

The cool thing about PhotoLooks is that it has its own awesome interface and style of doing grading and correction. It allows you to interactively add a lot of effects to the tool chain and stack them. So let’s get started and all the effects.

Adding the Effects

  1. First Up, I’ve added two Crush effects to the Subject slot. One is a little yellowish, while the other is a bit bluish. This will help accentuate the cool and warm areas in the image.
  2. Next I’ve added the Spot Exposure effect to 3 areas in the scene on the Lens slot. This will create some natural hot spots in the image where high intensity light is present.
  3. In order to add some realistic lens property, I’ve included Edge Softness in the lens slot. Real lenses aren’t perfect and have a tendency to blur the edges of the image a little bit. We’ll add this same subtle effect here with high quality but low blur values.
  4. It’ll be a good idea to add a slight Vignette effect. This is because our interior render uses a wide angle lens, which inherently have some vignette.
  5. Chromatic Aberation is a great effect for simulating more lens realism, but should never be overdone. You can manually shift the overlap between the RGB channels with this effect.
  6. Along with a vignette, wide angles also display a slight fish-eye effect, where the middle portion of the image bulges in or outwards. We can simulate this by adding the Lens Distortion effect. Wide lenses stretch the depth of the scene by squeezing the image inwards. Only add a slight amount of this effect, otherwise you’ll add more blur to the image.
  7. The Deflare effect is an excellent option for regaining the contrast in the image. Light bleeds and bloom are usually the culprit for reducing the overall contrast.
  8. In the Camera slot, I’ve added the Film Grain effect for simulating the natural chemical noise seen on a film stock. A 1% value is enough for this effect.
  9. The Curves effect can be added in the Post slot. You get 5 points for adjusting the shadows, midtones and highlights of the image.
  10. Finally, I’ve added the Ranged HSL effect in Post. This effect gives you 2 color wheels for interactively tweaking the Hue, Saturation and Lightness.

In conclusion, I’ve duplicated this final processed image and applied a high pass filter (2.4 pixels) and the Overlay blending mode, for increased sharpness and detail.

This is the final stage of PRO ARCH. VIZ. – if you want to learn more about my process of achieving that quality – visit our recorded training

Thanks for watching 🙂 Have a sweet weekend!


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