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How to Color Grade Video in Photoshop

In today's episode, we show you how to color grade video in Photoshop! This is the second section of our 4 part video editing series, and it picks up directly from where we left off in the first section. If you haven't seen that first episode (How to Edit Video in Photoshop), click here:
To follow along with the same clips we work with in this episode, download them here:

Why would you use Photoshop to edit video?? Well, a professional video editor is most likely going to use a video centric program rather than Photoshop. However, it can be very useful to color grade your videos and apply filters to them- especially if Photoshop is the only program available to you. For someone familiar with Photoshop, this should come surprisingly easy. This is because you can think of editing video in exactly the same way as editing photos! It's a practically identical process. Why not have a little fun!

Part I: Using Local Adjustments to Color Grade

Local Adjustments: Affects individual clips
To start off, select the layer you would like to make adjustments to. In the same way you would add adjustments to a photo, we can do the same for that video layer! Try it out by creating a new curves adjustment layer. After you adjust the contrast with curves, you will notice that it will clip directly to the single video layer you applied it to (be sure your clips are grouped into one folder). You can add multiple adjustments to the same layer, just like you could with a!

Part II: Using Global Adjustments to Color Grade

Global Adjustments: Affects an entire group of clips (ie everything!)
To adjust all of your video footage at once, make sure that your clips are grouped into one folder (if they are not, you can select all the layers and press Cmd + G). Then, create an adjustment layer and place it on TOP of that video group. This will apply that same adjustment to everything consistently.

Part III: Color Grading Techniques

Let's get started with color grading! Create a levels adjustment layer, and select only the blue channel. Drag the black slider in to the right, and blue will be added into the shadows. Yellowish highlights tend to look great with cool shadows, so bring the white slider in towards the left to compliment them. Again, the more color editing knowledge you can pull from your regular photo editing skills, the better!

What if you create a global adjustment, but decide you only want it to affect some of your footage? Have no fear!! Notice that the adjustment layers stack on top of the video in the timeline. You are actually able to click and drag those adjustments and make them last as long or as short as you would like them to.

Part IV: Applying Filters to Video

In order to apply any filters onto video in Photoshop, it must first be converted to a smart object. So, select the layer you would like to affect, right click, and choose 'Convert to Smart Object.' Next, go to Filter - Filter Gallery. A preview window will load with an array of options. Feel free to play with the intensity and edges of the filters; you can always adjust the filter later as well. When you are happy with the way the filter looks, select OK. Then, you will need to render the clip. This is done by simply playing the clip. It will take a moment, and you will know it's done rendering by the little green line that appears on top of the clip afterwards,

And that's all folks! As you can see, there's no need to relearn much for editing video in Photoshop. Have a blast editing your own clips, or download ours for some great practice.


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