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Natural Skintones Tutorial - Changed My Life


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Your grading looks impecable, as it always does ! I'd love to see you do a tutorial or walkthrough on how you grade, absolutely love it.


His however, I find the end result a bit lacking, the face is filled with grey/green casts on the shadows (near the hairline and left eye), that simply dont look too great, although his original footage wasnt the best either.

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I often admitted that I can't grade. That's true, though I technically understand everything Huczek did in his tut and think I could have done even better. I agree that the key is not as good as it could have been.

BUT: The difficulties start when you don't grade a single, isolated shot so that it looks much better than before, but a whole sequence, in which almost every shot presents different problems. Yeah, Resolve has this very easy-to-use wipe-splitscreen for saved grades. Now the way to make the sequence look "consistent" (term by Stu Maschwitz) is to grade your favorite shot from the sequence first, for look. Then you compare the rest of the shots one by one with the splitscreen. Not just with the naked eye, you watch the RGB parade, which also shows the split and indicates if the balance matches.

So far the theory, and by following this advice, a half-blind will get 90% of the task accomplished. The remaining 10% separate the boys from the men. Because then you balance without net, and you will just need "an eye" for it, much like a good cook needs "taste" not to spoil everything but instead make it special, sensational ...

Two more aspects to consider: the whole philosophy of skin tones which need to be preserved because they are "memory colors" (Maschwitz again) is arguably wrong, the vectorscopes' skintone-line just a crook. If the skin color is perfect "porange" (Maschwitz) doesn't mean that it's looking alive and beautiful.

Because that - second objection - has more to do with the richness of nuances, with the number of different shades and colors the skin is composed of while it was stored in the recording file. Who says that colors are more believable if they are "pure"? There is a reason why the classic painters didn't just smear some porange on their portrait sketches. They applied different shades in layers, they let shadows wash away the saturation, they let the skin reflect the light or nearby objects. You could say they did a lot of grading. 

To get beautiful and not just acceptable skin, you need the right light/exposure, the right WB, the right color science of your camera's profile. The best options offer 10-bit or raw. And you need that extra bit of delicate taste for colors that will never be taught in a tut.

EDIT: On the Larry Jordan tut. This is not grading, it's saving a shot with a terrible cast through color correction. We don't see the girl full screen, but we will all agree ("everybody knows the color of human skin") that the color balance looks natural. It is an SD-approach actually. In SD it was enough when the outlines were filled with the right color. For true HD, let alone UHD, this doesn't suffice anymore. We are able to see so many details that the chroma values can't just represent skin. It's like a jump from a children's coloring book to a Vermeer. 

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I had assumed this was the standard technique. What were you guys doing before??

whatever Ed did before I would love to learn. His grades are always top notch.

Btw, one of my favorite graders, specially when it comes to skin has always been Kholi.

I know he isnt on speaking terms with Andrew but no need to close the thread imo.

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