Nuance - Colour Grading for AfterShot Pro

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Nuance - Colour Grading

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A plug-in for the camera RAW image processing program AfterShot Pro.
by Sean M Puckett



What does Nuance do?

Nuance is a colour grading tool. It adjusts the look and feel of an image by shifting the tint, brightness, vibrance and contrast of up to 24 distinct colour "patches." Nuance is designed to enhance the look of the image as a whole, and can very easily and quickly build a unique colour treatment to give a special look and feel to your photography.

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Free Version
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Installation Package
http://nexi.com/asp/package/Nuance-1.0.10.afzplug

Windows, Linux and Mac versions in the same download.

Installation

To install, launch AfterShot Pro then select File -> Install Plugin... and select the downloaded file.

Help and Feedback

You'll get the fastest response from a large community of users by using the public support forums here: AfterShot Pro support forums.

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Sample Images

Nine different settings from the Nuance preset collection.

This "style" shifts the whitepoint to a warm orange while moving the blackpoint to a deep blue. Skin tones were warmed slightly. This change used just three patches and took less than a minute to develop.

A quick adjustment, punching up the yellows and making the background just a little more blue. Nuance+Nostalgia in RGB mode.

More Screenshots

Nuance User Interface

Enable Checkbox

Turns on/off the Nuance plug-in effect.

Map Checkbox

Shows, via "paint-by-numbers" overlay, which patch is most similar to a region of the screen. Match the number shown to the button number in the patch palette.

Reset Button

Resets all patches to null effect and turns off the plug-in.

Info / Upgrade Button

Displays version number of the plug-in.

Patch Palette

Each of these 24 coloured buttons is a colour patch. Click on a patch to adjust the colour applied to pixels that are similar to that patch. (Patch colours chosen are similar to those found in the Gretag MacBeth Colourchecker chart.) If a patch has settings applied, the border of the patch will be outlined in a heavy black border.

Patch Indicators

The top line of the patch adjustment area has information about the current patch. From left to right:

Current patch colour box

Shows you the colour of the currently selected patch.

Patch enabled check box

Click to activate / deactivate the effect the current patch has.

Patch number

Corresponds to the numbers in the patch chart, and on the patch map.

Patch name

An easy-to-remember name for the current patch.

Patch transformation colour box

Previews the change the current patch makes. Shows only the effects of colour, tint and lightness.

Patch Adjustments

These controls affect the look of the current patch.

The colour, tint and light sliders are accompanied by small colour chips on either end. These chips indicate how the patch colour will change when you move the slider in that direction.

Colour Slider

Adds (positive) or subtracts (negative) colour to the patch. In general, adding colour to a patch makes it more saturated without changing its hue significantly. Removing colour makes the patch less saturated, but also can add the patch colour compliment for strong effects. White and grey patches will become redder when colour is added.

Tint Slider

Alters the colour of the patch. In general, shifts the colour to a warmer or cooler version of itself. If you modify both colour and tint sliders, it is possible to alter the hue of a patch to any colour. It may, however, require some experimentation to find the one you want.

Light Slider

Adds or removes lightness (luminance) from the patch.

Vibrance Slider (full version only)

When vibrance is decreased, colours near the patch are drawn towards the patch hue, making them more similar to the patch colour. When vibrance is increased, those nearby colours are pushed away, making the patch colour more vibrant and dynamic. When used on white and grey patches, the effect is similar to a saturation adjustment.

Contrast Slider (full version)

Affects the contrast of luminance values near the patch. Increase contrast to make a patch more contrasty, decrease it to make the patch more subtle in tone.

Strength Slider (full version)

Controls how strongly this patch effects the colours in the image. A combination of colour range and intensity controls. For moderate adjustments, a value of 50-80 is adequate. Values of 90 and greater will impact the entire image to some degree.

Nuance Notes

Tips to get the most out of Nuance.

Default patches

Nuance presets patch 41 (white) and patch 46 (black) to be enabled with no alteration with a power of 100. This causes both white and black to be anchors so that other patch changes do not overwhelm.

Patch preset

When you click on a patch that has not been used, Nuance will preset the sliders for that patch according to the adjustments already taking place on colours in that patch according to other patches in use.

This also means that if you deactivate a patch, then click on another patch, any settings on the original patch will be lost; when you return to it the patch is once again preset for you.

Whole image adjustment

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that Nuance changes everything in the image to some degree. All adjustments smoothly blend into each other, creating a unified colour style. A non-obvious but very useful effect of this is that you can change just the white patch to effect a wide-reaching colour shift -- because every part of the image has a little bit of white in it -- some more, some less. Similarly, changing the black patch will change much of the image as well, but more in the shadows, as opposed to highlights.

Get used to thinking of patch adjustments as "suggestions" rather than "commands" -- as if you were stretching a rubber band rather than bending a wire -- and you will have a better understanding of Nuance's behaviour.

Start with good images

Do not use Nuance to correct bad exposures. For a colour style to have a consistent effect from image-to-image, images used with Nuance should be well exposed and white balanced before Nuance is used. You can use Bibble's exposure control or other "linear" controls to adjust exposure.

Use Nuance appropriately

Use Nuance to create a style and/or tweak images subtly, not to correct big mistakes. Other tools and plug-ins are better suited for correcting mistakes -- Nuance creates moods by adjusting everything at once.

Save your styles

When you create a style you like, save it as a Bibble 5 preset! Give your image style a useful name. You can then reload this style in another session to create a consistent look and feel.

Whence Nuance?

Nuance operates in the colour correction portion of the Bibble workflow; this is fairly early in the adjustment pipeline. As such, it is best to use Nuance before applying other plug-ins or effects.

Legal

Nuance is copyright 2007-2012 Sean M Puckett, all rights reserved. Nuance may not be distributed except via direct download from its homepage.

Release Notes

Nuance Release Notes.
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