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<< 2.4 Advanced Tips & Tricks >>
This section provides some tips on how to get the most pleasure & productivity out of using your BlackMagic software. However, remember that these are not rules cast in stone; always feel free to explore and experiment, and develop a strategy that works best for you. There are terms used in this section that assume familiarity with the BlackMagic tools and palettes; make sure that you have read the previous sections before delving into the following tips; if you do not understand a particular concept, check out the "Reference" section, then revisit the following text.
1. Always try to cover the maximum ground in minimum possible steps. Approach each colourization project in a systematic manner; a good strategy can be outline as follows:
If majority of the image is comprised of an object type that fits into a single colour category (e.g. a forest scene with a tiger visible through the bush, or the shot of a plane in the sky), you could bathe the whole scene with the appropriate colour scheme by drawing a big rectangle using the "Select Paint" tool, then overwrite or layer the 'exception' categories in appropriate colour schemes using the "Smart Brush", either in "Layered" or "Overwrite" mode.
With the above exception, colour the most significant objects before others. For Example, render all "human skin-tone" areas first, followed by the dresses, then make-up, then the background objects.
Think of how items appear in real life. As an example, its the make-up that goes on top of the skin, and not the other way around. Hence it would make sense to colourize skin areas before layering make-up on top. Actually, this is quite important as BlackMagic automatically sets various pixel attributes based on the object you are colouring. So if you were to layer skin after applying the make-up, the results could end up being less than what one would desire.
Use the right tools for the right job; if you are doing a large area of the same type which is not rectangular, or is obstructed by other objects in the front, use the "Select Paint" tool to colour as many rectangular regions as you can draw to cover the majority of this area; then fall back to the "Smart Brush" tool to fill in the remaining portions. As long as you use the same colour category with any combination of tools, the colours should blend perfectly into each other.
Use the "Magic Touch Paint" tool to automatically colour objects with similar gray scales across the image, in the same colour scheme; you can always "erase" the areas that get coloured un-intentionally; you can also limit the scope of this tool by selecting the "Local" scope, or by first drawing a rectangular area with the "Selector" tool around the area that you want to colourize.
You may always leave one colour category (that's spread over a large area), un-done till the very end; then select the "Select Paint" tool, un-check the "Overwrite" mode for this tool, select the correct colour scheme to use for this area, then drag and select the whole image within the bounds of a rectangle. All remaining portions of the image (not yet coloured) will be rendered automatically, while the areas you have coloured before will remain un-touched.
2. Do a rough first cut colourization first; save this; then continue attending to the finer details, such as colour merging, edge clean-ups, etc.
3. Use the most appropriate size and shape for the "Smart Brush" tool; if you have a steady hand, and like free-hand drawing, you may prefer using just this one tool for all colourization, small or large. When you select the "Smart Brush" tool, controls show up next to it on the tools palette that allow you to have a "rounded" vs. "rectangular" brush, and vary the size of the brush head in terms of 'height' and 'width'. You can also choose a value for the selectivity, which gives you the freedom to move your brush more freely without inadvertently colouring unwanted surrounding areas. Practice this with various values till you get a hang of it. Basically, a value of "255" colours everything that you move the brush over, where as a value of around 10-15 will only colour areas that are VERY similar to your reference point. You establish the reference point by carefully picking the precise point on the image where you want to begin colouring; i.e. where you click the left mouse button, to begin dragging the brush in colouring mode. You may vary the reference by letting go of the left mouse button, then moving the mouse to the new area which you want to use as a reference, and begin 'dragging' from there. For a detailed description of the "Smart Brush" and other tools, plus their parameterization, please refer to the Operations, Tools & Palettes Reference section.
4. Send us tricks and tips you discover that help you work smarter, so that we can incorporate these into this section to share with others. Also send us your feedback at: email@example.com, regarding new features and capabilities you would like to see in BlackMagic.
5. Try to use mostly the Neural Net configured palettes (such as Skin, Sky, etc.) - at least in the first layer. The "PickColour" option [ *BE ] should only be used to modify the Neural Net pre-configured palettes, unless you want a very specific and precise colour match for a particular object. For variations on these palettes, prefer using the "Tuning & Effects" controls [ *PE ] rather than the "PickColour" option (these controls directly modify the output of Neural Net based palettes in a non-linear fashion, preserving the 'depth' advantage that these palettes provide.
6. You can create whole new Neural Net palettes of your own through using various combinations of settings for the "Tuning & Effects" controls [ *PE ]. However, this can be counter-productive if the idea is to create a slight variations on the original palette; in the later case, begin with very slight control changes, and vary only one control at a time to observe the effect it has.
7. Though the pre-configured Neural Net palettes will suit most cases, their might be the odd image where you feel that, for example, the skin-tone rendering should be less 'peach"ish"', more blue, etc. You can create such variations easily as follows.
In the Business Edition, begin your rendering with the appropriate Neural Net palette selection; then, select the 'Layered' check-box on the Tools panel, and layer (on top) an appropriate colour selection from the "Pick Colour" option in the Colour/ Palette Selection Menu. You may layer as many variations on top of each other as you like. In the Home Edition, you can layer another Neural Net palette on top of the original to achieve this objective. Professional Edition of-course provides the "Tuning & Effects" controls to directly modify any Neural Net palette, though you may also use the method explained for Home/ Business Editions. As an example, supposing you are colourizing the facial skin-tones; you begin by selecting the "Skin [Fair Red] palette, however, say, it appears too 'orangish', and you want to make the rendering a touch more blue. You can achieve this in the Professional Edition by simply increasing the "Blue" control on the "Tuning & Effects" panel a notch or two, or by decreasing the combination of Red & Green controls slightly. in the Business Edition, you could do this by first colourizing the whole of the desired area using your palette selection; then 'layering' a certain (light) shade of 'Blue' colour (selected from the "PickColour" option) on top of the original layer. In the Home Edition, you would add the second layer using a different 'Neural Net palette' selection, such as "Sky Day ", or similar (in fact, the last one could be the preferred way of doing it in some situations, irrespective of the software Edition you are using).
8. The AutoFinish tool [ *PE ] should only be used to fill-in-the-gaps that may have been overlooked during colourization, and not to attempt an automatic colourization for large parts of the image; doing the later can take up a long time, often with a less than desirable effect.
9. Once you have colourized most of the image, and want to colourize all the remainder parts in a particular palette, you may do this easily with the "Selection Paint" tool. For example, lets say the image has a few human subjects, a tree, and day-time sky in the background - once you have finished colourizing the human subjects and the tree, you need not manually colourize the sky. Instead, simply select the palette corresponding to the desired 'Sky' style, then using the "Selection Paint" tool, select the whole of the image; this will automatically render the sky for you, without effecting the parts you have colourized. Note: when using this strategy, it is important that you 'UN-SELECT' the "Overwrite" check-box on the 'Tools' panel; this tells BlackMagic NOT to overwrite any parts you have rendered manually.
10. Keep checking the BlackMagic Web-home from time-to-time; visit the support section, and check for software updates. As any other software, BlackMagic is not perfect and there are lots of improvements on the cards for up-coming releases/ upgrades. Most upgrades within the same version are available free to existing customers - so it makes sense to use the most recent software version - it may have an improvement or feature that will make the difference for your project. NeuralTek also values user input very highly - if you have a suggestion for improvement to the software, or would like to see a feature added, maybe we have not thought about it; so do let us know by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we implement that feature/ suggestion, you would of-course receive it as a free upgrade, irrespective of the version you originally purchased. Also feel free to share your productivity tips with us, for inclusion in this section along with the contributor's reference.
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