If you aren't applying any colour grading to either your photographs or motion work, you are potentially missing a vital part of the process of finalizing your image. Colour grading can be one of the most impactful tweaks you can make to your work once it’s been shot. It has the potential to elevate a good image to great, or a great image to outstanding.
What is DI?
Digital intermediate (typically abbreviated to DI) is a motion picture finishing process which involves digitizing a motion picture and manipulating the colour and other image characteristics to enhance the video/film/still images.
Colour correction is the process of applying necessary adjustments to a picture after it's been shot. Things like adjusting the brightness and contrast and setting the black point and white gamma points, and fixing white balance issues all fall into this category.
Colour grading is the process of applying a stylized look that (hopefully) evokes emotion and augments the story. It involves shot matching, creating windows or shape masks to direct the viewer's eye, and applying advanced colour/look effects that push the film's visual aesthetic.
Why is it important?
Colour is so important because, like lighting, it affects a mood and feel of a piece, and therefore how we interpret the final image. This is just as true for a still image as for a moving one. Often, a 'flat' image that comes out of the camera looks lifeless - but this is the intent.
DI or colour grading improves the appearance of an image for presentation in different environments on different devices. Various attributes of an image such as contrast, color, saturation, detail, black level, and white point may be enhanced with the help of DI whether for motion pictures, videos, or still images.
How is it used?
Colour-grading might be an art, but it is an art that relies heavily on science and computer programming. The digital intermediate process uses digital tools to colour grade, which allows for much finer control of individual colours and areas of the image, and allows for the adjustment of image structure (grain, sharpness, etc.) we have dedicated tools (hardware and software) that allows us to do so much more.
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