Using Onscreen Controls

If you don’t have a control surface, you can still operate every feature in Color using the onscreen controls. In addition to the standard buttons, checkboxes, and pop-up menus common to most applications, Color uses some custom controls that are described in this section. See the referenced sections for more information on:

Using the Mouse

Color supports the use of a three-button mouse, which provides quick access to shortcut menus and various navigational shortcuts. Color also supports the middle scroll wheel or scroll ball of a three-button mouse, either for scrolling or as a button.

Mouse button
Documentation reference
Left mouse button
Middle mouse button
Middle mouse button or middle-click
Right mouse button
Right-click (identical to Control-click with a single button mouse)

Note: Many controls can be accelerated up to ten times their normal speed by pressing the Option key while you drag.


Tabs are used to navigate among the eight different Color “rooms.” Each room is a distinct portion of the interface that contains all the controls necessary to perform a specific task. Changing rooms changes the available interface, the keyboard shortcuts, and the mapping of the control surface controls.

Figure. Tabs for navigating among rooms in color.

Some rooms have additional features that are revealed via tabs within that room.

Using Text Fields and Virtual Sliders

There are four types of data that can populate edit fields in Color:

  • Timecode

  • Text, including filenames, directory paths, and so forth

  • Whole numbers; fields that display whole numbers cannot accept either decimals or fractional values

  • Percentages and fractional values, such as 0.25 or 1.873

There are four ways you can modify text fields.

To enter text into a field using the keyboard
  1. Move the pointer into the text field you want to edit, and do one of the following:

    • Click once within any field to place the insertion point at the position you clicked.

    • Double-click within any field to select the word at the position of the pointer.

    • Triple-click within any field to select the entire contents of that field.

    The text in that field becomes highlighted.

  2. Type something new.

  3. Press Return to confirm the change.

To modify the value of a numeric or percentage-based text field with a virtual slider
  1. Move the pointer to the field you want to adjust.

  2. Middle-click and drag to the left to decrease its value, or to the right to increase its value.

  3. Release the mouse button when you’re finished.

To modify the value of a numeric or percentage-based text field with a scroll wheel
  1. Move the pointer to the field you want to adjust.

  2. Without clicking in the field, roll the scroll wheel or ball up to increase that field’s value, or down to decrease that field’s value.

To adjust a field using a shortcut menu
  • Control-click or right-click any field, and choose one of the following options from the shortcut menu:

    • Reset: Resets the field to its default setting.
    • Min: Chooses the minimum value available to that field.
    • Max: Chooses the maximum value available to that field.
    • Set as Default: Changes the default value of a parameter to whatever value is currently specified. After changing the default value, you can change the value of that parameter back to the value you specified by clicking Reset.

Using Timecode Fields

Timecode fields display timing information, such as media In and Out points, and the position of the playhead. Time is represented in Color in one of two ways:

  • Within fields, most time values are represented with standard SMPTE timecode. SMPTE timecode is represented by four colon-delimited pairs of digits: hh:mm:ss:ff, where hh is hours, mm is minutes, ss is seconds, and ff is frames.

  • Time values in the Timeline ruler may be displayed as non-drop frame timecode, drop frame timecode, or frames.

Note: Drop frame timecode appears with a semicolon between the seconds and frames positions.

Here are some pointers for entering values into the hours, minutes, seconds, and frames positions of timecode fields:

  • Time values are entered from left to right (similar to entering a duration into a microwave); however, the last value you type is assumed to be the last digit of the frames position.

  • Press Return whenever you’ve finished typing a timecode value to confirm the new value you entered.

  • If you enter a partial number, the rightmost pair of numbers is interpreted as frames and each successive pair of numbers to the left populates the remaining seconds, minutes, and hours positions. Omitted numbers default to 00.

    For example, if you enter 1419, Color interprets it as 00:00:14:19.

  • When you enter timecode in a field, you don’t need to enter all of the separator characters (such as colons); they’re automatically added between each pair of digits.

  • You can type a period to represent a pair of zeros when entering longer durations.

    For example, type “3.” (3 and a period) to enter timecode 00:00:03:00. The period is automatically interpreted by Color as 00.

  • To enter 00:03:00:00, type “3..” (3 and two periods).

    These periods insert pairs of zeros into both the seconds and frames position.

  • Type “3...” to enter 03:00:00:00.

  • Use the Plus Sign key (+) to enter a series of single-digit values for each time position.

    For example, type “1+5+8” to enter timecode 00:01:05:08.

Using Color Balance Controls

Color controls are used in several rooms in Color to let you choose and modify colors using the HSL model.

Figure. Color controls.
  • Dragging within the main color wheel lets you simultaneously adjust the hue and saturation of the selected color.

    A crosshair within the color wheel shows the current color value that’s being selected. The remaining controls depend on the type of color control being displayed.

  • Dragging up and down within the multicolored Hue slider lets you adjust the hue.

  • Dragging up within the single-colored Saturation slider increases the saturation of the current hue; dragging down decreases its saturation.

  • Dragging up within the single-colored Brightness slider increases the brightness of the current color; dragging down decreases its brightness.

The angle at which colors appear on the color wheel of color controls can be customized to match the interface of other color correction systems you may be used to. In addition, the speed with which control surface joyballs (trackballs) adjust the corresponding Color color controls can be modified. For more information, see Control Surface Settings.