Where to Start in the Primary In Room?

Many colorists use the tools in the Primary In room in a specific order. This order is used to organize the sections of this document to provide you with a workflow with which to get started. In general, you'll probably find that you work on most images using the following steps.

Stage 1: Adjusting the Contrast of the Image

Most colorists always begin by correcting the contrast of an image before moving on to adjusting its color. This adjustment can be made using the primary contrast controls, the Luma curve control, and the Master Lift, Master Gain, and Master Gamma controls in the Basic tab.

Figure. Contrast controls compared.

Stage 2: Adjusting the Color Balance of the Image

Once the black and white points of the image have been determined, the color balance is tackled. Fast adjustments to the color balance in the shadows, midtones, and highlights can be made using the primary color balance controls. More detailed adjustments can be made using the red, green, and blue curves controls, and specific numeric adjustments can be made using the Red, Green, and Blue Lift, Gamma, and Gain controls in the Advanced tab.

Figure. Color balance controls.

Stage 3: Adjusting the Saturation of the Image

Once you're happy with the quality of the color, you can make adjustments to raise or lower the saturation, or intensity, of the colors in the image. The Saturation, Highlight Sat., and Shadow Sat. controls in the Basic tab let you adjust the overall saturation or only the saturation within specific tonal regions.

Figure. Saturation parameters.

Stage 4: Making More Specific Adjustments

If you still feel that there are specific aspects of the image that need further adjustment after Stages 1 through 3, you can turn to the curves controls, which let you make targeted adjustments to the color and contrast of the image within specifically defined zones of tonality. Past a certain point, however, it may be easier to move on to the Secondaries room, covered in The Secondaries Room.

Figure. Curve controls.