Thursday, April 14, 2016

Color Scripts in Animation

After taking the color grading minicourse a few weekends ago, I started to wonder how color correction and color grading played into traditional animation and how if might be different to the process that its used for live action films.  Color correction and grading are actually used quite frequently for animation in the same sense as live, to give the director more creative control on the final image and adjust each scene accordingly for the perfect emotional tone and to relate to the story.   In a sort of non-computerized form, animation films have their own version of Lookup Tables (LUTs) in the form of color scripts.  An LUT is essentially a way to modify the original image shot to the intended image to be displayed, and color scripts are sort of a way for animators to determine what kind color needs to be changed when the time comes for the process.  Color scripts are a way to map out the colors and saturation for each scene in order for the director to have a clearer vision of what the final product will look like, and possibly make more changes along the way.  Big-studio films like the works of Disney and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs use color scripts that are developed early on, and go hand-in-hand with the story development, as when some scenes change the emotion and color can change as well.Picture
Color Script for The Incredibles shown above, mapping out each scene chronologically

Script for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, providing a palette of colors above 
to correspond with the specific scenes, not necessarily in chronological order

As much as I still need to practice color correction and grading with live action first, I find the techniques for color in animation quite fascinating, it's essentially another kind of storyboard to develop in the preproduction process in order to have a more solid vision of your final product.  Definitely something I'd like to try on some of my projects in the future.

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