Colorist Tip #28 – Blank Presets

Save time by setting up and saving a secondary preset that includes often used windows and vignettes with no corrections. For example – Secondary 1 is blank for your look, Secondaries 2 and 3 have blank soft circle windows for faces, and Secondary 8 has a blank edge vignette.

What are the things in your Secondaries tab that you are likely to have most shots? Your look in one secondary, windows to brighten or darken faces, and an edge vignette to darken the outside. If you use this setup on even half of your shots, you can save yourself time by setting up a preset with no corrections, but with the windows already set up in the right secondaries.

To set this up, leave the first secondary blank since this is where your look will go (and maybe the second one as well depending on how many you usually use for your look). On the next two that are open, turn on and set up circle vignettes that are face shaped (vertical ovals) and have a softness from around .1 to .3 (maybe…. .2?) depending on your preference. These will be used to darken or lighten faces. There are two in case you have two characters in the shot, or if you decide to use them as eye shapes instead (see – flexibility…). Them go to the very last secondary (#8 in Apple Color) and set up a circle window that’s as wide as the frame and pretty soft (from .5 to 1.0) to use as an edge vignette (which I use on almost every shot in some capacity).

The key to this is to set up the windows, but not put any actual color/image adjustments into andy of them, so you can apply the preset as a base and start from there, Yes, you’ll have to re-position and scale the windows. Yes you’ll need to add the right amount of darkness to the edge vignette. Yes, it’s only saving you a few mouse clicks. But, think about how much time this will save you turning the windows on and setting these up if you use them on almost every shot (or even 50% of your shots) over the course of several projects! It’s a great place to save some time on things you would have to do anyway. Don’t want to use one of the face windows? Turn it off or don’t make any adjustments in it. It’s not hurting anything by being there if it’s blank.

I’ll even include a preset here for you. I’m leaving the first two secondaries blank and putting the face vignettes in 3 and 4, but you can change it however you want and re-save it. As usual, feel free to use this look in your projects all you want, but please don’t share or distribute this preset. Instead, send them here to get it.


I totally forgot to credit who originally showed me this. Warren Eagles, a fantastic colorist from Australia showed me this during an International Colorist Academy class I took. I learned a ton from Warren and the class and highly recommend it to anyone serious about being a colorist. It definitely worth the money!

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