I've been posting some of my recent work when it comes to color grading. This time I'm posting about some work that I did that was actually a bit challenging. I had never worked on underwater footage before so I had to come up with a bit of a different approach and really work on my workflow for this one. As you can see these are a few frames from the footage and is all very close in color and uniform. The swimmer's skin is very close in color to the pool water and we really needed to make her look natural and stand out. On top of that they are swimming so there are tons of bubbles and the camera moving too.
After a lot of work here are the final results. I was able to (with a lot of work) isolate just the swimmer and really bring those colors back in without it affecting the surrounding water too much to really notice. I also pushed more warmth into the water highlights and moved the water from a boring blue to a more dark teal but not so much at it looked unnatural or too many details were lost in the shadows.
Footage from Artgrid.io
This is what color grading is all about. Creating a look and balancing the images so that they all look and feel the same but at the same time deciding what the audience will and will not see. It's all a balancing act and a skill just like any other profession. You can see what my pipeline looks like just so you can see how much work goes into this type of process.