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What are Color Lookup Tables?**
Color Lookup Tables are one of the primary methods of applying color grading/correction to scenes in video games.
[SIZE=5]What is Color Grading/Correction?
Color Grading/Correction is often the least talked about, most overlooked portion of the post-production process.
Color Grading is the process of altering and enhancing the color of a motion picture, video game, or still image. Simply put, it is a method of telling the computer to exchange one color with another. Ex: telling it to exchange dark blue with light blue, or to exchange pink with orange, for all of the colors seen on screen.
For a good visual example, check out this video:
Why should I care about Color Grading/Correction?
You should care about it because it is not only a quick and cheap method to give your scenes a movie/cinematic feel, but it can also add a lot into the storytelling element of your game, as well as change/modify the time of day.
The mood of a narrative is enhanced by the use of color grading. The Walking Dead on AMC is a great example of this. The series is about a group of people trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. It’s a dreary and bleak world. Visually it’s emphasized through the use of dark muted tones and the absence of bright colors.
Different locations have different nuances a varied color palette can bring out. Color can help orient the audience to the location on screen, or to the genre of story you are trying to portray.
For example, games/movies that are located in the desert almost always have a primarily yellowish tinge/hue to them, even when inside areas that are cut off from the desert outside.
Some Prince of Persia for ya
Horror games, games located in cold climates, or games set at night often have a lot of blue worked into almost every scene.
Some scary Evil Within
Warfare games, apocalyptic games, etc, have lots of muted colors, browns, and tans work into their very souls. Battlefield 4: Brown warfare.
Some classic Call of Duty
Also, in terms of benefits of Color Grading/Correction specific to video games is two fold:
One: it can extend the usefulness of what props you have, allowing you to use fewer unique props to add visual interest to your scenes.
What I mean by this is that when you add color correction to your scene, the new unified color scheme ties all of the objects together, making them look like they all belong together. For example: if you have a cardboard box that you made for a bright and sunny office scene, and then want to use that same box in a sewer scene, it is going to look somewhat out of place in the sewer scene because it is a nice, clean box that looks right at home in an office. However, if you have a green/blue toned color lookup table applying color grading to the sewer, all of a sudden that cardboard box is going to have more of a blue/green tone to it, making it look right at home in the sewer!
And Two: it can reduce to need to have additional lights to create the desired atmosphere to your scene. And, it can create the unified lighting/color feel that is given by global illumination, but without the high processing cost of actually having global illumination.
What I mean by that is that if you wanted to apply an overall color tone to your scene, you would either need to change all of the lights in the scene to output their light t specific colors (and in shadowed areas with minimal light, colors would revert back to what is normally scene on the objects), or you would need to change the color of the textures of the objects in the scene, both tedious, time consuming, and resource consuming processes that can be bypassed by color grading.
In terms of the global illumination stuff (GI), GI in a scene usually results in colors of objects near each other blending together from the light bouncing off of one and onto the other. With color correction, while it isn’t able to create any additional interaction between objects and light, it is able to give them all similar color/hues, indirectly creating an effect similar to that of GI.
I don’t know…. What awesome looking games actually use color grading/correction?
Well, to give some awesome examples, how about:
**Dragon Age Inquisition:
**Assassin’s Creed Unity:
**Call of Duty Advanced Warfare:
**Ok, so Color Grading/Correction is cool. What are you offering?
What I have is 263 unique Color Lookup Tables for the low price of $19.99. Along with the LUTs, there is an example image of each LUT being used in a scene. The Color Lookup Tables I am offering can be broken down into 4 different categories:
Warm: adding/emphasizing reds, oranges, yellows. There are 121 different LUTs in this category.
Cool: adding/emphasizing blues, purples, greens. There are 37 different LUTs in this category.
Monochrome: soloing out a single color, making everything black and white, emphasizing black/white. There are 21 different LUTs in this category.
Stylized/Cartoon: Adding in a bunch of color all over the place, not necessarily corresponding to the highlights or shadows of a scene. Best for if you are looking for a really stylized looking scene…. Or if you just want to barf color over everything, I won’t judge. There are 84 different LUTs in this category.
Please feel free to post any comments or questions below!