One of the things I started doing much more so than in the past since starting my own business is color grading. Even though as a lighting artist, photographer, and overall cinematography/film/image buff you're always aware of color, playing with color, and tweaking color, doing actual color grading in film is a whole different ballgame.
Fortunately, with my experience in post-production and many years doing compositing work in feature film, mixed with working in animated features, live-action movies, and more, gives me a unique advantage to learn grading in a relatively steady and easy way. It involves the standard compositing concepts, from node-based trees, to layering fundamentals, to tracking, and rotoscoping.
I love it. It has fast become one of my most favorite things, and I've done the grading for every single one of my projects. Sometimes less successfully than others, I admit, but if we are not our own most harsh critics then we don't really grow, right?
I am now at a point where I actually do grading for other clients, and it's been incredible fun. I haven't really done one of these videos to show the amount of work that can go behind color grading an image, but if you think Photoshop editing a photograph is hard, imagine doing it for a commercial. Or a feature film.
I stumbled onto this video today, a perfect example of the magic of color grading and of how important it is to consider a suitable budget to include in your productions to create the most engaging images. By Andreas Brueckl, senior colorist (http://www.colormeup.de).
[update: looks like artist might have password-protected the video]