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If you are looking for information about False Color plugin – you are in the right place. This is a place where I collect all the information needed for everyone using the plugin or for everyone considering the purchase in the future.

I will go through the whole process starting with the description of all the available versions, differences between them, supported platforms and operating systems. Then I will show you how to get the right version for you and how to install it on your computer. In the next step we are going to look at the supported applications and demonstrate how to use the plugin in each of the programs.

Lastly I will provide a few examples and resources showing the best practices and real life scenarios where the plugin works best.

Available Versions

The False Color plugin comes in 2 versions: Free and Pro. Here is what’s included in each:

Free Version

Free evaluation version can be downloaded directly from the download page.

There is no time-limit in the trial version however the below limitations were introduced:

  • Only 1 default preset (RED),
  • No customization options,
  • Watermark in the center.

Free version contains installers for all the supported platforms and operating systems:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects version for Windows and Mac OS
  • OpenFX (DaVinci Resolve, Nuke, Sony Vegas Pro and more) version for Windows and Mac OS

Pro Version

Full version of the plugin can be purchased for a specific platform (Pro Adobe or Pro OFX) or as a bundle for all the supported platforms. Below you will find a list of all the features and configuration options.

  • Fully customizable luminosity ranges for the False Color overlay,
  • Fully customizable colors in each luminosity range,
  • 9 presets
  • Sharp or smooth transition between color ranges
  • Overlay Transparency control (you can mix the overlay with the original image),
  • Scale can be turned on and off,
  • Available in OFX and Adobe format.

False Color Plugin features industry standard presets as well as some special-case presets like shadows, lights and skin-tones ranges:

  • Default (RED),
  • Flanders,
  • SmallHD,
  • ARRI,
  • Atomos,
  • BlackMagic VA,
  • Skin-tones separation,
  • Highlights,
  • Shadows.

Saturation MAP

Instead of generating the false color overlay based on the luminosity the plugin will display the saturation values across the image. In the picture above we can see how the saturation might affect the deep shadows and how this can be easily noticed using Saturation Map.

Pro version of the False Color plugin is available for 2 platforms Adobe & OFX:

Adobe PRO

A version designed for Adobe products: Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe After Effects CC.

  • Windows version
  • Mac OS version

OFX PRO

A version for OpenFX platforms (DaVinci Resolve, NuKe, Sony Vegas Pro, Scratch).

  • Windows version
  • Mac OS version

It can be purchased separately or together as a bundle at a lower price – see below.

Installation

All the available versions come with the installers for both Windows and MacOS.

Windows installation file is in the exe format and Mac OS installer comes in dmg form.

Windows

Download and unzip the installation files. You should be able to see EXE setup file – just double click it and follow the instructions on screen – first you need to allow the installer to run, then you have to accept the EULA and follow the instructions. Once the setup is finished the plugin is installed in the system and ready to go.

Mac OS

Download and unzip the installation files. You should be able to see DNG file – just double click it. A new window shows up with the PKG file inside:

Just double click again and an installer will show up. You need to agree to the terms of use and provide your credentials to install the plugin in your system. Once the installer finishes the plugin is installed in the system and ready to go!

Troubleshooting

Plugin doesn’t show up in Resolve on macOS

Make sure you can access the below directory from Finder:

/Library/OFX/Plugins/

If you cannot access this location it means that file permissions are not set properly for the current user.
To resolve the issue the permissions have to be changed for the above directory including all subdirectories and files so that DaVinci Resolve can access them.

In order to do that just right-click the directory and select Get Info. In the bottom part you will see a section called Sharing & Permissions:

The above picture shows how the permissions should be configured. Make sure to click the golden padlock first to unlock the grid for editing.

Uninstallation

There is no automatic uninstaller yet, so the files need to be removed manually.

Windows

OFX version:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\OFX\Plugins\TomsFalseColor.ofx.bundle

Adobe version:

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Common\Plug-ins\7.0\MediaCore\FalseColor.aex

Mac OS

OFX version:

/Library/OFX/Plugins/FalseColorPlugin.ofx.bundle

Adobe version:

/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Common/Plug-ins/7.0/MediaCore/FalseColor.plugin

Usage

DaVinci Resolve

To use the False Color plugin in DaVinci Resolve you need to be in the Color Pane (at the very bottom). Then locate the OpenFX icon in the top-right part of the user interface as indicated below.

Then look for the Scopes section with the False Color plugin inside in the right panel. Now all you need to do is to drag and drop the plugin onto one of your nodes.

Adobe Premiere Pro

In order to use the False Color plugin in Adobe Premiere Pro CC you need to locate the Effects window. You can expand the Video Effects section or use the search box to find False Color. It’s located in the Scopes group.

To actually use the plugin just drag & drop it onto the clip or adjustment layer in your timeline. The plugins’ settings can be adjusted in the Plugins Effects Controls window.

Adobe After Effects

In order to use False Color plugin in Adobe After Effects CC first you need to locate the Effects section in the user interface. By default it’s located in the right side of the main window. Then you can browse and expand the tree or use the search box to find False Color in the Scopes section.

Once found it can be applied to the clip by drag & dropping it. The plugins’ parameters can be adjusted in the Effect Control window (usually on the left side of the main window).

Examples

In the screenshots below you can see the original video clip as well as the clip with applied False Color plugin in the Luminosity and Saturation mode. In the first screenshot you can see SmallHD preset and in the second one I used the default (RED) one.

Matching contrast ratios

The 2 examples below demonstrate how the False Color plugin might be helpful when matching contrast ratios between the two shots. Saturation mode might help with setting the correct color richness levels. This might be tricky especially in the shadows and bright highlights.

Using false color overlay might speed up the process and enhance the workflow. This might be also quite useful where the professional color grading monitor is not available.

DIT

Using False Color plugin within DaVinci Resolve might augment the DIT work on set. Especially when using the presets matching the tools used in cameras. Some of the DPs that had a chance to use this plugin this way found it very convenient.

Resources

First article that I always recommend is Cinematography Lighting Ratios 101 by Patrick O’Sullivan at WanderingDP.

The article covers how False Color might be useful off-set when analyzing lighting ratios or even matching shots:

Video Tutorials

And here are couple of very nice videos demonstrating how to use the plugin in real scenarios within DaVinci Resolve made by LensProToGo and  Aram K:

Roadmap

More features coming

  • CUDA & OpenCL support – currently the False Color plugin works only on CPU. GPU implementation will allow realtime playback and will not slow down your workflow,
  • ACES color science support – while currently the False Color plugin supports only RGB color spaces it will in the future work with more recent inventions like ACES.

Have some questions or problems with the False Color Plugin? Describe them in the comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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  • Hi

    Wasn’t there a ‘save preset’ option in one of the previous OpenFX versions?

    Love the plugin, keep the good work!

    • Hey, thanks for the kind words – glad to hear that!
      I was planning on adding save/load preset but in Resolve it can be done using power grades and I never implemented it.
      Actually, I should probably add a section in this blog with a short description how to do it with power grades in Resolve.

      Thanks for the feedback.

  • Emmanuel Moran

    Hey, love the plug-in, the bundle has worked out great. Any chance on an upcoming FCPX compatible version?

    • Thanks Emmanuel, glad to hear that! FCPX version is in the making and I will be focusing on it once v3.0 for Resolve & Adobe is released.

  • Stephen Hunter

    Just purchased the pro bundle – love it.

    Wondering when the GPU version will be released?

    • Thanks Stephen! Glad to hear it.
      There’s no fixed date for the release yet, but it’s very close!
      I will post some news in the newsletter within few days – if you want to be up to date you can subscribe anytime.

      • Stephen Hunter

        No worries!

        Glad to hear that it’s on the way, though! Already come in very handy.

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