I have a scene with lots of highlights and some contrasting mountains. The problem is that the building (bottom-center) is too dark. When I try to fix shadows using curves the building becomes better but mountains lose contrast. Is there a way to fix the building without affecting dark mountain regions? This video is amateur so it is to tedious for me to use region-based filters method.

Source frame Source

Edited frame (building looks better but mountains look worse) Edited

  • Why is it tedious to use region based filters (I assume you mean a mask)? By this video is amateur, do you mean that the footage is very shaky? Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 10:19

2 Answers 2


I can't give an After-Effects specific answer, but maybe this will help..

1 - If you want to color a specific part of the image, deal with "region based filtering." In DaVinci-speak, that's Power Windows. Masks, Shapes, Roto. However you phrase it. That's how you tell the computer what part of the image you want to effect. Tie the mask to a tracker so you don't have to hand-animate it. Also, make the edges of the mask VERY soft. Don't try to mask the building exactly. Have a several hundred pixel soft edge on the mask, and even if the tracking isn't quite perfect, you can still get away with murder.

2 - A Local Contrast Filter. AKA "Fake HDR Look." Used sparingly, this sort of thing can be used without turning the whole image into a horrible fairy dreamland nonsense picture. It will help "pop" some of the low contrast regions without doing global color shifts.

3 - You may be able to gamma up the mids while leaving the lows dark. This would reduce the contrast between the lit and shadowed snow, but leave the dark rocks. If you have a really specific goal for what it is supposed to look like, it just won't be a 1-button process.


You may be able to simply use an adjustment layer in Adobe Premiere Pro and use the Three Way Color corrector to deal with this. It is similar to editing a still in Adobe Photoshop. You will want to adjust the levels initially then the tonal range and possibly the curves.

If that doesn't work, then the next step would be to try to incorporate masking. If you use masking you can edit a singular area of the video while leaving the rest alone. This would allow you to use curves and levels to reduce the shadows in the building while keeping the contrast in the mountains intact. Try reviewing the following tutorials:

  • 1
    Can you please describe the first part in more details? I tried to use levels but got a bad result with it (second image)
    – Poma
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 14:20

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