Colour tool set to make re-renders history

The Foundry's Colorway has the potential to change CG artist and client interaction to a much more efficient process, says Mike Griggs.

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After hours and hours of rendering, the final product image is about to go out as part of an international campaign. The client calls and says the company just decided to change its brand colour from yellow to dark green and can the image reflect this in the product shot?

Colorway, the new application from The Foundry, aims to remove the need to re-render from this scenario with real-time colour and image edits of rendered scenes. Colorway works in conjunction with 3D applications. Initially Colorway will come with a kit for Modo, and a Cinema 4D plug-in will follow soon after.

Easy adjustments

Colorway works by taking a specially prepared render from a 3D application. Setup happens by using the Colorway plug-in with which materials and lights are 'tagged'. Materials need to be set up for reflective and refractive properties, and lights need to be in the correct place.

Once tagged, the scene is rendered to a Colorway file (which can take longer than a normal render) and then is opened in Colorway. The application enables you to add or change colour and imagery (UVs are supported) in the render as well as adjust the light amount.

The UI is very straightforward, with only five buttons along the bottom, to access light and part controls, along with the ability to iterate looks. Changes to the image can be saved as Looks which enables very quick iteration.

If there are a lot of reflective and refractive elements in the image, any change made to a colour is carried through to the reflections and refractions making it easier to adjust colour in Colorway than it would be in Photoshop. There are also a range of blurs, blooms and defocus options which can help finish an image.

Once a batch of Looks have been set up, the Colorway file can be sent to the client for them to open in Colorway Presenter, which is a free app where a client can choose the looks they like, and even edit the colours chosen.

When the client sends back the Colorway file to the 3D artist they can load it into their 3D application and the correct colour scheme is applied in the scene.

At this early stage Colorway has the potential to change CG artist and client interaction to a much more fluid and efficient process, one which can be iterated quickly and safely by all team members and could make re-renders a thing of the past.

Words: Mike Griggs

Mike Griggs is a freelance concept 3D, VFX and mograph artist working across television, exhibition and digital design. This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 187 - on sale now!