Tutorial – An Overview of Colorista III for Final Cut Pro X

June 25, 2015

A tutorial and overview of using Colorista III in Final Cut Pro X. Learn how all it's tools work and why you might want to buy and use it.

The FCP X Desert Island Challenge Part 12

Colorista III: An Overview for Final Cut Pro X

We’ve looked at one of the newest entrants for color correction plug-in solutions, Color Finale. In this Insight, we’re going to take a tour of the newest version of the oldest color correction plug-ins on the market, Red Giant Software’s Colorista III. This latest version was released in Spring 2015 – but it’s been around for nearly a decade.

Colorista has always been known for its innovative User Interface

First, it integrated Mask controls directly within the plug-in—vastly simplifying advanced color correction tasks. Then in Colorista II they produced an outstanding interface for pulling keys. On top of that, it’s always been available in every major NLE, with identical functionality whether in FCP, Avid or Premiere.

Colorista III has seen a streamlining of its interface. And it’s up and running on FCP X, so we’ll be taking a look at it as part of the FCP X Desert Island Challenge. My end goal is to decide which one ‘go-to’ plug-in I’ll add to FCP X to enhance its built-in color correction toolset?

In this Insight, we’ll break down Colorista III’s image processing

Long-time members know that I like to work on a grayscale and then throw around knobs, sliders and wheels to see what precisely our tools are doing to our images. I give Colorista III the same treatment here. Because it’s such a big plug-in, I’ve focused this Insight on the 3-Way Wheels, Hue vs. Wheels, and the Curves Interface. I’ll do a follow-up with some of the additional controls, including an overview of the excellent HSL Keyer interface.

After recording, I realized I forget to show you the ‘Exposure’ slider

In the section of this Insight where I show you how to the Highlights Color Wheel Luma slider works… that’s precisely how the Exposure slider works. A quick look at the documentation explains the intent is to use it after you’ve worked with the image and you decide you want a touch more brightness—that’s when you’ll go for the Exposure slider. Personally, it’s named a little, murkily, since it implies a non-linear control of the midtones with an impact throughout the tonal range. Instead, it’s simply an additional Highlight Luma slider.

We’ll take at the more advanced tools in Part 2 of this Insight

This includes the Vibrance control and, of the course, the Keyer interface.


The price for Colorista III is $199 NOT the $299 that I assumed for Parts 1 and 2 of the Colorista III overview… which brings it much closer to the price of Color Finale.

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