Shot Matcher

by Magnusson Productions in Scripts and Addons

What Does This Addon Do?

The Shot Matcher speeds image merging workflow by analyzing an image's or video's color range, which can be automatically mapped to foreground and background elements in the compositor.  This is especially helpful for adding background images to your render, or color grading visual effects.

Color Range - A Game Changer

My biggest struggle in my early Blender days was merging my render with a background image.  For some reason, the two images didn't match, even when I matched the lighting.  But during a VFX study, I figured out why: color range.

See, every image has its own color range.  One image's black and white values won't be the same as another's.  And my render and background had different color ranges, hence why it still felt fake.

The term to match color ranges is called "Shot Matching," often used in the industry by colorists or compositors.  I found other softwares had ways to resolve this, but not Blender - at least, not natively.  So I created my own solution, and the Shot Matcher was born.


Analyze the Picture or Video in Seconds!

In the image editor, you can get the maximum and minimum RGB values of any selected image.  One button, and you're done!  This is also included in the movie clip editor—select a valid frame range and step amount, and press "Calculate."  No guess-timating or third-party software needed!

For further precision, I added a custom-built color picker in the image editor.  Now, you can directly pick the areas you know to be black and white by hovering over the area and holding down "Ctrl."  Once you've color picked to your pleasure, confirm it with a mouse click.


The color picker compares its results to the black and white values you currently have, so if you don't find a darker black or whiter white, it'll keep the values already there.  If you realize you color picked the wrong area, you can always undo.  If you'd prefer to restart fresh, the reset button has got your back.

I also updated the automatic calculation and color picker with an optional alpha threshold.  So if your layer has transparent pixels, the analyzer can disregard them.

Apply It as a Node Group

Okay, you say, but so what?  Brace yourself: more is coming.   Once you've found the white and black values of the image, press one more button.  Those values will generate an "alpha over" node group that takes the color range into account.  You can also generate a color balance node instead.

Now when you put your layers together, the color range will match!  Better yet, the node setup is based on a scene-referred color space, so your color values are preserved.  You can sleep in peace, knowing that the hues and saturations are safe and sound.

"It Looks So real!"

Whether you're adding a background image for your car model or compositing visual effects, you need a guarantee that your art will look real.  The Shot Matcher enables you to do just that: make your work feel more real to your audience.  And when it feels real, they can focus on the message you're trying to convey—not on the images you're trying to merge.

Quotes

"Shot Matcher does a great job in helping you quickly set your brights and darks, which is essential in visual effects compositing. A simple to use, very handy tool!"

- Sean Kennedy, VFX Artist


Updates

1.0.1 - 2.80 compatible!  I also fixed a bug with empty images and render results for good measure.

1.1.0 - A few changes to the compositor functionality for clarification.

2.0.0 - The analysis panel is now available in the Movie Clip Editor!!  Also a UI facelift and optimizations.

2.1.0 - renamed the add-on from "Color Matching Analyzer" to "Shot Matcher," to be more correct to the terms of the film industry.  Also some UX updates.

2.2.0 - some UX changes to make validation more clear and improve workflow.

2.3.0 - alpha threshold option is available, allowing you to disregard transparent parts of the image for the auto calculation.  Also, a UI facelift for clarity and organization.

3.0.0 - selecting video and image "layers" to use as background and foreground, new UI, and improved auto calculation!

3.1.0 - the black an white color picker now updates the colors as you're using it, so you can see when it's picking up new colors (it's pretty mesmerizing).

3.2.0 - saves layer settings per image and movie clip, allowing you to reuse settings for clips.  These settings also persist when you save and load projects.  If the the image or movie clip is removed from the Blender project, the layer setting will delete itself on the next load of the file.

3.3.1 - typical click-and-drag color picker finally works (no need to use the Ctrl key), now midtones can be analyzed (experimental).  Fixed a few errors from migrating to 2.83 stable build.

In Development

  • LUT export/import options