Black and White in After Effects

This tutorial is on how to change a clip to black and white and how to keyframe a clip from color to black and white in Adobe After Effects.

Recapping the Tutorial

Using Hue/Saturation to Make Clip Black and White

To begin make sure you have a comp open with the clip in the timeline that you want to make black and white. Next find the Effects & Presets panel. Under Color Correction is the Hue/Saturation effect. You can also find this by starting to type in “hue” or “saturation” in the search field. Take the Hue/Saturation effect and drop it onto the clip in the timeline. This will open up the Effect Controls panel.

To make the clip black and white in After Effects we want to remove all saturation from it. In the Effect Controls panel find the Master Saturation parameter. Drag it down to -100 or type in -100. As you drag the slider you can see the clip change from color to black and white.

Hue/Saturation Effect Controls in After Effects to Make Clip Black and White

The entire clip is now black and white. But what if we want to make this into a transition from color to black and white?

Transitioning from Color to Black and White

Place the time position indicator in the timeline to where you want the clip to become fully black and white in the transition. Remember, the clip should already be black and white based on what we just did above. We’re going to work backwards and put the clip back to color to create the transition after making some keyframes.

In the Effect Controls panel find Channel Range and click the stopwatch next to it. This creates a keyframe for the Master Saturation parameter in the Hue/Saturation effect.

Select the layer in the timeline and hit the “U” key. This shows all the keyframed properties for that layer. Move the time position indicator to where you want the transition to start. Go back up to Master Saturation in the Effects Control panel. Set the Master Saturation to zero (o). Do not set it to 100. Try it if you want but this is probably not what you want. Zero (0) = no change to the clip.

Go ahead and RAM Preview. You’ve now made a clip black and white in After Effects and also created a transition from color to black and white. Congrats!

Question of the Week #1: What effects do you combine with black and white clips?

Question of the Week #2: This question is just for those who watch my tutorials on the website and not on YouTube! What genre do you want to edit in that you never have before? My answer is in the comments!

Additional Suggested Viewing: Keyframing Text Color in After Effects Tutorial

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1 thought on “Black and White in After Effects”

  1. Question of the Week #1: It depends on the situation but I often combine vignettes, a little directional blurring and some noise/scratches with black and white clips.

    Question of the Week #2: Documentaries!! I’ve always wanted to make/edit documentaries and one day I will.


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