How To Manipulate Hue More Effectively In DaVinci Resolve

May 1, 2023

Learn how to dramatically improve your Hue vs. Hue adjustments in DaVinci Resolve by changing a node's color model - and why this works.

Exploring node-based color micro-management in the HSL color model

 In a perfect world, video files, DaVinci Resolve (and related tools), as well as our hardware (monitors and screens) all share the same color model – say, some RGB variant. From capture to final output, in this perfect world we’d never require mathematical transformations “under the hood” as our images are moved and manipulated.

But the real world isn’t perfect. Our video files are encoded in the Y’CbCr color model. Our monitors output in the RGB color space. And DaVinci Resolve, the middleman, works in YRGB – a ‘best of both worlds compromise.

However, Resolve’s compromise isn’t perfect, and some of Resolve’s tools are designed around the HSL color model. In the transform between (Y)RGB and HSL color models – stuff happens. What kind of stuff? All sorts… some negligible, others just taken for granted, but once in a while, there are corners where our images pay the price – such as hue adjustments.

Manipulating Hues more effectively

A student recently asked me why some hues don’t easily transition to others. Every colorist runs into this issue once in a while when trying to change from one color to another. So… Green becomes blue, and blue becomes red rather nicely – but try changing a nice bright blue or red to yellow or cyan, and you’ll get disappointing results.

Then, you find yourself doing more work to get what you intended – but often exposing artifacts.

This Insight is the product of my answer to the student about ‘why’ this is so? I think it’s worth bringing this discussion out of a single classroom and onto Mixing Light. I hope you find this as interesting as I did and maybe even use it in an upcoming project.

Key takeaways from this Insight

By the end of this Insight, you should understand:

  • What is the HSL color model, and how does it differ from RGB?
  • Why manipulating hue with some DaVinci Resolve tools feels limited in its results (and why it’s not Resolve’s fault)
  • How to color-(micro)manage a node to operate in H-only and the potential benefits
  • How to expand this technique to manipulating Sat and Lum as well
  • That your waveform trace can be (sort of) seen from its side

Additional considerations

HSL has some limitations that can produce results that don’t perfectly match expectations. The technique in this Insight can (and should) be explored using similar color models. There are HSL/HSV alternatives that overcome some drawbacks but need to be migrated into Resolve via DCTLs or other plugins.

External Links

Related Mixing Light Insights

Questions or Comments? Leave a comment!

Is this Insight useful to you? Let us know! Mixing Light is all about community discussions and we’re curious if you found this helpful, if you have something to add, or if you need more questions answered?

– Hector

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Homepage Forums How To Manipulate Hue More Effectively In DaVinci Resolve

  • Hi Hector, thank you so much for sharing this incredibly valuable insight. I have experimented with HSL and HSV color models before, but I have never quite found a reason to include them in my fixed node tree… until now. That was some precious advice you gave there and I appreciated your concise and straightforward explanation of simultaneous contrast when discussing the differences between the two yellow hues.

    Also, I want to thank you for referencing my article about color models and color spaces. It is much appreciated. I have a new article coming out this Friday about color luminance, which you mentioned in this insight. The funny thing is that I also used yellow and blue hues as examples – lol!

    • Thanks, Tobia. This is indeed very flattering to read, especially coming from you. As for your (very good) article. I must pass the compliment on to Patrick, who’s the one that linked it while going over my text 🙂

  • Jon Coy

    Excellent lesson! I’m going to try this approach on an upcoming grade, very excited.

    • Thanks Jon. Do post about it (if you remember to) and whether it made a difference. I’d use it on extreme cases of either very bright hues on a need for a dramatic yet precise change. good luck.

  • Grant McNair

    An amazing video, Hector! You’re a great teacher. Your explanation was very clear and concise. This is something that I will be implementing into my workflow from now on. Thank you.

    • Thanks Grant. Since teaching is something I love and value deeply, this is very complimenting to read. I appreciate it.

  • Thank you Hector! Great insight – very useful.

    • You’re welcome Darrin. Glad you liked 🙂

  • Hello Hector !

    Thank you !!!!! A thrilling insight from you again ! Very interesting to see how simple it could be at a starting point and you are able to inspire in order to go deeper in these subjects!

    And congrats for your 3D waveform 😉 ! Is it a DCTL????

    Thanks again !

    • Thanks for the compliment Aurelien.

      and good job spotting my “Hectorscope” 😄

      It is indeed a 3D waveform and a work in progress that Joe D’Anna is helping me out with. It definitely should be a DCTL but its currently a Fusion FX and a bit sluggish even on powerful systems. Once I’m done with it I’ll put it into an insight, and give it away for free here on MixingLight as I see it mainly as an educational tool (and because I like sharing 🙃)

  • I’m looking forward to implementing this method on my own projects. Thanks for sharing! I gotta come to this site more often!

  • Scott Stacy


    What a great deep-dive Insight. I imagine that it took some time to create this invaluable lesson. Thank you so much. I can already think about ways in which I will use this many times over.

    Have you noticed any significant power drain using this configuration in a formal project?

    Again, many thanks!

    • Thanks Scott! I appreciate the compliment.

      Nope, I don’t think this type of workflow takes too much of a toll on the system.

  • Just … wow. I don’t often get something that is truly mind-altering, but this was so freaking informative on several levels. And the trippy “sideways” RGB Parade view was … well, feeling like I’d taken something I didn’t remember taking.

    And I think as useful as informative …

    • Hey Neil, I guess that’s what you get taking red pills from strangers 😅

      This is such an excellent compliment coming from you. Much appreciated.

      The “side” view is not exclusive to the parade btw, and is sort of a side effect of all waveform displays.


  • Amazing, thanks Hector, this type of truly ‘insightful’ teaching and content makes my subscription worth it, and I eagerly anticipate your next insight.

    • Thank you Patrick.

      And the next one is on its way (5th chapter of the texture series)

  • This is invaluable for my look development! I have written a dctl that wraps the hue channel to values between 0 and 1 so I can offset the values. This way I can edit the hues with a standard luminance curve and get great results for all hue ranges!

  • Thanks Hector! Wow, I’m going to try this for sure. Some hue shits are tricky and this will be a great tool!

  • Amazing! Thank you. Never used the HSL tool before. This is super helpful.

  • Thank you for this insight:) Absolutely going to use this

  • Dan Mavric

    Hey Hector, thanks for this “Resolve rabbit hole”. Perhaps esoteric is a too stronger adjective, but these shared insights have definitely enlightened me that much more!

  • Ayan Daw

    Great insight. learn new ideas a lot.

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