Building A Visual LUT Library In Resolve 11

Building A Visual LUT Library In DaVinci Resolve

November 5, 2014

Learn how to take a list of Look Up Tables in Resolve and make it into a visual LUT Library. This workflow can be used in any version of Resolve before Resolve 15 (which introduced a built-in LUT Library).

Update: May 2018 With Resolve 15, Blackmagic introduced a built-in ‘LUT Library’ that replaces the workflow in this Insight. If you want to replicate that new feature in versions earlier than Resolve 15 then this Insight is for you! Plus… the video features a great tip on how to view multiple LUTs, simultaneously – that also works in Resolve 15 (and later)

Make LUT Choices Visually

DaVinci Resolve has always made using Look Up Tables pretty simple. From actually applying them to creating them, using LUTs in Resolve is a pretty straightforward process.

The other day, Dan and I were talking about LUTs in Resolve and we both agreed that one thing we’d love to see is a visual way of choosing LUTs instead of having to navigate lengthy pulldown or flyout menus.

The more we talked, I realized that for me, there are a couple fundamental problems with how LUTs are accessed in Resolve, which led me to thinking about a better way to apply them – and that’s what I want to talk about in this Insight. 

Problem Number 1

My first problem with the way that LUTs are assessed really has to do with pulldown/flyout menus and accessing LUTs in a list.

For example, if you right click on a node and choose to apply a 3D LUT you’re presented with various folders (potentially a ton of them if you’ve installed lots of LUTs) each containing a long list of LUTs available.

While they’re easy to access, how do you know what any of the LUTs actually look like?

You don’t unless you’ve used one before and know what to expect.

For me, and probably a lot of you, this is a problem.

Color grading is a visual art form and I’ve longed for quite some time for Resolve to have a visual LUT chooser similar to what Adobe has integrated with SpeedGrade & Premiere Pro. But to date no such functionality is built in.

Problem Number 2

My second issue with LUTs in Resolve has to do with the list navigation when trying to select a LUT via the flyout menus when right clicking on a node.

In my experience, the menus are pretty finicky. If you move the mouse even slightly off one of the flyout menus or an item in one of the menus, the menu has a tendency to just disappear and you have to navigate back to the item you were trying to choose.

Maybe its just me, but I’ve had problems with navigating these menus for years.

Building A Visual LUT Library

With these problems in mind, and no built in solution for a visual LUT chooser, in the movie below I want to show you a manual way of building a visual LUT Library.

While the process I’ll show you is a bit tedious, especially if you have a ton of LUTs it does have the advantage of giving you quick visual access to your LUTs. With a little investment in time, you can build up a visual representation for each LUT on your system.

Additionally, my method in combination with split screens, allows you when working with clients to quickly choose a LUT as a starting point for the rest of your grading work.

As always, if you have any suggestions or thoughts on improving this workflow please use the comments!

– Robbie

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Homepage Forums Building A Visual LUT Library In DaVinci Resolve

  • !!!!!

  • RobbieCarman

    is that a good or a bad !!!!! 🙂

  • Ha very much good! I love using luts for creative decisions in the grade, and I find its a huge timesaver, but your right the one pain point is that horrible menu. This is going to help me experiment so much faster with all the creative type luts ive been amassing.

  • RobbieCarman

    cool, that was my goal too. of course the pain in butt part is having to save the stills/rename but in the long run its way faster then those damn lists.

  • Thanks SOO much Robbie! LUT lists need to be improved in Resolve IMO

  • RobbieCarman

    agreed. While this hack works really well, it does take some time. I’m hoping the team take a look at this in the next major release

  • very much agreed. The 3D LUT list is obnoxious when you have a nice library, especially the fact that it only recognizes a single folder level (at least with Windows). Mac OS X as well?

  • Robert Due

    Awesome tip..especially the Gallery View! Thanks!

  • This is really cool, thanks Robbie. The only question I have is what happens when you have new footage that has completely different lighting conditions to your still in the LUT library (e.g a dull day or evening)? Thanks again.

  • Patrick Inhofer

    Jon – That’s where the Split Screen feature comes in at the end of the Insight… so you can see your actual footage with those LUTs applied to it directly.

  • RobbieCarman

    Hey Jon -yep what pat said! But if you meant what happens when your footage doesn’t look right even with the preview of the LUT applied with split screens….well…we have some Insights to help that! Often you have to prepare your footage prior to hitting the LUT, and then do further grading after the LUT. Pat has done quite a few good insights on using LUTS.. Just use the search function in the library and search on LUT.

  • Hi Robbie and Patrick , sorry for the slow reply and thanks for the tips, I think my original question was a little vague. In my question I wanted discuss how you would use the LUTS library over multiple projects. I can see how effective it is when the still relates to the timeline footage because you can see exactly how the footage reacts. However when you are in a different project, obviously the still in the library would not be directly relating to the footage. So in this instance of a different project, would the LUT library simply act as a guide? Sorry if i’ve missed something here , i just wanted to clarify its intended use.

  • Matt Fezz

    Hi Robbie, Great Tip! I’ve just noticed a slight bug (at least for me) in resolve (mac 11.1) the split screen gallery grade won’t work if you are using the dual display mode. Other split screen views work, just not the gallery grades. Turning off dual screen mode and the feature works as intended.

  • Robbie Carman

    Jon – The strangest thing just happened! This comment showed up for me as new – a year later! I’m sincerely sorry for not seeing this earlier.

    Essentially the problem you point out is a problem when using any LUT or LUT package on a whole – they have to be adapted to the footage. The technique I’m showing here is about a visual representation of the general feel and look of the LUT not specifically what it will look like on any given shot, in any given timeline.

    LUTs are hard coded math so they’ll always be dependent on input values of the shot you’re actually using. It is important like I point out in the movie to pick a shot that’s fairly neutral so the visual representation is true most of the time.

    Make sense?

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