Colorist Inspiration – Creating Looks from Reference Images

May 12, 2016

Learn how Dan uses reference images to create his Looks - and download the sampe footage to try your hand and practice your skills.


Apologies for the delay in this insight, I figured it was better to be a little later instead of being a flu filled mess.

Time to get back to the challenge!

This insight is a follow up to my last insight about what makes a good colorist and more specifically how I create looks when I grade.

My Methods

In my last insight, I issued a challenge to anyone that would like to become a professional colorist.

At least once a week challenge yourself to create and match looks in lots of different areas like :

  • Glossy Commercial
  • Fashion
  • Gritty Features
  • Music Videos

In the video below I show you exactly how I do this myself.

The first method I share is how I approach every single project when I don’t have a clear idea of what to do in the grade.

I am a visual person so comparing 10 extremely different looks always inspires me to get going.

In the second part, I show you how I match to existing looks to expand my skills and help refine my eye.

I also reference some clips that are the perfect canvas for those of you that don’t have access to high-quality footage.

This can all be found on the Blackmagic Design URSA Mini page here.

Once you are on that page just click download RAW footage and it’s yours!



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Homepage Forums Colorist Inspiration – Creating Looks from Reference Images

  • To add to the couple insights on this topic, I may want to mention that BMD provides an exhaustive comparison between the two versions on their website. It can be found here :

  • Patrick Inhofer

    Also – their Read Me contains much of the same information… though I think neither is fully comprehensive and there are others lurking in the documentation, I suspect. I suppose that happens when you add 250+ features 🙂

    Also, their website still doesn’t list the limitations of Resolve Studio for Mac – which should be considered yet another version of software.

  • RAMI

    Hi Patrick
    In the free version of resolve you can see the lens flare effect in resolveFX but when you apply it you get a watermark in the footage and an window is pop up on the screen ask you to buy the studio version.

  • Patrick Inhofer

    Rami – I’ve included your observation in the main post. Thanks for letting me know!

  • RAMI

    Thank you Patrick 🙂

  • Very cool insight! Looking at different kind of videos, stills and trying to match them always makes me feel like the buttons and knobs don’t matter. It’s nice to be able to leave all the technical stuff behind for a moment and just focus on the artistic side.

  • nima

    Hi Patrik
    I have a question , I am trying to color grade some 4K raw image in HDR in Resolve 12.5 using RCM method.
    My challenge is , I set my input color space to 2020/Linear (since it’s linear Raw and I want to see it in 2020 colorspace), my output is the curve that I want in the output (for example 2020/St.2084), however I am not sure how should I set the timeline. should I keep it as the input or the output. does having a linear timeline colorspace make sense?

    Cuz with my experience changing the timeline colorspace changes the colorgrading totally, and if I apply the curve on the timeline colorspace it clips the signal , so I might have to keep the timeline linear?
    Can you guide me please.

  • Patrick Inhofer

    Hi Nima,

    I strongly, STRONGLY recommend you watch Robbie’s RCM series You can watch Part 1 here:

    And Part 2 is here:

    If you’re still having problems, post in one of those threads and I’m sure you’ll get an answer.

  • Andrew Devis

    Isn’t Fusion Connect a studio only feature?

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