Creating LUTs From Photoshop

Creating LUTs From Photoshop

December 16, 2014

You've been able to apply lookup tables in Adobe Photoshop for a while, but a new feature gives the ability to export LUTs. Learn how!

Day 16: 25 Insights in 25 Days Holiday Marathon

Creating LUTs In Adobe Photoshop

In a previous Insight, I showed you how you could quickly apply a LUT created in an application like Resolve or SpeedGrade quickly to an image or design in Photoshop.

This workflow is really efficient – design a look once and then apply it to print, web, and other design materials (at least the base look) with literally just one click.

Recently, this work flow has flipped to allow exporting LUTs from Photoshop (requires the 2014 release).

Now users of Photoshop can export and hand off to you, the colorist, a look that they’ve developed.

If you’re anything like me you’re used to being the person that distributes color and contrast i.e. LUTs to other members on your project team.

The truth is, there are a lot of designers, VFX people and motion graphic designers that do a hell of a job when it comes to color grading – so, why not use their work?

With the help of special guest Rich Harrington, let’s explore creating LUTs from Photoshop for use in other applications like Resolve, SpeedGrade, Premiere Pro and any other application that supports Look Up Tables.

A Few Notes On Workflow

As Rich discusses in this Insight, there are really two ways to get over to Photoshop – open a video clip or open a still clip.

From popular tools like Premiere Pro, Resolve or SpeedGrade exporting a representative is still probably the easiest way to go.


Well, when you open up a still, by default, it’s the background layer, which as you’ll see is important.

Additionally, using a still makes the default behavior of adjustment layers a bit more straightforward.

With that said, Photoshop can open up video files!  The advantage of this workflow is that you get a clip you scrub through to see your adjustments, but there are definitely some ‘gotchas’ that Rich will show, which are important to note including:

  • Removing clipping from adjustment layers
  • Creating a true background layer

After working around some potential pitfalls in the workflow, you can easily export high-resolution LUTs in common formats like .3DL and .Cube, which of course will work in most apps including Resolve, SpeedGrade, and with the help of the Lumetri effect, in Premiere Pro.

As always, if you have any questions or additional thoughts to share please use the comments below.  


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Homepage Forums Creating LUTs From Photoshop

  • Ed Rudolph

    Is there a method for exporting a LUT from LightRoom 5.x?

  • Robbie Carman

    yes, no, maybe! So you can grade shot in Lightroom and then edit in Photoshop. If you just edit in Photoshop the grade will become flattened. So the best thing to do is From Lightroom choose Photo > Edit In > Open As Smart Object in Photoshop. So when you get to photoshop you’ll have the smart object and if you want to make further tweaks just double click on it to open up camera raw.

    From there you need to follow the workflow in the video. 1. Add an adjustment layer – just choose an exposure adjustment and don’t do anything to it. 2. Select the smart object in Photoshop Choose Layer > New > Background From Layer. For this to work you have to have a true back ground and least one adjustment layer even if that adjustment layer is doing nothing.

    Yes I know, I little convoluted – maybe they’ll put in a LUT export directly in to LR soon.

    Also if you’re using Resolve a long time ago Dan had a very cool Insight on using the Trim LUT from Resolve , opening that in Lightroom and pasting your grade onto the trim LUT and saving it. ITs not going to be perfect but works pretty well.

    Here is that Insight

  • resolve had the trim lut fiel as well

  • Robbie Carman

    yeah – thats what I’m saying – that Trim LUT originates in Resolve and is a way of creating LUTs that will work in Resolve. Dan showed this workflow in Lightroom in the link that I posted

  • John Ellis

    I just released the Export LUT Lightroom plugin, which exports develop presets and settings as a LUT in IRIDAS/Adobe .cube format: . If you try it, let me know how it works (or doesn’t).

  • RobbieCarman

    john thats fantastic!

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