Curves Versus Curves the Difference Between Avid and Resolve

Curves Color Correction: Avid Symphony vs. DaVinci Resolve

March 13, 2013

What is the difference between the Curves interfaces in Avid Symphony and DaVinci Resolve? Learn how to simulate Avid Curves in Resolve.


Curves Color Correction: An NLE vs A Dedicated Grading App

Once picture is locked there are two types of color grading workflows that can be implemented:

  • Color grade inside the Non-Linear Editor (NLE) that the project was edited in – using either the NLE’s native filter set or supplementing it with 3rd party plugins.
  • Using one of several methods to export the locked picture timeline and color grade inside a dedicated color correction app.

The advantage of the former is speed and ease of getting started: Once picture is locked, BAM – you start grading. No fuss. No muss. No slipped frames or clips not relinking or any of another thousand ways you can get burned whenever timelines get translated between apps.

The advantage of the latter is speed, ease and sophistication of your color grading: Dedicated apps not only speed up the color grading process, they allow you to do more sophisticated work in less time it takes to do an initial grade inside an NLE.

And that brings us to the subject of this video…

If there is one NLE that holds the claim to being a sophisticated editing system, a sophisticated color grading app and being widely used – Avid Symphony is that NLE. Avid pioneered color grading inside the NLE and there is a strong cadre of well-trained Symphony colorists. To them, there are usually two strong features of Symphony they don’t want to live without:

  • Grade Linking: Symphony has a sophisticated and extremely flexible method of populating one color grade to additional shots in the timeline that should also get that grade (which we’ll cover in the future).
  • Curves: Most Symphony colorists / finishers that I speak with work primarily inside the Curves interface. It’s fast, intuitive and lets a Symphony colorist zip through a show.

If a Symphony colorist is thinking about migrating their color grading duties to Resolve (or want to expand their skill set) they’ll have several concerns about making the switch including:

How does Symphony’s Curves interface differ from Resolve’s?

That’s the question answered in this video. I’ll compare and contrast Symphony’s Curves interface with that of DaVinci Resolve. And see if you think either one of them is a clear ‘winner’…

– pi


Homepage Forums Curves Color Correction: Avid Symphony vs. DaVinci Resolve

  • 72mm Production

    What about lum mix control in resolve? Wouldn’t it make resolve behave similarly to symphony from the POV of a curve not influencing the other two?

  • Patrick Inhofer

    Hi 72mm,

    Unfortunately not. If I make a change in the green curve, it’ll effect the R & B channels as a result of how it processes the image. The Lum Mix slider will only ‘mix back’ the changes we physically make the curve itself… but it won’t change the internal processing of how the RGB channels influence each other.

    You’ll find this behavior throughout Resolve. Eventually, I learned to stop letting it annoy me and learned how to make slight tweaks that take advantage of this behavior. So – sometimes this behavior slows me down and sometimes it speeds me up.

    One last note – here on MixingLight we prefer first and last names in the comments. You can go to Member Home > Your Profile and update those details there. Thanks!

  • DYK

    I just double checked with the scopes and, in fact, with Lum Mix set to 0, curve adjustments do not influence other channels (if the curves not ganged together of course). For clarity sake I am not talking about the intensity slider underneath each of the curves but the Lum MIx control in the Primaries or the Color Wheels panels.
    Regarding the name, the forum system does not seem to respect the MixingLight account settings, it seemed to use my twitter settings for the previous post

  • Patrick Inhofer


    Ah yes, this message board is tied to Disqus – which is a separate log-in. Sorry about that confusion.

    RE: Color Wheels Lum Mix – Thanks for pointing that out! I’ll dig into it. It’s a control I never use so I’m intrigued by your findings.

  • Patrick Inhofer


    After further experimentation – the Lum Mix control will negate the ‘interference’ between color channels when grading – but it runs that node as a pure RGB node. All Y-only moves will be ignored – including the Luminance Custom Curve and all Y moves in the Primaries.

    Thanks for pointing this out.

    As I ponder it, I might be inclined to do this only the 10% of the time when I truly want to isolate a color channel while make changes in the tonal range (such as in the 3-way, LOG or Custom Curves). But for that 10%, it’ll be useful.

    The other thing to point out, you can use the Offset controls for pure RGB isolation without channel ‘cross-talk’. But it’s a ‘setup’ control (moving the entire channel up or down).

    Cool stuff. Thanks for leaving this comment. I’ll probably turn this into an Insight.

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