First Look at the DaVinci Resolve 3D Keyer

First Look at the DaVinci Resolve 3D Keyer

July 31, 2015

Are you figuring out the DaVinci Resolve 3D Keyer? In this color correction tutorial we take a First Look at this new feature in Resolve 12.

A First Look at the new keying controls in DaVinci Resolve 12

One of the headline color correction features in DaVinci Resolve 12 is the new ‘3D Keyer’. What’s it good for? Here’s what the manual has to say about it:

The 3D keyer is a good one to start with if you’re trying to isolate a range of color such as a blue shirt, a cyan sky, a performer’s skin tone, or the orange leaves of a tree in autumn. Its interface of drawing lines over the part of the image you want to isolate, coupled with its high quality and extreme specificity, make it a fast and accurate tool to use in a variety of circumstances.

(page 696, July 2015 Edition)

The manual also tells us that the 3D Keyer is *always* looking at the Luma, Saturation and Hue components of the image.

Unlike the HSL / RGB Qualifier, you can’t just pull a Hue-only or Luma-only key with the 3D keyer

Its simplicity is its strength. Adding to its strength—it has a sampling colorspace all its own…

The 3D keyer let you flip between HSL and YUV colorspace sampling (YUV is the default). The HSL / RGB Qualifier doesn’t have a YUV option, giving you – the ‘in the know’ colorist – another colorspace to try and pull a quick key without futzing around too much with all the controls and sliders. As you may know, one of my cardinal rules in color correction: “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again… but don’t dawdle. If it fails, try a different technique, quickly!”

The 3D Keyer works best if you accomplish your initial key in under 3 swipes

The 3D Keyer lets you sample ranges of pixels. You can build up your samples by adding the pixels from one swipe while subtracting the pixels in another swipe. It’s very easy to keep swiping, adding and subtracting areas you want—or don’t want—in your key. Before you know it you have 8 swipes and a still-ugly key.

As you’ll see in this Insight… I’m coming to the conclusion that being ‘swipe happy’ is a bad habit. In fact, my best results with the 3D Keyer are when I combine a single swipe with an adjustment of the Tolerance control, except…

There is no tolerance control in the 3D Keyer. Or is there?

In this First Look you’ll learn the rules I’m using to find success with the 3D Keyer

And the one adjustment that doesn’t work quite like its name suggests but seems to be critical for pulling clean keys quickly.

Like learning any tool, the more you use it the more you refine your workflow… and I’ve only had Resolve 12 in my hands for a few weeks. And since this is a Public Beta 1, it’s possible some of these controls will be renamed or revised—at which point I’ll revisit these, my initial thoughts.

At this point in Resolve 12’s release cycle, my goal for you is to have you working much more quickly, and with purposeful intent, when using this new feature of DaVinci Resolve.

– pat

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Homepage Forums First Look at the DaVinci Resolve 3D Keyer

  • Marc Wielage

    Patrick, I also notice after multiple swipes the realtime playback takes a speed hit as well (depending on what kind of files you’re using), so many layers of qualifying takes a toll. Three should be about right. I still haven’t been able to get minus-qualifying mode to work, but I’ll check your video and see if you deal with that.

  • Patrick Inhofer

    I’ve seen that playback hit as well. I forgot to mention it. And yes, the shortcut is to hold the option key. It worked for me, as you’ll see in this Insight.

  • Tom Parish

    Thank you Patrick. I was just wading into this new feature for R12 and bingo your early insights popped right up. Great timing. Thank you. So many new things to sort through in this release.

  • Thanks for the sharing your thoughts! Was also curious if others saw the performance hit. I think Im still “grasping” how its works and so it feels like a “blackbox” feature still, but this def helps. Thanks Pat!

  • Great Insight Pat! Any idea about what the ‘despill’ checkbox is made for? Thank you.

  • chroma key spill. Try it on a green screen with a person in front. It cleans up the green spill quite nicely, HOWEVER, i dont know how much green screen comping people did before this version. I usually do in After Effects, but its technically possibly to do a more than decent green screen in Resolve now. I believe we even have some OFX tools coming to help w comping soon.

    Not sure how it will can be used otherwise.

  • That makes sense Jason, thank you. However I agree people would prefer to do green screen work in a dedicated compositing program like AE, Nuke or Flame. Maybe Dan, with his previous compositor skills, will agree to demo us some green screen work here in Resolve? Dan’s always ready for a challenge… 😉

  • Patrick Inhofer

    Tom – You’re welcome!

  • Patrick Inhofer

    You’re welcome, Jason!

  • Patrick Inhofer

    I think the ‘despill’ option is a ‘tell’ for what Resolve will become more competent at in the future. Especially when you combine that with the ‘rotoscope keyframe’ option in the Tracker.

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