The Do’s And Don’ts of Color Correcting with Hue-vs-Sat Curves

December 10, 2022

Colorist Cullen Kelly explores his favorite uses of the Sat vs Lum curve in Resolve and best practices for consistently great results.

Tips on using Hue-vs-Sat Curves (without damaging your images)

Long before the Sat vs. Lum tool was added to Resolve’s menu of HSL “X vs. Y” curves, I was submitting feature requests for this tool. Adjusting the luminance of pixels based on how saturated they are is an extremely useful ability to have.

It’s exciting to have this functionality at our disposal. But to make good use of it, we need a clear understanding of what exactly it’s doing. Just as important is knowing how you can create image artifacts by misusing them.

In this Insight, you’ll learn best practices for using the Hue-vs-Sat curve effectively while avoiding nasty artifacts!

Learning goals for this Insight

By the end of this video Insight, you should be able to:

  • Quickly decode which parameters of our image a particular “X vs. Y” curve is altering (and which it isn’t!)
  • The amplitude of a saturation channel in log space and how this relates to the use of our curves
  • Craft a gentle but intentional curve for the best results
  • Combining the Sat vs. Lum curve with an HSL qualifier to prohibit or limit its effect on skin tones

Related Mixing Light Insights

– Cullen

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Homepage Forums The Do’s And Don’ts of Color Correcting with Hue-vs-Sat Curves

  • Hey Cullen, great tutorial. Just wanted to give you a heads-up that you put “Hue-vs-Sat” instead of “Sat-vs-Lum” in the title!

  • Jim Robinson

    Yes, I noticed the title too. When it got to the end of the insight, I couldn’t even remember Hue vs Sat mentioned more than once.


  • Great to see the way you’re using this, nicely explained, thank you. I really like the Sat vs Lum curve, I was really pleased they introduced it (I think you’re right, version 17) because other methods if doing this seemed a bit clumsy or over-complicated. I actually like to dial it in for skin to give a denser skintone, it seems more ‘filmic’ to me?

    There’s also the Colour Warper – see this thread


  • Cullen Kelly

    Thanks Jamie! And yes, great point about denser skin tone feeling more filmic, I’ve actually been playing with this a lot lately! Thanks as well for the link to this Color Warper thread, interesting stuff!

  • Thank you Cullen. In the insight you mentioned that you like perform this operation as a global adjustment using the timeline grading mode. Do you also do the layer mixer for skin tone keying in the timeline grading mode as well? I assume you don’t but please advise. Thank you for your time. Such appreciated.

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