Introduction to Compositing in DaVinci Resolve

An Introduction to Compositing in Fusion

November 15, 2018

Using a simple green screen from a low quality source, learn the power of Resolve's Fusion. Learn Boolean, Merge, and MatteControl nodes.

Team Mixing Light Note: We are pleased to welcome Jamie Dickinson to our roster of Contributors, here on He kicks us off with a deeper look at Fusion’s nodal compositing tools. Please join us in welcoming him to Mixing Light, in the Comments below! You can find out more about Jamie (and all of our Contributors) on our About Us page.

Keying a low quality green screen to learn Fusion’s boolean operations

The aim of this Insight is to give a novice Fusion user, who may be quite new to the subject, an introduction into the craft of compositing. It’s a very involved subject and Fusion is an incredibly deep program – it can be used for compositing, motion graphics, it has a great particles system, it can import and render 3D models, etc. – so it can be a daunting prospect for some people to even make a start. But I think one of the best things about Fusion is that it allows you to start simple, with what you know, and then add and refine, as you learn.

Combining node operations

In this Insight we begin with a re-cap of some of the basics and not make too many assumptions about prior knowledge of the subject. We then go on to demonstrate a real-world use of some very handy tools (ChannelBooleans, the MatteControl and the Merge) which will help explain the concepts. I think it helps to get a clearer understanding of some of the terms involved. For instance, the usage of the terms Key and  Alpha (which confuses many people).

Armed with this understanding, it’ll help you move on to more complex things, so you can experiment and learn from here. Maybe have some fun with it, create some text, combine it with textures from another image, try different Apply (blend) Modes, use it like PhotoShop. Understanding these tools should really help with that kind of thing.

In this Insight you’ll learn:

  • The definition of Matte, Mask, Key, and Alpha (and how those terms differ)
  • Copy ChannelBooleans
  • Negative ChannelBooleans (to invert a key signal)
  • And ChannelBooleans (to create a light wrap on the foreground element)
  • Using the Additive / Subtractive slider in the merge tool (to complete the light wrap)
  • Using the MatteControl to premultiply a node (to complete the light wrap)
  • Create an Add operation in a Merge node


I first used Fusion over ten years ago and I also used the node compositor inside Avid|DS (don’t get me started  on what a shame that system was killed off!). So I was able to ‘up-sell’ my services when a series I was grading needed a little vfx and compositing. I was able to use Fusion to create a reasonable comp then, later add branches into the ‘Flow’ and insert tools in order to refine and improve it.

Now that Fusion is built into Resolve I’d say that you’d be missing out if you didn’t try at to use it on at least one simple job. Sometimes you can do these things with the Resolve tools, sometimes you’d want to send the shot to someone else – but sometimes doing it yourself in Fusion is perfect and can be much more efficient.



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  • Joey D’Anna

    Jamie! Welcome – and great to see you here on mixinglight!
    I love this – tons of good info.

  • Jamie Dickinson

    Thanks Joey, if it meets approval it must be OK!

  • Willian Aleman

    As much as I appreciate this insight, it would really help if next time these types of techniques could be explained using from time to time the footage in motion. Working in a single frame helps only to momentarily mask the side effects of operations that seem to work well when applied to a single frame, but most of the time look undesirable when in playback, making us to start over.

  • Jamie Dickinson

    Hi, thanks for the feedback, I’ll definitely keep that in mind for future tutorials. I’m just aware that I don’t want to slow down the pace of what I’m showing so hopefully you get the theory of what’s going on – the fine tuning will always depend upon the actual material you have.

  • Willian Aleman

    Thanks for your prompt response. Looking forward for your next insight.

  • Marc Wielage

    Great work! I look forward to future installments.

  • Jamie Dickinson

    Thanks, Marc!

  • Todd B

    Great insight, but as a sidenote I wanted to say I loved the Fusion title animations toward the beginning; Patrick had some good insights that introduced general concepts of title animations, but could we see an insight in the future that explains how to use Fusion to make more aesthetic and complex title animations like yours? Thanks!

  • Elrik Jundis

    As someone new to compositing in Fusion this was great. Thank you!

  • Jamie Dickinson

    Great, I’m glad to hear you found this useful!

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