Practical Beauty Color Grading Level One: Quick and Effective

May 14, 2018

Sometimes even offering the smallest level of beauty work for a client can go a long way. Learn quick skin-smoothing / eyebag-reducing tips .


Do you have 50 shots that need quick and effective beauty work (but no budget or time)?

In my previous Insight on this topic I shared the benefits of offering beauty work. It’s now time to see the different levels of beauty work in action with my most practical beauty work advice.

In this Insight you learn about my ‘Level 1’ beauty work

What do I mean by level 1? It’s work that you can apply cookie-cutter, across most shots with minimal effort. For me, in DaVinci Resolve it’s a combination of using the face refinement and soften/sharpen tool in ResolveFX.

It’s usually a very practical approach, and often makes the biggest difference in the daily grind of color work.

When Is Level 1 Most Useful?

This cookie-cutter setup is aimed at clients that don’t have a budget for beauty and retouching and are not 100% happy with the on camera-look of the actors. It’s an effective approach that has a clear before-after appeal and doesn’t drag you down in nitty-gritty detail work. But it gives you a fair amount of tools at your disposal to attack the most objectionable elements of any particular setup.

Most important – this practical beauty color correction approach takes the reality off the image and gives the actor a slightly more complimentary feel without becoming obvious (if you keep a light touch on it).

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Homepage Forums Practical Beauty Color Grading Level One: Quick and Effective

  • Joshua Howey

    Hey Dan, quick question: if you are already utilizing the face refinement effect, why not also use its skin soften tool instead of creating a semi-complicated alpha signal chain for a second effect? While it is not as robust as the soften sharpen effect, it is much quicker and will make a simpler node graph, which isn’t that the point in quick and effective? Thanks!

  • Good insight! More and more often my clients are just expecting this quick level of beauty work as standard. One other effect I often put on the skin is Color Compressor — with not much work, it does a good job of unifying patchy looking skin.

  • Sam Campos

    Great insight Dan!

  • Nice insight…really like the tip of adding back fine detail sharpness so you can see the pores. Just the other day I was coloring the “video version” of a still campaign, and asked to match the color of the video to the retouched stills. The skin in the retouched photos looked perfect-no blemishes, no blotches, all uniformly bronze, except there were lots of pores! In my video grade, it was easyish for me to remove the blemishes and get color uniformity with sat curves and negative midtone detail, but that wiped out the pores and made everything feel too soft.

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