Rediscover The Basics – Saturation

Rediscover The Basics – Saturation

January 5, 2015

In a world where you can apply 20 nodes to build a look Dan challenges you to rediscover basic grading concepts starting with Saturation


Working Saturation Without Touching The ‘Sat’ Control

Welcome back to Mixing Light for 2015!

A new year brings a new start and as I was making my new year’s resolutions I thought to myself what can I do in the world of color grading?

My answer was to rediscover the basics!

I am guilty of a few things in the grading suite. I find contrast curves that I love and the client loves and keeps using them instead of exploring the image fully.

So my challenge to myself and to all members is to try and challenge your self in January by rethinking about things you take for granted or don’t spend much time thinking about.


First up in this challenge series is to think about saturation!

We all think about saturation when looking at a scene but I want you to push the concept further.

Instead of thinking about high saturation or low saturation on a global scale see if you can break it down further.

Look at every single color in the scene and think to yourself how can I build a look by just adjusting the saturation in the scene.

See if you can make your image feel more cinematic or go in the opposite direction and make it more glossy.

In my insight, I used the saturation, hue, and Y only controls which was challenging but a lot of fun.

My Thoughts

Trying this knocked me completely out of my comfort zone!

I felt like my hands were tied and I couldn’t make the image feel as cinematic as I wanted or even push it as glossy as I wanted but it did force me to look at each color in the scene and try to get the best from them.

Check out my insight below to see how I got on

– Dan

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Homepage Forums Rediscover The Basics – Saturation

  • Back to bacics yet not. Really useful, as I tend to use aturation to lead the eye a lot. Looking forward to further insights on saturation and other areas. Thanks Dan, great one to start 2015! I like that term “electric” when you discussed red. I ve been calling it “nuclear” when a color gets crazy saturated, but electric is likely a better visual descriptor after hearing someone else describe it.

  • Tim Snider

    Nice job, Dan. I know you have to move quickly with the individual node color isolation, but it would be interesting to see how much chatter there is with some of them and how you handle that. Especially with the combination of sand and skin tone or with the sky.

  • Dan Moran

    Great idea Tim! I should record an insight that focuses just on that area of working with difficult keys. In reality I do a lot of masking and roto work when grading a commercial for that very reason. I recently graded a spot where the wall behind the leading lady was the same color as her skin. Roto Roto Roto!

  • Ian Grey

    Great tutorial Dan, problem I have is I never get the time to go this detailed into grading

  • sounds strange but Id love to learn about ur roto technique or tips so your shapes dont show up, even feathered

  • Scott

    Great insight. Very useful & simple way to start.

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