Using Luma keys and Lift/Gamma corrections to soften high-contrast looks
We’ve all got our favorite techniques for fine-tuning the dark areas of our image, but oftentimes I find there’s a certain filmic shape I struggle to get in my shadows. Today are exploring a technique for sculpting rich and soft shadows.
Using film print looks as inspiration
One of the signature traits of a film print is the combination of strong contrast through the midtones with a “roll” in the highlights and shadows, creating a bold yet detail-rich image. This aesthetic can be achieved in many ways, but today we’re going to explore a highly effective technique I borrowed from Company 3 Senior Colorist Tom Poole. For lack of a better term, we’ll call it “shadow smearing” – a name I promise will make more sense after today’s Insight!
Key takeaways from this Insight
By the end of this Insight, you should understand how to:
- Create a soft shadow qualifier and “smear” the high and low values closer together
- Visualize a qualified lift/gain adjustment as a curve
Related Mixing Light Insights
- Better Keying Using DaVinci Resolve’s 3D Keyer – Are you pulling a key for color grading, and Resolve’s HSL keyer isn’t doing it? This dive into the 3D Keyer may get better results faster.
- Build Your Own Qualifier In HSL Color Space Using Curves – Learn an alternate method for creating masks limiting adjustments to particular luminance regions, using Curves and Splitter/Combiner nodes.
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