An Introduction to Texture Management (using DaVinci Resolve)

April 28, 2022

In the start of a new series, colorist & educator Hector Berrebi defines the terms and tools of the important concept: Texture Management.


Part 1: What is texture and how do you control it? 

Have you ever heard colorists talk about texture? Or texture management? Maybe they were talking about it as it relates to beauty work? Or maybe in relation to film print emulation? But do you have a clear, well-defined understanding of the term ‘texture management’?

In other words:

  • How do we define textures in video?
  • What are the goals of texture manipulation?
  • What does texture management actually do to our images at the pixel level when we soften or (particularly) sharpen them?  
  • Finally, can you talk and think about texture management with precision such that you can explain it to your clients?

Learning how to see, think, and communicate about texture

Of all the tasks and workflows that encompass the craft of color correction & grading, texture work is, in my experience, one of the least understood (and, generally, less discussed). That’s not surprising to me:

  • Texture doesn’t really deal with hues, saturation, luma, or overall contrast.
  • Texture stands apart from the current revolution in color managed workflows with the technical lingo of color spaces, transfers functions, and LUTs.
  • Texture isn’t discussed in High Dynamic Range workflows.
  • Texture never shows up on a QC report from a network or streaming service (except, maybe, in the context of soft focus).

And yet, texture management covers numerous techniques. It has content-specific goals and uses a wide pallet of tools to achieve its ends. From narrative to documentary work, from beauty to archival restoration, and from stylistic alterations to corrective fixes – texture manipulation is everywhere!

For every professional colorist, understanding textures is definitely a topic worth learning, practicing, and mastering.

Examples of texture-related work that you’re already doing to some extent include:

  • Making image elements stand out or making them more gritty
  • Or the opposite: Making elements less apparent, muted down, or smoother
  • Reducing – or adding – noise
  • Smoothing skin
  • Repairing archival or damaged footage

These are all common examples of texture-related tasks.

In fact, the last 4-5 major DaVinci Resolve releases have each added texture-related tools. Some are quite advanced and useful, so that Resolve has one of the most capable and complete texture management feature sets on the market today.

Without a doubt, texture management is definitely worth an entire series covering these many aspects of task and skill. With this Insight, we’re starting that series.

In this Insight, Part 1 of a new series, you learn:

  • What and how is texture defined in digital video?
  • What do we mean by the term, “texture management”?
  • What’s the difference between actual & perceived sharpness – known as acutance?
  • What actually happens to our images when we manipulate their textures?

To advance our learning, we use and explain the A/B highlighter mode in Resolve and take an in-depth look at the most classic of texture management tools: Blur/sharpen controls.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts?

I’m currently in the process of recording this series so if you have any questions, confusions, or topics you’d like me to explore – the comments are the place to make that happen and now is the time to ask!

– Hector

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Homepage Forums An Introduction to Texture Management (using DaVinci Resolve)

  • Jim Robinson

    I don’t know what’s ahead so prematurely commenting.

    Hector – I find this a really interesting subject and agree that it doesn’t get talked about enough.

    Pattern variation in luminance – through detail in stops and size of stops. Patterns with close variations in luminance or color show less texture – The manipulation is common when someone crushes blacks or raises the black level to push black to grey. In color grading I find the we use sharpness and blur much like we use split tinning in color the further we make the viewer look to the sharpness and where there is less sharpness ( blur or bokeh) our eyes don’t try to focus on it and we end up with eye trace to push them toward the subject.


    I try to study historic art oil paintings that have used these techniques for depth and visual importance in the image.

    In oil painting detail is heavy in brush strokes and the further away something is supposed to be is  almost a wash or water-colour look. Our eyes are attracted to detail.

    Our eyes outside of 2d imagery, can see the lighting difference in patterns as well as the color – that is the reason we can see fur on a black cat.The tones that give them the blackness upon investigation, will have shades of grey mixed.

    So in video the dynamic range and how much actual contrast is applied can change the shadow detail in the toe. You squash it and the greys become black and the subtle texture will be lost.

    • Thanks Jim!

      There is much, much ahead…


      And as for your comment about detail loss –

      So in video the dynamic range and how much actual contrast is applied can change the shadow detail in the toe. You squash it and the greys become black and the subtle texture will be lost

      we will definitely deal with it, and later on even construct our own node trees/tools for texture work that overcome this, toe & Knee 😉


  • So glad to see this! I’ve been rather … well, directly jealous of the way especially Robbie and Dan have done amazing textural demonstrations here. My understanding and practice with the tools used for this alone simply aren’t worth talking about. So … yippee! Something new I’ve wanted to learn about.

    And I love the style of your presentation. Wish I could borrow your voice for mine!

  • Hector – thanks for the insightful info on the topic. As in lighting and relighting in post for colorists, I found it beneficial to have the concept of local texture. I can not wait for part II.

  • Marc Wielage

    Great stuff — this sheds some light on a topic that’s not discussed nearly enough. Widely misunderstood, too. And Hector does terrific work — he’s a great addition to Mixing Light.

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