Upgrade Your Toolkit By Creating A Subtractive Color Balance Tool

December 4, 2023

Colorist Cullen Kelly teaches you to create a subtractive color balance tool for more pleasing color washes & looks in DaVinci Resolve.


Part 3 — Gain more control over color channels when color balancing

In this Insight, you learn how to build a custom node tree that makes our trackball balance adjustments behave subtractively, meaning the image gets darker as we push in any color direction.

I’ve always had difficulty quickly getting a “color wash” look I’m happy with. I typically flip between wheels, trackballs, and secondaries to create something visually pleasing.

What I’ve realized after many years of doing this is that I’m often looking for a subtractive feel, in which the images get darker as I push toward the “wash” color I’ve chosen.

In this Insight, you’ll learn to create a custom node setup that allows you to get that behavior automatically whenever you reach for your trackball. This allows you to dial in a great-looking “wash”, quickly.

You’ll also build in the flexibility to toggle between subtractive balance and “normal” balance.

Premium Members: Download the CKC getMax v1.0 DCTL

I’ve provided a DCTL that captures the max RGB value of our three color channels, and sets all three color channels to that getMax value. We then use that getMax node in further image processing, as described in this video Insight. Mixing Light Premium members can download this asset from this Insight’s ‘Additional Downloads’ section.

Key takeaways from this Insight

By the end of this Insight you should understand:

  • Why subtractive color is desirable, and why it’s often a better model for the behavior of real-world color
  • How to perform basic “visual math” with the layer mixer to get our desired behavior
  • The difference between “normal” RGB balance vs subtractive RGB balance

Related Mixing Light Insights

Questions or Comments? Leave a comment!

Is this Insight useful to you? Let us know! Mixing Light is all about community discussions, and we’re curious if you found this helpful, if you have something to add, or if you have more questions you need answered.

– Cullen

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