Working With Reference Images Part 3: Building The Look

September 22, 2020

Cullen shows how to put the analysis of reference images + analysis of shots on the timeline together to create a cohesive, matching look.


Tying It All Together

In this Insight, we’re wrapping up our series on working with reference images by applying lessons from Parts 1 and 2 to the creation of our look. As we discussed at the outset of this series, the ability to break down a reference image and borrow visual ideas from it is a vital skill for working colorists.

In Part 1, we focused on evaluating our references and identifying their key components, much like a chef might evaluate a dish, or a musician a piece of music.

In Part 2, we took a detailed look at the material to be graded, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses in order to determine which ideas to borrow.

Now that we understand both our references and our source material in a detailed way, we’re ready to skillfully select and recreate visual ideas. In this Insight I’ll show you:

  • How to build your overall contrast curve using Custom Curves, focusing specifically on setting a knee, shoulder, and black point
  • How to recreate a laboratory “pull” process
  • How to fine-tune your image’s saturation
  • How to add a split-toning effect by cooling shadows

If you have any questions, comments, or war stories on this topic, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. See you next time!


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