Look Development & Workflow in DaVinci Resolve

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Welcome to an in-depth course in Look Development and Workflow in DaVinci Resolve.  

This is an intermediate course for colorists that want to gain a solid understanding of look development workflows, color management, and color theory.

You will learn complex saturation workflows, how to evaluate and recreate film emulations, analyze and create film halation, create custom black and white look, film grain methodology, the teal and orange look and much more.

At the end of the course, we challenge you to use what you have learned, to color grade your own version of an award-winning commercial.

The footage used in this course and a free sample of 35mm film grain is available for download so that you can easily follow along.

About the instructor

Jason Bowdach is a colorist and finishing artist based in Los Angeles, California. He's a Blackmagic Design certified instructor specializing in color and finishing, and he has an extensive background in film\tv post-production with large-scale international distribution at studios like Disney and Fox. He is also the founder of PixelTools, a company that creates color grading tools and presets for DaVinci Resolve.

Who is this course designed for?

  • Intermediate colorists
     

COURSE OVERVIEW

 

LESSON 01: HERO SHOTS

Going through methods for evaluating which shots to include as hero shots.

LESSON 02: COLOR MANAGEMENT & BASE GRADE

Preparing the project by setting up the color management and color space aware tools. Looking at how to work with exposure and balance to preserve details while keeping the integrity of the cinematography and the context of the story. Also going through some image-analyzing tools that helps make better decisions in the base grade process.

LESSON 03: LOOK WORKFLOW AND FILM PRINT EMULATION LUTS

In this lesson, we're diving deep into workflow for look development and node organisation with node hierarch. Then, looking at film print emulation characteristics and setting up a workflow to get the best result out of them.

LESSON 04: WORKING WITH FILM PRINT EMULATION LUTS

Using printer lights and film print emulation on a commercial using the established workflow. Also, discussing order of operations, ways to kill off saturation, whether to apply noise reduction before or after the grade and general color theory.

LESSON 05: SILVER HIGLIGHTED LOOK

Demonstrating three different methods to create the Silver Highlighted Look (Bleach Bypass) on a color chart. The methods include midtone detail work to add micro contrast, shaping luma only curves and primary controls.

LESSON 06: LOOK ADJUSTMENT

Now it's time to implement the look into the established workflow, on top of the base grade. Explaining how to adjust for best possible result and consistency. Then, experimenting by mixing silver looks.

LESSON 07: EVALUATING & RECREATING FILM EMULATIONS

Diving into the characteristics and behaviours of film emulations, and recreating the essence with curves.

LESSON 08: CUSTOM BLACK & WHITE LOOKS

The RGB mixer and the Splitter & Combiner node is used to gain better control over black & white images.

LESSON 09: ANALYZING & CREATING HALATION

Analyzing halation on images shot on film, and creating halation that can be used in a variety of looks from scratch. Talking about the benefits of working in linear light and converting between color spaces.

LESSON 10: FILM GRAIN METHOLOGY

Using charts and scopes to evaluate grain, and continue to emulating both negative and positive film grain. Looking at the best ways to integrate grain for most visually pleasing result, and setting up a real film-scan-grain workflow.

LESSON 11: TEAL & ORANGE LOOK

Building the classic teal & warm look with curves on a test image and charts.

LESSON 12: TEAL & ORANGE CONTINUES

Going through two more methods to create the teal & orange look, using both primaries and the color warper.

LESSON 13: COMPLEX SATURATION WORKFLOWS

Going through different saturation tools, and looking at color management to create technical accurate saturation response in non-managed workflows. Then, using the LAB model to adjust saturation and using HSV and HSL to create deep filmic colors.

LESSON 14: COLOR MODELS EXPLAINED

Looking at some color models to better explain what happens with saturation when converting between different color spaces.

LESSON 15: HARDWARE & 3RD PARTY SCOPES

Jason walks you through his hardware recommendations and looks at Nobe Omniscope.

LESSON 16: CHALLENGE

In the last lesson, we're challenging you to re-create the original grade of a commercial using the techniques and strategies from this course.


 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Ioannis Stergioulis said:

Please, can you elaborate on their differences Ethan? Maybe you can guide me to a knowledge base for more info on that (some article/link...) ? Are there any info on the BMD Resolve manual?

It's all in the manual. HDR tint/temperature sliders are more natural. 

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Jason and Lowepost,

Thanks for the well structured course.
Jason is color grading with an external display, but the audience is limited to what can be shown via the UI only. For example, not even on my iMac 27” it's possible for me to see the effect of the film grain applied in one of the lessons through the tinny Resolve viewer, as well as other operations throughout the course.
It's going to be appreciated if in future Jason's courses to show the results of his grades in fullscreen playback? 
Again, thank you for the insights into the different aspects of color grading and look design.
 

 

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12 hours ago, Ioannis Stergioulis said:

Please, can you elaborate on their differences Ethan? Maybe you can guide me to a knowledge base for more info on that (some article/link...) ? Are there any info on the BMD Resolve manual?

 

7 hours ago, Tung Son Nguyen said:

It's all in the manual. HDR tint/temperature sliders are more natural. 

I should have mentioned this in the course with a bit more detail - the temp and tint controls on the HDR Panel work in a far more technically accurate manner as we’re working in the correct color space /gamma. When you use the correct settings on the contextual menu for gamma and color space, it’s no different than working in a project-level color management in terms of how that specific tool functions. 
 

If you regularly work with log or raw media and prefer grading before the transform CST or LUT, a technically accurate saturation control can result in a more visually pleasing image with less fiddling. That said, It’s just another tool for you toolkit. 
 

4 hours ago, Willian Aleman said:

 

Jason and Lowepost,

Thanks for the well structured course.
Jason is color grading with an external display, but the audience is limited to what can be shown via the UI only. For example, not even on my iMac 27” it's possible for me to see the effect of the film grain applied in one of the lessons through the tinny Resolve viewer, as well as other operations throughout the course.
It's going to be appreciated if in future Jason's courses to show the results of his grades in fullscreen playback? 
Again, thank you for the insights into the different aspects of color grading and look design.
 

 

It is pretty subtle and I totally understand the limitation w the small viewer. Next time, I’ll do a full screen playback. 

It’s so hard to do a proper grain demo over compressed media, but I hope the overall thought process came through over my VO - felt more than seen. 

Your comment also brings up a common issue with grain and I didn’t mention in the course but thought I should   - your final compression can and will change how your grain looks. Be sure to test in your final environment (web, bluray, cinema) and using your exact compression method, if possible.
 

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15 hours ago, Ioannis Stergioulis said:

Please, can you elaborate on their differences Ethan? Maybe you can guide me to a knowledge base for more info on that (some article/link...) ? Are there any info on the BMD Resolve manual?

Best to get a full understanding from the manual. The version17 release has all these features added. But, put simply the Temp/Tint in the primaries pallete is a simple linear RGB gain operation, whereas with the temp/tint in the HDR pallete there is some under-the-hood colourspace conversions taking place to produce more photometrically accurate results.

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20 hours ago, Jason Bowdach said:

Your comment also brings up a common issue with grain and I didn’t mention in the course but thought I should   - your final compression can and will change how your grain looks. Be sure to test in your final environment (web, bluray, cinema) and using your exact compression method, if possible.
 

Hi Jason,

Thanks for the prompt response.

I have the experience of grain turning into blocks and ghosty artifacts after web compression, especially in the blue channel.  After this lesson, I always try to assign the amount of grain to individual channel instead of globally, reducing the amount in the blue channel. However, this doesn't happen when I delivery to Blu_ray disc. This is due to the higher bit rate available in this format compared to the streaming services, like video and Youtube. By the way. NetFlix streaming standard for SDR is only 25 Mbps. Reason why some grain applied to some of its content has the ghosty grain effect, depends on the end user internet speed.

Thanks for the addendum.

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