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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6 hours ago, Jason Bowdach said:

 

Hope that helps answer a few of your questions. Feel free to follow up if I missed anything or if you have any additional follow-up questions. 

Thank you very much for your answer. It's clear now.

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Can anyone help please with a couple of minor issues please?

Minor issue 1:

When i set my project settings to DRCM/DWG > Gamma 2.4 my project doesn't shift at all?  Pretty sure it should.  This is leaving with the footage just about how i scene cut it, and without any apparent colour management.  Very odd.

Also

Minor issue 2:

When i apply a flag to designate a particular clip > the flag appears on all of my clips and not only on the one that i have selected.
A setting perhaps?

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Thanks in advance.

 

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Curious about something for CST if I'm working in RCM or ACES.  I've experimented but not sure I've done it exactly right.

This is in relation mainly to the Halation effect.

What seemed to work for me was a bit complicated but seemed to work best when working with an Arri Clip and DRCM since when enabling/disabling I saw no change, but I would love a double check:

1st CST node:

Input Color space: Davinci Wide Gamut

Input Gamma: ARRI LogC

Output Color Space: Rec709

Output Gamma: Linear

2nd CST node:

Input Color Space: Rec709

Input Gamma: Linear

Output Color Space: Davinci Wide Gamut

Output Gamma: ARRI LogC

 

Thanks to anyone that can confirm this would be the best practice.  And for ACES I'd assume just switch the Davinci Wide Gamut option (in the CST nodes) to ACES version in the project.

Edited by Christian Rush
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On 9/30/2021 at 9:20 AM, lewis jacobs said:

I'm a novice to bare with me, where in the node tree should you use the last method with the deep colour? After rec709 conversion? Before or after a FPE?

I suggest applying the HSV \ HSL deep color techniques I demonstrated while still on a scene referred (log) state, so before you convert to Rec709. If using an FPE, it depends what its output is. If it's still scene referred, you can do either before or after, but if we're talking the build-in one included with Resolve, you should do it before as it includes a transform conversion to Rec709. 

11 minutes ago, Christian Rush said:

Curious about something for CST if I'm working in RCM or ACES.  I've experimented but not sure I've done it exactly right.

This is in relation mainly to the Halation effect.

What seemed to work for me was a bit complicated but seemed to work best when working with an Arri Clip and DRCM since when enabling/disabling I saw no change, but I would love a double check:

1st CST node:

Input Color space: Davinci Wide Gamut

Input Gamma: ARRI LogC

Output Color Space: Rec709

Output Gamma: Linear

2nd CST node:

Input Color Space: Rec709

Input Gamma: Linear

Output Color Space: Davinci Wide Gamut

Output Gamma: ARRI LogC

 

Thanks to anyone that can confirm this would be the best practice.  And for ACES I'd assume just switch the Davinci Wide Gamut option (in the CST nodes) to ACES version in the project.

The main issue when using project level color management settings is the lack of control for techniques like halation and others that require sophisticated manual color management - one of the main reasons why I prefer using a "manual" node-based color management strategy as opposed to using project settings level color management. 

 

Unfortunately, the settings you provided for halation going between Log and Linear aren't working as intended as you're actually fighting against the built-in color management. For the halation technique to work as seamlessly as possible across a wide number os shots, we don't want ANY adjustment besides converting the signal from log to linear, applying the halation, and converting back to the exact signal we started. Ideally, we don't even want tonemapping, but sometimes certain signals (non-log to linear, etc) might require it. 

Same thing w ACES, project level can work, but it limits what "tricks" we can do, including the halation strategy I demoed - which is why many prefer using a "manual" ACES  (sometimes called Fake ACES, or Pseudo ACES) set up within the node tree, as it allows the best of both worlds - great, industry-standard color management + full control over the color pipeline. 

 

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On 10/5/2021 at 1:06 AM, Jason Bowdach said:

Same thing w ACES, project level can work, but it limits what "tricks" we can do, including the halation strategy I demoed - which is why many prefer using a "manual" ACES  (sometimes called Fake ACES, or Pseudo ACES) set up within the node tree, as it allows the best of both worlds - great, industry-standard color management + full control over the color pipeline. 

 

So then I am assuming the halation compound must take place before the Aces Pseudo workflow? 

Davinci YRGB: Halation Compound Node with the CST's for linear/ARRI in it > ACES Node 1 > Balance/Looks Nodes > ACES Node 2?

halation.PNG

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