Color grading might not be the only reason you use DaVinci Resolve, but I can imagine it is a pretty good reason. While you have all of the tools to build beautiful color grades from scratch, sometimes you might find LUTS you really enjoy and want to import those instead. I definitely understand that. So today, I’m going to show you how to import LUTS in DaVinci Resolve.
Why Use A LUT?
Using LUTs in film is a great way to get started with color grading and replicate your favorite movies and shows. If you have a favorite movie with a particular color scheme that you love, there’s probably a LUT available to help you achieve that look.
Not only does using LUTs save you a lot of time in color grading, but it also frees you from having to purchase and learn expensive software. With busy schedules, learning the intricacies of color grading, especially when you’re pressed for time, is not always the most ideal use of your time.
Using LUTs is also a fantastic way to match the colors from different cameras. Since cameras have varying sensors, and native settings, and handle colors differently depending on the brand, matching those colors manually can be time-consuming and difficult. With LUTs, the process is much simpler as you don’t have to adjust hues, contrast, and saturation on your own
LUTs are incredibly versatile, and they’re not specific to any particular software. With so many davinci resolve LUTs available, you can use them in a wide range of programs, such as DaVinci Resolve, Premiere Pro, or After Effects. However, it’s important to ensure that you’re downloading LUTs that are compatible with the program you’re using. Before you fall in love with a particular LUT, make sure it will work with your software.
Different Types of LUTs?
Understanding the type of LUT you need is crucial to the color grading process. There are two main types of LUTs: 1D and 3D.
1D LUTs refer to a general gamma curve that can only change black-and-white levels, contrast, and brightness. This can be limiting for most people. In contrast, a 3D LUT maps hue and saturation, allowing you to adjust colors relative to other colors. This provides more control over your color grades, making it easier to achieve the desired look. Therefore, I recommend using 3D LUTs as much as possible to fine-tune your color grading.
So how can you differentiate between a 1D and a 3D LUT? The easiest way is by looking at their file extensions. Generally, 1D LUTs have a file extension of .lut, while 3D LUTs have a file extension of .cube. Knowing the difference between these file extensions can save you time when selecting the right type of LUT for your project.
If you don’t want to use a LUT, you can always start from the ground up with tips and tricks, and don’t forget to have fun! This isn’t supposed to be a daunting task.
In this example I’m going to be using our short film, “This Used to Be Our Dream.” A very important decision leads a young man to ponder the possibilities of a future that could have been. Keep in mind that this film is already color-graded!
How To Import LUTs in DaVinci Resolve
- Open Project Settings
- Select Color Management
- Then click on Open LUT Folder
- In another Finder window, navigate to the LUTs you want to import
- Drag your .cube files into the DaVinci LUT Folder you opened.
- Navigate back to resolve and open the Color tab
- Select LUTs in the top left corner, right-click in the LUT browser, and select Refresh
If you don’t see your LUT after refreshing, just restart DaVinci Resolve, and you will now see them in the LUT tab.
Can I change the intensity of my LUT?
Yes, you can! If you want to change the intensity of your LUT, adjust the Gain. To do this, click on the node you have added the LUT to. In the Node Key tab at the bottom of your screen, you will Key Input and Key Output. Adjust the Key Output of 1.000 to whatever numerical value you want.
Can I put more than one LUT on a node to blend colors?
No, to blend colors, you have to add another node and then adjust the intensity (see FAQ above) of both to blend them. Keep in mind whichever node you put first will affect the result, so play around and see what you like! You can also click the corresponding node number, 01/02 etc., and turn off the node color so you can preview other ones!
Can I rename my LUTs?
DaVinci Resolve doesn’t allow you to right click and rename the LUT folders once they are already imported. You would have to go back into your DaVinci LUT folder found at these locations to rename them:
- Mac: Library/Application Support/Blackmagic Design/DaVinci Resolve/LUT/
- Windows: C: \ProgramData\Blackmagic Design\DaVinci Resolve\Support\LUT
Keep in mind that if you aren’t using a studio version of DaVinci then they will be stored in different locations. Or you an repeat the steps above and select the Color management settings and navigate to your LUT folder from there. It just depends on if you want to have DaVinci open while you rename things or not.
Can I change the look of a LUT once it’s applied?
Yes, of course you can! You can either adjust your color wheels, bars, or log wheels etc. as if you were doing a color grade from scratch.
I do always recommend that you create a new node to make any sort of adjustments and labeling your nodes accordingly. It keeps things much more organized as well as having different “layers” like Photoshop. Then you know exactly the changes you’ve made, and you can delete or adjust as needed.
And that is how to import luts into DaVinci Resolve! As you can see, importing LUTs into DaVinci Resolve is incredibly easy! Don’t forget to try out a bunch of different LUTs or even create your own. Thankfully DaVinci Resolve is an incredible resource, and the sky really is the limit. Let us know in the comments what your favorite LUTs to use are, and happy filmmaking!