Using LUTs in DaVinci Resolve 18.5

Using LUTs in DaVinci Resolve 18.5

Have you been wondering how to spice up your color grading game? Well, our step-by-step guide to installing Look Up Tables (LUTs) in DaVinci Resolve is just the ticket. We are about to make your projects look even more stunning. 

LUTs, or Look Up Tables, are essentially magic effects that can drastically transform your footage. Think of them as Instagram filters but for video - they adjust the color profile of your footage, often creating stunning and stylized looks. Who wouldn't want to take advantage of such a powerful tool on a platform as powerful as DaVinci Resolve?

Step-by-Step Guide to Importing LUTs into DaVinci Resolve 

Let's dive right in, shall we? Here's a detailed, user-friendly guide to importing LUTs into the highly popular color grading software, DaVinci Resolve. 

Step 1: Launch DaVinci Resolve 

Kick things off by opening DaVinci Resolve on your computer.

Step 2: Create or Open a Project 

Have a specific project in mind? Open it up. Otherwise, feel free to start a new project from scratch. Here's how: simply click on 'File' in the upper left corner and navigate to 'New Project'. 

Step 3: Navigate to the LUT Folder 

Spot the gear icon at the lower right section of the screen? Great! Now, give that a click. This will bring you to the Color Management Panel. From there, a quick scan will lead you to the Lookup Tables section. Do you see that "Open LUT Folder" button? Perfect, click on that! 

Step 4: Add the LUTs to Folders

Start by moving your LUTs, which must be .cube files, into the designated folder. Here's a heads-up: If you've downloaded the basic version of DaVinci Resolve from the Apple App Store, the assigned location for saving LUTs is a tad different. Now, let's get you sorted with the specific folders.

For Mac Users
The pathway is Library/Application Support/Blackmagic Design/DaVinci Resolve/LUT/.

For Windows Users
Follow this route C:\ProgramData\Blackmagic Design\DaVinci Resolve\Support\LUT.

Step 5: Refresh LUT List

Let's go back to DaVinci Resolve, shall we? Find and click the "Color" button in the bottom menu tab to open up the Color Page. Got it? Good. Now let's locate the “LUTs” tab in the top left toolbar. Once found, give it a click, then right-click anywhere in the LUT Browser. A dropdown menu should appear, from where you need to select “Refresh".

Step 6: Start Using Your LUTs (How To Add a "Serial Node")

The first thing you want to do is click on the 'Clips' in the window located at the top left part of your screen. Then, hovering on any clip will give you a preview and you can select the clip you want to work on by clicking it once. 

Now, head over to the 'Nodes' window. If this is not displayed, you can enable it by clicking on 'View' in the top toolbar and selecting 'Show Nodes'. Right-click anywhere in the Nodes window and select 'Add Node' then 'Add Serial'. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Shift + S

This will add a new node, which will appear as a box in the Nodes window. This is simply a graphical representation of the different color corrections applied to the clip. 

Next, you'll want to link "Serial Node." Click and drag from the small square at the right side of the previous node to the left side of the new node. This connects the nodes properly, meaning the corrections you apply in the new node will be added after the corrections from the previous node.

Alright, you're doing great. Can you see the 'LUTs' tab in the top left-hand corner of the screen? It's time to make use of that! In this tab, you should see a list of all LUTs currently loaded into Resolve. You can preview how each LUT will affect your image by simply hovering over each LUT. When you've decided on a LUT to use, double-click it to apply it to your selected node.

And just like that, you've installed a LUT in DaVinci Resolve! Now you can enjoy enhanced and professionally corrected color grading with just a few clicks. Remember, practice makes perfect. So, don't hesitate on trying to install more LUTs or experimenting with different nodes setups - the world is your oyster! Feeling like a color grading whizz already? Well, you should! We've shown you how, step by step.

Tip: Adjust LUT Intensity

Your imported LUT should now be active, modifying the look of your footage. When the node is still highlighted, direct your attention to the Key tab and tweak the “Gain" to you preferred level of intensity.

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