Colour Grading Looks - Davinci Resolve.

4 Popular Colour Grading Looks in DaVinci Resolve

Melanie Foo Campbell

Melanie Foo Campbell

Principal Editor & Colourist

So you have been asked to create colour grading looks for your show but you’re stumped.

Well you’re not alone. 

“Colour Grading Looks” is a vague term and embraces everything from the popular “Instagram Look” to “Teal and Orange” to… well, every other colour style you can imagine. So what look should you create?

I’m going to show you how to create 4 popular colour grading looks in DaVinci Resolve to get you started.

Pleasing yourself or your client is going to be on a case-by-case basis, as this is after-all a creative process…and it’s so subjective.

Everyone grades differently and everyone sees colour differently. 

For example, did you know that Magenta..that pinky tone that lies somewhere between red and violet, it’s all made up in your head?

Yup. Magenta is not actually part of the visible spectrum of light, it’s your brain putting red and blue together to make it up.

Also, remember this dress?

Is it dark blue and black? Is it white and gold? 
This blew everyone’s minds for a while and really drove home the fact that everyone sees colour differently.

So with that in mind, go with your gut. And if all the people in your grading suite love the look, then go with it!

I’ve put together 4 examples of how to create popular colour grading looks.

Teal & Orange

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Image from Scars of Nanking for A+E Networks

The first look is a Teal & Orange look made popular in Hollywood movies like Transformers and Drive. Teal and Orange can be quite a strong look, which can make the person look like an Oompa Loompa. So in this case I show a slightly muted version, which I feel suits the scene more. You can of course push it more if you want to.

Warm & Glowy

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Image from Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 6 for Fox Networks Group

I call this next look Warm & Glowy. It’s more of a glossy lifestyle / travel video look. I use Overlay in the composite mode settings of my layer mixer node in this case, but Softlight is also a good choice. Depends on your shot.

Black & White with a Pop of Colour

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Image from Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 6 for Fox Networks Group

This is a Black & White with a Pop of Colour look used in movies like Sin City or in fashion films or music videos. It can range from easy to achieve if it’s well lit and planned and if the colour picked is easy to separate. If not, then it will require a lot of masking and rotoscoping.

Instagram Look

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Image from E! Travel Diaries

This last look is my interpretation of the Instagram Look. It’s generally quite low contrast look. There are many filters in Instagram of course, this is just my version of it.

A lot of lifestyle shows these days are shot Vlog style with social media Influencers instead of the usual TV hosts, and so clients will usually ask for a more social media type look.

Compound Nodes

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Once you get your look sorted, try turning the nodes into a compound node to speed the process of copying to other shots in your timeline. It’s super easy, take a look.

These looks are fairly simple to achieve and there are so many variations of it you can do, so have fun with it. There are also plenty of LUTs available online but it’s a really good feeling when you come up with the perfect look for your shot from scratch.

There are great online resources for, inspiration, LUTs and training etc.. Cindrey, one of our colourists reviews the best colour grading resources to get you started.

If you want any more advice on looks comment below, I’d be glad to chat with you….when i’m not grading, of course.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. daz

    love the Insta. THx Mel

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