Masterclass description

This course provides colorists with an in-depth overview of professional color grading techniques and look creation in DaVinci Resolve.

The main concepts discussed in the course are advanced contrast management, balancing techniques and look development. The focus is primarily on higher end color grading, color theory and teaching techniques that took professional colorists years of experience to master.

The course is presented by Kevin P. McAuliffe but is created together with professional colorists that have contributed with insight about their work methods. Kevin uses DaVinci Resolve, but it is taught with the goal of showing techniques that can be used in any color corrector.

The footage used in this course is available for download so that you can easily follow along. In addition, we have included power grades so that you can deeply study the node structures and color grading techniques demonstrated in the course, and a free sample of 35mm film grain from our friends over at Cinegrain.

Thanks to Julien Alary, Douglas Delaney, Jim Passon, Dylan Hopkin, Tyler Roth, Henri Pulla, Nikola Stefanovic, Alastor Arnold, John Daro, Paul Dore, Florian “Utsi” Martin, Walter Volpatto and David Cole for contributing to this course.

Course content

The curve is the key component of contrast creation, and in the first lesson we look at the basics of the curve and curve shaping.

We continue to explore how brightness affects the curve in log- and gamma space, and how to manipulate the curve in a log workflow.

In this lesson we look at how to disturb the luma vs. distance ratio of the curve with compression techniques to challenge the contrast and create a printed look. This technique is often used as a base to create a painterly feeling with limited dynamic range.

We dive deeper into compression techniques and how to compress low luminance levels, add speculars and  details with gamma stretching and the log controls.

Now that we have a better understanding of contrast management, we look at the fundamentals of printer lights that we will use to balance and create looks later in the course.

In this lesson we look at using printer lights in a log workflow and watching the results through our curves.

Now it’s time to analyze and match shots with the help of what we have learned about printer lights. We also take a closer look into using the RGB-parade and the vectorscope. We will also discuss some thesis questions related to balancing in general.

We are ready to create our first desaturated and moody look by bouncing in colors though a defined node structure.

Colorists need to understand what makes an image look pleasant to the eye and in this lesson we discuss the important of color harmony. We are building on the look from the previous lesson to create color separation and tweek the colors into an analogous color scheme.

In this lesson we look at how to create a modern and cold look with the help of channel mixing and opacity control.

We will go though techniques to bouncing luma controls agains each other to bring out texture, create silver tints to add rawness, clip the blacks and advanced sharpen techniques to bring out grit.

Node color mixing is a very important skill to master for every colorist, and by combining colors and strengths we will get access to unlimited color combinations that can be used in look development. We will see how our color combinations blends onto the tonal range we have established.

In this lesson we work with separate streams and color transforms to pipe super clean keys.

This lesson is about isolating the local edges in the images and working with them to create a softer image without loosing the overall sharpness.

We will look at another important compression method for creating volume in the highlights and reduce the sharp thin feeling of digital images.

Going through a very popular technique to even out skin tones and take care of imperfections.

In this lesson we will dial in a soft contrast and create color contrast with varying hue strenghts.

In our final lesson we will create a new look with a Film Emulation LUT, the log controls and add texture with a 35mm fine grain sample (that you will get for free sponsored by Cinegrain). We will look at different techniques to enhance the structure of the grain.


Ahmed Jimoh
February 18, 2023 4:09 am

The above statement was posted repeatedly by mistake…this is the question I intended to ask “I Noticed you didn’t use the Cineon Film Log Color Space Transform before applying the Film Look Lut, does it mean it’s not exactly compulsory to do so?”

Ahmed Jimoh
February 18, 2023 4:07 am

Noticed you didn’t use the Cineon Film Log Color Space Transform before applying the Film Look Noticed you didn’t use the Cineon Film Log Color Space Transform before applying the Film Look Lut, does it mean it’s not exactly compulsory to do so?Lut, does it mean it’s not exactly compulsory to do so?

September 28, 2022 4:18 am

Lessons are quit helpful for me and so much knowledgeable as well. Hope we’ll be too fortunate to learn about layer mixer and its composite modes in detail.

Leave a Reply

0% complete
Last activity on September 10, 2022 4:42 pm
Course info