Isolating Colours and Stylizing Your Grade in DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve 11 is not only a true high-end colour correction software and full-feature editing platform, but also can be used for creating a plethora of stylised looks for your video. For example, you can quickly isolate and emphasise on different colours to create a more appealing look, set a different tone or even change the mood of your video by using the following simple, yet super effective technique.

Overall, isolating colours in DaVinci Resolve is a pretty simple process that involves separating ranges of colours with keys. The proper planning of the shot is something that can also significantly improve the final look as the best results can be achieved when there’s an object that’s already naturally separated from the other elements in the frame. Further, it is important to do a proper primary colour correction before you go any further.

Start off by adding a Serial Node in your Node Window. Select your Qualifier and click and drag the eyedropper across the object.


Make sure you’ve created a tight key. Adjust the Hue, Saturation and Luminance to fine tune the key and blur it in the end.


Once you’ve pulled a sufficient key, dial in the saturation to your liking and create an Outside Node by right-clicking the qualified node and selecting Add Outside Node. In the new node desaturate the image completely or partially to your desired effect. Now you should see the keyed element standing out in the frame as the only object that remains saturated.


Furthermore, you can create even a more stylised look by isolating multiple colours in a single clip. However, the approach here will be a little bit different. After you’ve performed your base correction, add another Serial node and then a Layer Mixer from the Node menu. Keep in mind that the Parallel node will combine corrections in the stack while the Layer Mixer will prioritise the bottom correction. This is how your set up should look like in this case:


Photo Credit: Premium Beat

Pull a key for one of the colours in the bottom node. As in the previous example, expand the range and refine your key by using the qualifier node controls. When you’ve got the key, desaturate the top node. Due to the way the Layer Mixer works, the colour in the second node stays where it is. From here you can add any number of parallel nodes to the tree to continue bringing out just the colours you want.

It’s essential to use at least a 10-bit codec such as ProRes HQ or DNxHD (or Raw) utilised in the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and the BMPCC, or the 10-bit XAVC in the Sony FS7 while using this technique to obtain the best possible results. This type of workflow can be also quite beneficial for your commercial work as clients love to see vivid and punchy colours that make their products stand out in video so be creative, experiment and never stop to enjoy what you’re doing.


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