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Highly-stylized extreme color looks are easy to nail down through heavy color tinting. Achieve radical color grades with this DaVinci Resolve tutorial.
In a two-part post here and here last month, I took a look at recreating severalInstagram-style looks in DaVinci Resolve. These discussions led us to analyze looks that were certainly stylized, but not all that extreme. One day, you may come across a project where your client is open to a more extreme approach. If you do, hug that client and work with them again. Let’s explore some of these looks.
Approaching the Grade
One way to achieve radical grades is by employing heavy color tinting. To encourage a bit of an unrefined look, adjust the control surface sensitivity in the preferences beforehand. A higher sensitivity number will make the trackballs and dials slide around quicker, allowing you to dial in extreme looks fast.
Try setting the RGB balance sensitivities to around 80 and watch the colors get thrown out of whack with the slightest push. It’s like coloring with a fat marker as opposed to a thin pencil. It’s going to get a little messy.
Click the gear icon on the bottom left in Resolve’s interface and select the Control Panel preferences. To see dramatic changes, alter the RGB sensitivities for the lift, gamma and gain to somewhere around 80, out of a maximum value of 100.
Just for today, throw realism out the window. Let’s abandon natural skin tones in favor of a color treatment that imposes itself on the image. The challenge will still be to make our images look visually interesting.
Executing the Looks
Here’s the image we’ll be working on. I picked it because it is fairly neutral, but mainly because this lady looks awesome. She’s the perfect canvas for some extreme grades.
As always, perform an initial balance on the image, then create a new node for screwing with the colors. Here are some looks I came up with, along with the color wheel “answer keys.”
Depending on the type of image you choose, the colors will react quite differently at the outer limits, but since we’re thinking outside the box, there are really no wrong answers. At such extremes, adjusting the saturation by a smidgen will lead to another look itself, so try that too. Trust your eyes and visual acumen to guide you to what looks good.
Pushing the Concept Further
While we’re not touching the luminance values too much for the purposes of this tutorial, it can be helpful to use luminance to qualify sections of the image in the interest of processing them separately. First, pull just a luminance key on half of the image. To do this, increase luminance Low Clip or decrease luminance High Clip.
When about half of the image appears in the qualification, soften the corresponding Softness control. This will ensure that extreme corrections will still have a smooth falloff in the extreme color ranges.
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