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How to Use Node-based Colour Grading in DaVinci Resolve

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Learn to colour correct with our free course DaVinci Resolve Colour Grading for Beginners. You'll learn how to use each important tool in Resolve, including how to set up your project using scene cut detection, how to get clean skin tones with noise reduction and how to create cinematic looks.

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to set up your nodes ready to colour correct and then grade.

How to: Pro Colour Grading Workflow in Resolve

Setting up a Node Tree

Now that you’re into colour collection and colour grade, you’ll want to set up a node tree.

This is the clip we’ll be working onThis is the clip we’ll be working onThis is the clip we’ll be working on
This is the clip we’ll be working on

This is the clip we’ll be working on. It’s quite vibrant, there’s a lot of skin in it, and a colour that’s very close to the skin as well, so it would be good to make it pop a little.

You’re looking for a sort of hero frame to use throughout, and in this case it's basically this first frame. You can do this as you work or you can do it at the start, lay your pathway out and know what you need to do next.

Click on your first node and hit Option S or Alt S to add a new node. Alternatively you can right-click and add one that way. If you haven’t worked in a node editor before, everything on the left flows through to everything on the right, but not back the other way.

If you make a big change to the left on the left-hand node, it’ll happen on the right too. However, if you make a change on the right one, as above, it won’t flow back to the previous node.

There are different ways to set up a node tree and different techniques where the footage calls for it, but for this example for a more intense grade than if you were just putting a LUT on it, then here’s how we’ll set it up.

The Nodes

With nodes, anything that’s below is what takes precedence. This is obviously different from layer based editing where layers on the top take priority.

The NodesThe NodesThe Nodes
The Nodes

Noise reduction is the first node here, to label it you can right-click and choose the relevant option. The second one is balance, then skin. That’s been created as a Layer Node so it sits underneath, and again you can do that by right-clicking then choosing Add Node and then Layer Node.

So above, you can see that even though the Skin node is underneath, that actually means that image-wise it’s sitting on top, or taking priority, if that makes sense.

Nodes Set up and Ready for Grading

This is the basic structure and once all these nodes are created and in place, we’ll use the Primaries Colour Wheels to balance the image and do some colour correction so that before grading you’re starting off with a good base, and we’ll take a look at how to do that in our next tutorials.

More DaVinci Resolve Resources

About the Authors

Tom Graham created the video course that includes this lesson. Marie Gardiner wrote the text version of this lesson, and it was edited and published by Jackson Couse.

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