Wed. Jun 3rd, 2020

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Electronic Music Blog

Creating Saturation Adjustment LUTs

3 min read

In my previous post, I talked about a technique I learned from PiXimperfect YouTube channel. Unmesh from PiXimperfect did a wonderful job at showing how to use two Hue / Saturation layers with different blending modes to make colors really pop. Check out the previous post, which links to his video for more info.

Converting the Technique to Video

I wanted to see if this technique could be used in Video. So I ran through the following steps and got a pretty amazing result. Check out the Before and After footage I shot yesterday on my Osmo Pocket in 4K @ 24P:

Before Color Grading

After Color Grading

Technique

Unfortunately I don’t yet have Adobe Premiere (due to cost), so I’m working with HitFilm Express. Interpret these steps into the appropriate Premiere methodology:

Step 1 – Capturing a Stillframe

Export a Frame of the footage. In HitFilm Express, this is done by loading the footage onto the timeline. Under the Timeline Viewer, there’s a dropdown called “Options” – click that and then click “Export Frame.”

Step 2 – Color Grading

Next, we want to use Unmesh’s process for image adjustment using the Color Burn and Color Dodge blend modes (discussed in another post).

Loading the exported frame from our footage into Photoshop, I followed the steps from PiXimperfect:

  • Create a Hue / Saturation adjustment layer
  • Set the blend mode to Color Burn
  • Turn down the Fill (“Fill” is found under the layer Opacity option) until the dark areas look good without being too extreme
  • Create a second Hue / Saturation adjustment layer
  • Set the blend mode of this 2nd layer to Color Dodge
  • Again, turn down the Fill for this layer, until the bright areas are not overblown and the layer adds to the richness of the image.
  • Click on the Adjustment icon on the Color Burn Layer:

It’s the 2nd icon form the left (the circle with the diagonal line)

  • Modify the Saturation and Lightness properties to fit your desired look
  • Repeat the above two steps to modify the Saturation Properties of the Color Dodge layer

Step 3 – LUT Exporting

Once you get the look you’re going for, you can export this as a preset, or color Look Up Table (LUT). An LUT is a file that can be imported into Video or Photo editors.

To export a LUT from Photoshop you need to do the following:

  • Make sure the main image is a “Background” – if not, you can do that by clicking on the layer and then clicking Layer / New / Background from Layer
  • As long as your main image is a Background image, you can then export the look as a preset by click File / Export / Color Lookup Table
  • In the modal you type a Description and Copyright if you like
  • Make sure CUBE is checked and click OK
  • Next you’ll get a modal asking where you want to save the color lookup file

Step 4 – Importing LUT

In HitFilm Express you can’t import or use LUT’s unless you have purchased the appropriate color grading module. As long as you have that module, you can load your raw footage into HitFilm and do the following:

  • Drag the footage onto the timeline
  • Click the Effects tab and in the search box, type “lut”
  • Click and DRAG the LUT effect onto the video in the timeline
  • In the video properties scroll down to Effects and expand the LUT effect
  • Click the folder icon, and you’ll be asked to browse to the LUT file you saved in Step 3 – find the file and click Open

At that point the color preset will be applied to the footage clip.

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