How to Import and Export LUTs in DaVinci Resolve
When your blacks are milky and your highlights are above the ceiling, who do you turn to? For DIY filmmakers who want to give their footage a dramatic and professional touch, there is no competition. DaVinci Resolve is the undisputed champion.
Creating a LUT in Resolve is the easiest way to save a graded look and apply it to other media, both in the project and throughout Resolve, as well as cross-functionally. in other creative applications. This includes the Adobe suite, Final Cut, and even AVID.
Here we show you how to export the LUTs you created and then import them back into DaVinci Resolve so you can apply them to your other projects. Let’s get started!
How to export a LUT from DaVinci Resolve
Ideally, before participating in this exercise, you should already have a project open in DaVinci and a few clips that have recently received a well-deserved makeover.
If you don’t, set up a new project and add media to the timeline under the To cut tongue. Use the Color workspace to adjust the footage – for our purposes here, this note doesn’t need to be too wild. It just needs to be something other than having each parameter set to the base default.
Now that you have a preview to work with, we can start pulling it out of the app. Follow these steps:
At the bottom, you’ll see the entire DaVinci pipeline presented in a series of tabs. From the one you currently have selected, choose Color if it is not already active.
In the Color workspace, you should already have media in your timeline. Right click on the thumbnail image of the clip from which you want to drag your new LUT.
Take it out Generate LUT menu. Choose either 17 point cube, 33 point cube, Where 65 point cube. A 33 point cube is what most people think of as the norm in an ordinary sense.
Select a destination folder, name the LUT and press to safeguard.
You should see your LUT saved as a CUBE file in your chosen destination folder. It doesn’t matter where you save it now; we’re going to move it to Resolve’s dedicated LUT folder momentarily.
Once you’ve exported your LUT, it can be applied to another clip.
Import the footage you want to apply the LUT to into the project you just worked on or into a new one. Add your media to the timeline using the Cut workspace, then return to Color.
How to import a LUT into DaVinci Resolve
Applying the LUT you just created is easy, but you’ll need to perform a few maneuvers before throwing it away. First let’s see the LUT panel in Solve.
At the top of the screen, just below the drop-down menu, you should see a few buttons—Gallery, LUT, and Media Pool. Select LUT to display the LUT panel.
Now you can see all the default LUTs offered by DaVinci Resolve. You’ll find everything from simple inversions to more technical LUTs, like the always-loved Sony S-Log 2 to Rec. 709, an iconic classic and fan favorite.
Add a LUT in DaVinci Resolve
One LUT that is noticeably missing, however, is the one we just exported. To use it in the app, we need to copy the destination folder we chose to the one Resolve uses for LUTs.
Blackmagic makes this part super easy. To add a LUT to Resolve, here’s what you need to do:
Under the To file drop-down list, click on your Project settings or use the shortcut Gap + 9 instead of.
Switch to the Color management tab, located in the left sidebar. Hit it Open LUT folder button. This will reveal the Resolve LUT folder in your computer’s file directory outside of the application.
Drag and drop your CUBE file or original destination folder into Resolve’s LUT folder.
Go back to the Resolve Project Settings menu. Just above the Open LUT Folder button is another titled Update lists. Click this button to refresh your LUT panel.
Hit to safeguard at the bottom to lock in these changes and resume your session. If we click inside the folder, we will see our LUT, ready and waiting for action.
How to apply your custom LUT in DaVinci Resolve
To add the LUT to your footage, drag and drop the LUT onto the media in your Timeline. One cool feature of Resolve is that you can actually audition LUTs on the fly by hovering over the clip’s thumbnail as you drag without actually dropping the LUT.
The preview shot will update and you can see whether or not it’s the right one to use. If you decide to apply the LUT after seeing how it plays out, just release the mouse to close the deal.
Right clicking on the thumbnail image shows us another way to add the LUT – via the LUT pull-out just above the one we used to generate the LUT in the first place. You can follow the check marks until you find your custom LUT folder and the CUBE file in question.
Is it a perfect fit? It looks better than before, but it could definitely need some tweaking, just to polish it up a bit. Let’s end this and save this new version as a second LUT.
From now on, we have them both on deck whenever duty calls us. After a few projects, you’ll have a full library of custom LUT options to choose from. The more you earn, the more you will start to see what DaVinci is capable of.
Importing and Exporting LUTs in DaVinci Resolve
Of course, you’re free to choose any of the design LUTs that come with Resolve if you’re ever in a hurry. However, creating your own LUT will likely result in something much more nifty and unique.
Once you’ve extracted your CUBE file from DaVinci’s gaping mouth, you can use it anywhere, including Premiere and even Photoshop; one glance to rule them all, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Do you want to increase the tonal range of your sequences in post-production? Find out how with a gamma log curve.
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