Davinci Resolve Tips and Tricks

If you're just starting out in Resolve , it's an absolute must to learn what each of your scopes do, and how exactly they take information of the color, white/black point, saturation, etc, and visualize them. Especially if you are a VFX artist.

The RGB Parade: Shows the tonal range of the image. This scope displays your image from left to right.

Histogram: This displays how many pixels are present in the tonal range of your image.


Vector-scope: Displays the overall Hues in the shot.  The distance from the center represents the saturation of the hues and the color.

Waveform: This scope shows the levels of brightness in your image. The higher the wave, the more brighter the image. The lower image the more black/ darker the image.

  • When grading. Always look at your scopes before looking at your image. By understanding the ranges of the image before viewing the shot, your eyes with understand the image better. Our eyes tend to focus on the darkness or brightness of an image more than the color. Therefore this can trick our brain on how we should adjust the image. Looking at the scopes first lowers this bias in your brain, and will absolutely help you correctly touch up your images.

Saturation is huge part of color correcting, and understanding a good balance is key. The higher the saturation the more vibrant and overwhelming your colors are going to be. A lower amount will reduce the spectrum, and leave you with lower toned colors. Saturation also affects the brightness of your shot as well. 

Colorfulness is also an important term. You still need your shot to look interesting after you have fixed the tones and points. Make sure you have a range of colors in your shot. If you need a good example of colorfulness in a movie, re-watch James Bond: Skyfall. Watch for how the color tones change with the mood of the film and times of day. As well how the film punches out orange tones, and focuses color around the actors.

The 6 Parts of Grading a Project.

#1: Identify the Hero Shots

#2: Start with the Brightness of the Shot.

#3: Focus on Color.

#4: Match your Shots.

#5: Wrap up the Overall Grading.

#6: Focus on the Details of the Shots.

(We'll go into detail on these stages in another chapter.)

The 3 Stages of Breaking Down a Grade. 

#1: Pre-Grade

  • What need's to be Fixed?

  • What are the creative possibilities of the shot?

  • Look at the shot, and Break it down.

  • If you are working for a client: what is their artistic preference? Talk about the project with them.

#2: Start the grade

  • What is the shot about?

  • Play with the shot.

  • What looks good on the shot?

#3: During the Grade.

  • Enhance the Shot.

  • Is the same meaning of the original shot still conveyed?

  • What mood is the shot now?

  • What does the client say about the shot?

These steps can also be applied to working in Nuke for balancing color and compositing. Nuke also has scopes you can use to blend color/brightness/colorfulness/etc. 

Some Hotkeys you should be aware of in Davinci resolve are:

H = To shift between the selection tool/lasso tool/and various other selection tools in your node graph.

E = This will exact your nodes in node tree.

alt + drag = Across your stills into your node tree, and it will drop a compound node into your grade.

CTRL + alt = In your node tree this will allow you to switch the positions of nodes in which order you would like them to be.

Up and Down Arrow = Allows you to bounce between clips.

R Click = On pretty much anything this will get you to the sub-menus , and other functions of resolve's tools.

Shift + 9 = Settings menu should appear.

CTRL + Y = Version out of your Shot

CTRL + N + B = Sharpening.

Shift + F = Full Screen Mode

CTRL/Shift + D = By pass a node.

Shift + H = Highlight Mode.

S + alt = new node.

Overall, These are the bare basics you should know if you are starting to use Resolve. On another page, I will break down the terminology you should probably understand when you are coloring a project.  As well how our brains operate around color and brightness further. Another thing I will cover will be more advanced parts of resolve such as the Blur, Sharpening, and Mist tools.

If you would Like to learn more: Follow the links below.