Da Vinci Resolve: Curves Mini Class | Fred Trevino | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Da Vinci Resolve: Curves Mini Class

teacher avatar Fred Trevino, Colorist & Top Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Custom Curves


    • 3.

      Hue vs Hue


    • 4.

      Hue vs Saturation


    • 5.

      Hue vs Luminance


    • 6.

      Luminance vs Saturation


    • 7.

      Saturation vs Saturation


    • 8.

      Saturation vs Luminance


    • 9.

      The Project


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Curves are one of the more powerful tools in Color Grading & Color Correction. With the curve tools in Da Vinci Resolve you can adjust almost every part of the image. 

In this mini class you're going to get a crash course in using these tools to make your project look more cinematic! This is a beginner class for anyone who wants a short, fast class to show you the basics! In this class we'll cover:

  • Custom Curves
  • Hue vs Hue
  • Hue vs Sat
  • Hue vs Lum
  • Lum vs Sat
  • Sat vs Sat
  • And More!

I also have clips for you do download to work on your own and submit to our projects page. I'll be around to give you feedback, notes and be your personal mentor. (use the discussions page!) So why are you sitting there still reading this? Get started!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Fred Trevino

Colorist & Top Teacher

Top Teacher

Fred Trevino is a colorist at Beambox Studio and Top Teacher at Skillshare who has been grading projects for small, medium and large corporate clients, as well as filmmakers from all over the globe. He's graded over 50 feature films along with hundreds of music videos, short films, documentaries, commercials, web spots and more.

Some past corporate clients include HBO, ESPN, Shiseido, Under Armour, Sundance Channel, Tru TV, and Pepsi.

He's worked with countless talented DPs and directors and his color work has screened at several highly esteemed festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, and Slamdance. Along with grading he enjoys doing street photography in New York City where he lives.

As a first class he recommends Introduction with a Pro Colorist and then getting a... See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Intro: If your typical workflow and resolve is applying a lot tweaking and not really knowing where to go from there, then you definitely want to learn what the curves and Da Vinci Resolve do. This is a really powerful tool that can take your footage from this to this. It's a tool that admittedly looks very complicated, very intimidating, but after this class, you'll know what the curves do, how to use them, and how to really elevate your footage to the next level. I'm Fred Trevino and I've been a colorist for over 10 years for Primax studio in New York, I've created over 50 feature-length films and I've worked with companies like HBO, Gucci product just to name a few. My goal is to give you the confidence to start using the curves on every project. In this class, we're going to cover the custom curves, the hue versus hue, hue versus saturation, and a lot more. If you're ready to become a better colorist, let's get started. 2. Custom Curves: In this lesson we are going to cover the Custom Curves here at the bottom. The Custom Curves basically let you control the shadows, midtones, and highlights of a clip. Let's jump right in here. The first thing you want to do is make sure that Custom is selected. Then it's always easiest to expand so you can have more control and then just position this somewhere where you can see the entire shot. For those of you who may not know how to read the different curves, basically the way they are laid out is on the left side, there are shadows. The right side over here represents the highlights and in the middle, of course, are all of the midtones. What's extra helpful is that they show you the scope here, which shows you the distribution of the entire image. What you can see here is over here on this side, this area here represents the highlights of the shot, this over here represents the shadows of the shot and you can see the distribution of pixels and then right here is the middle or the midtones and you can see that most of the information is here, which is the case for most shots. For example to show you that a little bit better, if I were to click by looking at this image, obviously, the shadows are this area here, the highlights are probably the tree trunk here, and then the midtones are probably this backward and wall, or maybe right here. If I were just to click here, for example, you can see that it makes this little dot here which represents the highlights. If I were to click, say on the shadows, it's showing you where those shadows are on the chart. If I were to go to the midtones, you can see that it's showing you here on the chart as well. That's just to show you to illustrate how the image is spread across the different curves here. I'm going to reset this here. Let's just say you want to now jump in and adjust this. What I typically do with curves is shadows are normally a good place to start. You don't necessarily have to click on the image, a lot of times just by looking at it, you can see where everything is. Again, shadows, midtones, highlights. I'm just going to click right around here because I can see that this concentration of pixels or the shadow. I'll just click here and then for the midtones, I'll click here. I normally make a few initial selection. So what I'm going to do is just drop down the shadows a touch, and I'm just going to drop them down a little bit. You can see if I really do an extreme, you can see what part of the image it's adjusting. I'm going to take this and just drop it down a touch and the shadows are already pretty good. I'm just illustrating. I'm also looking at the scopes here. If you're not familiar with reading the scopes, you can check out my other class where I do have a lesson on reading scopes. But generally speaking, down here are the shadows. This area here are the midtones, and this area here are the highlights. For example you can see that there's this really dark area here and you can see that shows on the waveform scopes here. Zero is true black. You can see it's already a pretty black black. The fact that it's touching, if this were for example like that, it would tell you that's not a true black. It's a little bit washed out for example and that's something that you want to look for when you're reading the scopes. Whether these touch the bottom, I'm going to undo so we can go back. Whether this touches the absolute bottom is a complete creative choice. Don't think that every image has to be touching that line. If you want rich blacks, you can have it touching that line. But if not, more washed out and milky or shadows, It's all a creative choice. By no means think that this has to have your shadows touching here and your midtones have to be at a perfect place here, and your highlights have to be at a perfect place way up here. This is just a general guideline. Let's get back to where we were. Again, I was just adjusting the shadows and I'm just going to create a little look and then the midtones. I just want it to look very dark and moody. I would probably bring those down to a place that I like. These are the highlights. I'm going to click on the highlights and you can drag this up and down. I'm just going to really raise these highlights a little bit like that. That's pretty much how these curves work. You can see it also made a very gentle S curve, which you might have heard talk about. Let me accentuate that a little bit more. I'm going to drop the shadows. You can see it looks like an S, which a lot of people talk about if you want to have a cinematic or very boosted contrast, a lot of times, the first things you want to do is create a soft S shape to your curves. If I turn this off, this is where we started and that's where we are now. It was by a simple curves, adjustments of the shadows, midtones and highlights. Now I want to show you another very nice tool that you can use to have a little bit more control and if we click up here and then go to Editable Splines. What that does is create these little handles here which just let you finetune certain areas. If I wanted to, for example, just drop that down a little bit, I could grab this handle. If I want to grab these upper areas of the midtones, I could maybe tweak that here or flatten it out if I wanted it a little bit. That's just a way to really customize a look a little bit. Give you a little bit more control with these right here. Again, before, after and fullscreen. This is where we were and now after. The last thing I'll show you on the Custom Curves is this area here, high soft and low soft. For this shot here, let me actually really go this, I'm going to really crush the shadows. I'm going to make a custom look and in this case, actually, I want to turn these off. I don't need that. I'm really crushing the shadows on purpose. You can see how it looks. I'm going to hit option S to add another node. What the low shadows do, you have low and low shadows, is these rays, the blacks or dark shadows in an image, and also applies a soft curve to them automatically, which is another characteristic of film and a cinematic look is video tends to have very harsh shadows and highlights. This is a very gentle way to raise the shadows. Notice what's happening here. You got to always have your eyes in two different places. As I raise this, check out what happens to the scopes first. You see I'm just cutting that off a little bit. Then reset that. Notice what it does to the image. I'm going to go up again. That's just a hard cutoff. Before, after, before, after. There we go. If I do low soft, instead of a cut off, it's just gently bracing them. The shadows. This is the before, after, before, after and the shadow is just a little bit more washed out and that's just, again, a stylistic choice. What we've done so far with just this Custom Curves is we start off here. I'm going to go ahead and close this. We started off here and we went here. The first thing we did was go here and make these shadows midtone highlight adjustments. Then we brought up the shadows a little bit to make a stylistic choice. Now for high soft, we're going to go over to this shot because it's easier to see because these highlights are blown out. Again, if we look at the scopes, you can see that the sky is super bright and you can also tell by looking at the scopes that they are clipping at 100 percent way too high. What I'm going to do is go with high soft and high far. First I'm going to just drop down. You can see what it's doing. Again, just like low, soft and low, when you adjust this, if you keep your eyes on the sky, you can see that it gets a little darker because it only brings down the brightest areas and it cuts it off. Sometimes you can do a blend of the two. I'm going to just bring it down a little bit so it's not so bright, and then I'm going to soften it. This is making a gentle softening of the highlights. I'm going to do that. Now, if you look at the sky, they were here, and now they're here. You see they were a little bit brighter, both visually how they look and in the scopes. With high and high soft, I made them a little darker. Now here they're not as bright. I'll bring them down even more. I'm really going to soften these. There we go. Before, after, before, after, before, after. There we go. Hopefully you can see what that's doing. That is what the high soft does. It's basically taking the highest bright highlights and it's giving them a soft luminance adjustments so that they look good, they look natural and you don't have to necessarily bring down an entire image when something is too bright, you can choose just to bring down just the highlights, which is by the way, probably what this spike here is. Those are the Custom Curves. Just a quick crash course in them. In the next lesson, we're going to move on to the next set of curves, which is the hue vs hue curve. I'll see you there. 3. Hue vs Hue: Now in this lesson, we're going to spend a good amount of time on this shot here. Because now we're going to cover the next curve adjustment, which is hue versus hue. What that basically means is, as you might know, Hue is basically a fancy word for color. Yellow is a hue, red is a hue, green is a hue, blue is a hue. When in the curves, when it reads hue versus hue, it basically means when anything is this color, if you make an adjustment, you're going to change it to another color. If we look at the color wheel down here. This coat, for example, if I click on the code, you can see that it selected the yellows. If we look at the color wheel, we have yellows and then in this direction, the closest colors are reds and oranges. In this direction, the closest colors are in the green area. If I grab this little dot here and go up, it changes it a little bit more towards the orange. If I go down, it changes it a little bit more towards the greens. That's basically what the hue versus hue adjustment does. Let me reset that again and show you. Let's say this was a shot where we wanted to do something to the greens because I like to show more real-world examples and not just randomly changing the colors of everything. I want this green to look a little different. Also take notice by the way, that just like in the custom curves, it shows you the distribution of the image here. What do you think this big spike is here? It's probably the red hat. But you can see that most of the data is here. Then we have a few peaks here, which that little peak in the blues is probably this. Then that peak here in the red is probably the hat as well, or parts of the hat. You can see the hat is split up into this bright area, this dark area, or maybe this little area here. But the point is, it's telling you what part of the image is where. Again, I clicked on the green wall, and let's make an adjustment. Maybe I want it to look a little dustier and rustier. I'll do that. Or I could go the other way if I wanted to look a little bit more green in this direction, I'll do that. That's basically the very simple way of showing you what hue versus hue does. I could also go to let's see, the hat here. We thought this little spike here is hat. I can make the hat look a little bit of this darker red or I can push it up to look back color. By the way, if you right-click on these dots, it's how you delete them. I'm just right-clicking on these here. Other thing you can do is well, I'm going to reset this completely is that you can just select color. I can say, all the yellows in this image I want to change. I clicked here and then this is just going straight down on whatever is yellow. You see I can change the coat. I'm going to reset that. You can also reset here. I'm going to pick yellows again. Or I could do input hue down here. If I slide this left and right, you can see that it changes what part of the yellow hue you're changing. Maybe I want to go this way or that way. That's what that's useful for. Then hue rotation, this is just a more numerical way to make the adjustments. You see I can go up and down. But most of the time, I'm going to reset this, most of the time, it's just easier to click on what you want to adjust the coat and it picks that up perfectly. Then I'll make the code a little bit more in this direction. That's it. Hopefully, that's helpful. This is a short one. All the other lessons will also be pretty short because they're pretty simple. These different adjustments do one thing and one thing only for the most part whereas the custom curves did everything, it did a little bit of everything. In the next lesson, we're going to jump right back into hue versus saturation, so I'll see you there. 4. Hue vs Saturation: Now in this lesson, we are going to cover hue versus saturation. As you might have guessed, so hue versus saturation basically says, anything that's this hue or this color, I want to increase or decrease the saturation. If this is a little too saturated for you, you would click. You can see it made the little circle down here and I'm going to grab this and just drag it down. You can see it's desaturating that, so maybe you want to create a muted look on all these bright colors, also on the yellow jacket. I grab that and decentered the yellow jacket. That creates this muted look. What's interesting about that is rather than going down here to the regular saturation and just cranking that down. A more interesting way to usually play with adjustments is if this is too saturated, just grab that one color and desaturated. If the code is too saturated, just grab that one color and desaturated. Because that's much more interesting than saying, Oh, her code is too saturated, let me just turn this down, and then everything else goes down with it. It's much better to say if that code is too saturated, I'll just click here and bring that down like that. If that head is too saturated, I'll click on that and then bring that down like that, and there we go. That's basically the explanation of hue versus saturation. In the next lesson, we're going to keep moving on down, and we're going to cover hue versus luminance, so I'll see you there. 5. Hue vs Luminance: Here we are in hue versus luminance. We're going to jump over to this clip here, because what I'm going to do now is show you, I'm just going to do a very basic adjustment to this shot, like that. I really barely touched it. I just adjusted the shadows, a touch like this. That's just so you can see what hue versus luminance does. That just basically says, anything that's this color, say skin tones, I want to adjust the luminance or make it brighter or darker. By clicking on her forehead, which is a little too bright for me, I want to darken that a little bit. Here we are, and I'm just going to really x so you can see what's happening. Anything that's that hue, I can make brighter or darker. I'm just going to take both of their skin tones and drop it down a little bit. This is where it was originally, believe it or not, and this is where it is now. Let me just reset this. I'm going to another note so you can see it, and I'm going to again click on her forehead, and I'm going to drop again, color grading. What separates a lot of the things that professional colors do from people who don't have as much experience is very fine tuned adjustments, very specific focused adjustments versus adjusting the entire image. Just with that small adjustment, I made their skin tones look blown out and ghostly, and they look like that. Let me go. They were like this, blown out skin, blown out highlights, now it looks a little more natural. If I want to, just for fun, add something else, I could say, okay, this blue here, I'm going to select that, and the thing to remember is that hue and luminance are connected. Usually when you adjust the brightness of a shot, if something is for example, these skin tones that were in the pink or in the red categories, when you make that less bright, it's going to make the colors pop out. It's like a different way of increasing the saturation. For example, I clicked on her blue shirt here, and then I'm just going to make that shirt darker and watch what's going to happen. See, it looks like I'm increasing the saturation, and if I make it brighter, it's going to start getting a little washed out. I'm going to make it much darker. Again, let me just actually, so you can really see it, I'm going to go to a new node, select anything that's that luminance, and I'm going to darken it. Before, after. You can always do a comment, like if you really want that shirt to pop, you can do a combination of this, and then jumping back over here to the hue versus saturation, picking her shirt as well and then increasing the saturation. See. Learn to use all these in combination with each other. It's just a combination of hue versus saturation and then hue versus luminance. We started off here, the microscopic little basic adjustment. All we did here was a hue versus luminance of the skin tones, that makes all the difference, and then the blue here. There you go, hue versus luminance. We're moving through these quickly, and now next we're going to move on to luminance versus saturation. I'll see you all there. 6. Luminance vs Saturation: Now we're going to work with luminance versus saturation, and I will tell you this, the next three are probably some they're used the least amount, but they are great to know because they are extremely useful. Again, it's similar to one we've covered in the past, but this is luminance versus saturation, which basically means, let's go back to her skin. Anything that's this bright here, and this is not just going to cover the skin tone. Anything that Resolve registers at this brightness level in the forehead, I can increase or decrease the saturation. I'm going to really increase it just to show you not this is going to look that good, but just helps illustrate what it's doing. What this is used for the most, I'm going to reset that and let's jump over to this clip. What luminance versus saturation is used for the most is sometimes you want to only desaturate the highlights, or maybe the shadows tend to be a little muted or lifeless, and you want to increase the saturation in just the shadow areas. That's what this is used for the most. If I click on, say here, anything that's this brightness level, I want to saturate it. Again, this is a very subtle adjustment. You can see what it's doing there. Anything that's level of adjustment again, in this case is doing the shadows. I'm just going to do a small little bump, then someone to go back to full screen. You can really see it here in his jacket. Because I'm basically saying the darker areas of a shot can see it here. In the shadows of his jacket as well, and some of his hat. Again, like I said, this one isn't used as much. It's really, if you're wanting to just really make small, tiny fine tuning adjustments. Let's see what happens to we click on this brighter area. I'm going to increase the saturation there. Might see it a little bit more there because it's basically the sky. See if you're wanting to bring out the sky here. Before, after, before, after, and that's honestly one of the great things about Resolve. It's got a tool for every single situation. This is one of those tools it's getting a surgical razor to make very fine tune adjustments. A lot of people may not even notice a difference, but again, what I typically tell students is what makes a color grade look really great, it's not the big adjustments, it's when you take a million tiny adjustments and really shape an image, and that's the tool that this is. That's the luminance versus saturation, and then we're moving along here. Next is saturation versus saturation. 7. Saturation vs Saturation: Here we are. Saturation versus saturation, almost towards the end. As it sounds, this is a very desaturated shot. You can see it's very muted. The greens are very muted. The things that are probably the most vibrant are this hat here. For example in something that says saturated versus saturated. Again, this is another tool where you're taking something that's a very fine, precise tool and you're saying you know what everything in this shot is desaturated except for this hat. I want this hat to maybe match the saturation level of everything else. I'll click here and now I'm going to make that of that saturation level and am going to desaturate more. You can see what's happening, go to full screen. The hat is the only thing that's desaturating. It's anything that's equally saturated as the hat. For example let's say on a scale of one, how saturated is this hat? If the answer is a nine, anything that's a saturation Level 9 will be desaturated. We can see that his coat is also pretty saturated and you can see we're now matching the hat and his coat to maybe the background. Before, after, before, after. Now, this has a much more muted look to it. Maybe you didn't want the coat and hat to pop out as much. We simply say, okay, anything that's that saturation level, let's just bring it up or bring down. This is also pretty helpful a lot of times if you have things like neon signs or anything like that's just really popping off the screen. It's usually something in a red channel or something like that. This is great to say anything in this shot that's supersaturated, super neon, let me just click on that one item and then bring it down. Or if something is in the opposite direction, something that's maybe very desaturated level you can say, let's bring anything that's that desaturated and bring it up. That's a pretty easy one. The next and final will be a saturation versus luminance. 8. Saturation vs Luminance: Here we are in saturation versus luminance, and as you might have picked up hopefully by this point, anything that is a certain saturation level, we are now going to make it brighter or darker. This is a pretty saturated patch of grass here. For this example, I'm just going to click here, and then what it's going to do is anything that's of that saturation level like we did with the hat, anything that's of a specific saturation, instead of making it more or less saturated like we did in the last lesson for saturation versus luminance, we're just going to make it brighter or darker. Let's take anything that's not saturated and make it a little darker. Before, after. Before, after. Another short and sweet lesson with saturation versus luminance. We have one last lesson left, but we've covered so much so far from the custom curves all the way till now, so I'll see you in the next lesson. 9. The Project: Okay, so now let's talk about the project. It's very simple. I included several shots for you to use. Download those shots and then feel free to use one or all of them. Use what you've learned in the class; from the custom curves all the way through to the Luma versus Saturation curves, stylize those shots and make them look good. Then, if you do publish them to the projects page, definitely show the before and after of the two. If you choose to do something like uploading the video to YouTube, then share the link, make sure you keep it public so I can see it. If you can show the before and after there, that's always awesome. I love looking at your projects, so I'm definitely looking forward to it. See you in the next lesson. 10. Final Thoughts: Okay, so that's it. Thank you again for taking the class. Only thing left to do now is the projects, so download the footage, use it to curves, and upload it to the Projects page. Also if you can, it's very helpful when you leave a review. Let me know what you think, and if you want to check out any other supplementary stuff, check out my YouTube channel here. I'm always posting new stuff, that goes with my skill share work, and use the discussions page below. If you have any questions, I love talking to you guys, I love answering your questions, so definitely take advantage of that. So thanks again and I'll see you all later.