All The Cool Kids Are Grading Now.
LUTs lately have been made more popular with the increased availability of color grading tools. Since Adobe's acquisition of Speedgrade, and the Resolve's amazing price of FREE, the tools are just easier to get our hands on. Cameras are getting cheaper and shoot higher quality formats like Raw, and Log formats like ProRes/BMDFilm. So if you're not into color grading, chances are you'll have to start knowing some things soon.
There's no shortage of resources to help you learn the color grading tools either. Tutorials on Youtube, Subscription training, and of course film schools are all out to widen our knowledge and help us make better content.
But one word seems to be getting more and more popular these days.
That word is "LUT."
But what in the world is a LUT? How does a LUT work? How do we use them?
There comes a time in every person's life where they realize a very important fact: Nearly anything can be explained using cats. They're our cute, cuddly, little companions, and basically the entire reason the internet was created.
In the case of color LUTs, they too can be explained with the help of our feline friends. Check out the short video below to see how!
A Box of Machines
This little video explains the basic rundown of what a LUT is, how they're used, and how they can help you on your next color grading project. Although a LUT might look complicated, it's really just a set of values that are applied to an image.
To put this in much more fun terms, let's pretend we're changing the color of a cute, fluffy, kitten!
A LUT is really like a big box of machines that each change a color value into another color value. One machine might turn orange cats blue, while another will turn grey cats into green cats. If you put a TON of these little machines together in a box, you should be able to drop just about any color of kitten in there, and it'll change into a specific color. In the case of a 3D LUT, this can mean millions of machines are at work taking in color values looking them up, and transforming them into other colors, creating a modified image.
Love 'Em or Hate 'EM
There's a lot of confusion and strange ideas about LUTs. Some people will tell you that you shouldn't ever use LUTs. Some people say you should only use LUTs if you're printing to film. Some artists see using a LUT as a way of cheating, or even replacing a colorist. Others have embraced LUTs as a great way to add style to their existing (and sometimes very advanced) color grading work.
But the truth is, like most things, LUTs are a valuable tool and can be beautiful when used in the right way.
More LUT Resources
LUT Tutorials by Casey Faris: Lots of good info on LUT usage and color grading.
FREE LUTs from Ground Control: For Blackmagic, GoPro, Panasonic, Canon, & more!
A Great BLOG from Cinetic Studios: On using LUTs creatively.
Ground Control makes LUTs. Awesome LUTs for color grading. Check out our products here.