Handy Nodes

Da Vinci Resolve Color Grading, Toni Gozum

When you’re grading for advertising, your clients will want the product in the shots to be the EXACT SAME COLOR as the real thing (or at least the artwork). Even if you have this surreal treatment for the rest of the image, the product has to be as realistic as possible. And, most likely, you’ll be isolating each color on that product to get it to match.

Here’s where nodes come in pretty handy! This little technique saves me a lot of time, especially if your product is moving and you need to track it. It’s not just useful for product shots, but for those things you intend to have a lot of keys in.

Parrallel node graph in Da Vinci Resolve
It’s not as complicated as the graph I did here. It’s just because I did some other adjustments for this image as well. But, you should just focus on nodes 3 to 7 and ignore the parallel nodes.

FIRST NODE: Initial Isolation, the MATTE.

Start with a correction node. Isolate your subject with a window, and track it, if you need to. It is important that you invert your window (more on this later). This node will act as a general matte for your next nodes.

Node 3 has the inverted Matte

Parrallel node graph in Da Vinci Resolve

If you don’t have a Resolve panel, you can see this in the bottom center of the UI, in the “windows” tab. Under the “In/Out” column, the default setting of your window would be on the first button. Click the second one.

invert your window

inverting incoming key or matte in Da Vinci Resolve

SECOND to Xth NODE: Secondary Isolation, the KEYS.

With your first node properly done, go ahead and add another correction node. Connect this node’s incoming key to your first node’s outgoing key, by clicking that little triangle on the left side of your second node and dragging it to the triangle on the right of your first node. This will apply your isolation from the first node. Since you’ve inverted the window of your first node, your second node will have a matte that is the opposite of your first, which is what you wanted to isolate in the first place. Do this for all the Key Nodes you want.

connecting key node to matte node

Parrallel node graph in Da Vinci Resolve

Now, you can start keying your colors, and this will only affect whatever’s inside your matte. This way, you don’t to make a window for the subject each time you make a key on it. Plus, you’ll still have your 4 nodes at your disposal.

It’s really up to you, but I usually stack my keys with a parrallel node, just so that my graph is neat, like what I did here.

stacked Key nodes

Parrallel node graph in Da Vinci Resolve


If you chose not to invert your first node, you can still invert this matte with this second node.

On the resolve panel, if you press “Key Mode” on the LCDs, on the center LCD, “Resolve Key Node Processing” should come up. At the bottom row, it should read:

__Matte/Mask__Invert__Matte/Mask__Invert__

Click on the right most “Invert” (should be under the “Ext Key Offset” knob).

On the UI, go to the Key tab in the bottom center window. Under “External Key”, check “Invert”.

There you go! Happy coloring!

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