10 times better saturation under LUT (HSV trick)

A process of achieving a film-like saturation on your digitally shot footage that is more subtle, dense, and pleasing to the human eyes.

Welcome to our creative corner, where imagination knows no bounds, and ideas flow like a river. Today, we embark on a vibrant journey into the world of color saturation. Often referred to as intensity or chroma, color saturation plays a pivotal role in defining the visual impact of your digital creations. But what exactly is color saturation, and how can you manipulate it to achieve that coveted film-like quality in your digital footage? Let’s dive deep into the hues and discover together.

The Essence of Color Saturation

Color saturation, or the intensity of a hue, is what breathes life into colors, making them vivid or muted. Pure, eye-catching colors are found on the outer edges of the color wheel, radiating with intensity. As you journey towards the center, these vibrant hues give way to desaturated counterparts, blending into a neutral zone where no single color dominates.

Saturation is one of the three foundational properties of color, alongside hue and value. Hue dictates the color itself, saturation describes its purity, and value determines the brightness or darkness of the hue. This trio of properties allows for endless creative expression in the color grading process.

A Film-Like Saturation for Your Digital Footage

In the digital age, achieving the subtle, dense, and visually pleasing saturation seen in film can be a challenge. However, with the right techniques, it’s entirely possible to imbue your digital shots with a cinematic quality. Let’s explore how to enhance saturation using both traditional and alternative methods.

Traditional Saturation Enhancement

We begin with footage that has been color-graded using a NEURO LUT from our Ultimate Colorist Toolkit Volume 3. By adjusting the saturation slider, we aim to infuse our image with winter-like blues. Increasing saturation this way adds color, but it can also introduce noise, serving as a preliminary step in our quest for richer hues.

Capturing a Still for Comparison

Before venturing further, we capture a still of our work. This will serve as a benchmark for comparing the effects of different saturation techniques.

An Alternative Approach: Harnessing HSV

The alternative method involves disabling the current saturation node and operating in an empty node set to the HSV (Hue, Saturation, Value) color space. By focusing solely on the Saturation channel and adjusting the gain, traditionally used for highlights, we uniquely enhance saturation without affecting brightness. This approach yields a more film-like saturation, dense and rich, without the digital video’s typical brightness increase.

The Results: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Comparing the traditional saturation adjustment with our HSV technique reveals a striking difference. The latter offers a denser color saturation, avoiding the common pitfall of increased pixel brightness. This not only achieves a more cinematic and subtle look but also maintains image integrity with minimal breakage.

Conclusion: Discover Your Creative Saturation

We’ve explored the nuances of color saturation and demonstrated a film-like technique for enhancing the chromatic intensity of digital footage. The difference is clear: dense, subtle, and cinematic hues that elevate your visual storytelling.

As we wrap up this blog, we invite you to experiment with these techniques and share your experiences. Which approach to saturation resonates with you? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Remember, creativity is a journey, not a destination. Let this blog be a stepping stone to discovering your unique expression. Stay tuned for more insights, and don’t forget to subscribe and follow the Colorist Factory on YouTube and Instagram. Here’s to finding inspiration and contributing to the world’s beauty through your art!

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6 Responses

    1. Thank you for this trick, this is what I was missing, add saturation but without increasing the brightness, brilliant 👍

  1. I’m actually amazed by this. I’m not a Colorist but I’ve been looking at alot of dull lifeless footage recently and this instantly gives back a sense of life. Also been experimenting using the value V part to influence the brightness off the shot gives great results for quick adjustments.

  2. HSV saturation is certainly better than the default additive saturation, but it still has problems. Would love to see a color scientist somewhere create a totally new CMY subtractive colorspace for us to operate in and use saturation there accordingly (I don’t get why Resolve hasn’t done this yet).

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