One of my favourite and a really powerful new features in Photoshop CC 2014, is the ability to create a 3D LUT file by using just Photoshop Adjustment layers.
So, why is this so exciting?
Well, if you are making videos in Premiere Pro or even Photoshop, you might want to make it look more engaging and dramatic. Typically when videographers shoot video they prefer to shoot RAW, or flat (both small video cameras, DSLR’s or larger formats). This means that there is likely to be no contrast to the output. To add contrast or colour to the footage it will be graded, typically using something like Speed grade. In Photoshop terms it’s similar to making adjustments using adjustment layers.
DSLR film makers might come from a photographic background and may be required to shoot stills as well as video. A photographer may also know Lightroom or Photoshop, and maybe learning Premiere Pro to edit video. In some cases the photographer may want to utilise their Photoshop skills rather than learning colour grading software to make the film look amazing, but also might to make the stills and video look the same across the relevant parts of the film.
Let us take this short clip in Premiere Pro.
To allow Photoshop to perform it’s magic, we just need to grab a frame from the film/clip. Just position the play head to the right place on the clip (i’ve just used the first frame in this case), then click the ‘take snapshot’ icon (marked red). Save the JPG (or different file format) to a location that you’ll remember when you put it.
Now open the JPG inside Photoshop.
Notice that the layer is named ‘Background’, this is important for this function, as it will need a background base to create the LUT reference file.
Now we can use any of the adjustment layers to give the image the final effect.
Now we can just export the LUT file using the Menu item / Export / Color Lookup Tables.
The 3D LUT definition and output format screen will be displayed. You can de-select/select the formats that you need from here.
The files will be exported as separate files, so i’ve just created a folder to store the LUT files in.
Back in Premiere Pro, we will just add a simple adjustment layer from within the project panel. To create the adjustment layer click the button marked in red, then choose Adjustment layer (marked yellow).
Drag the adjustment layer (marked yellow) into the timeline, above the clip (marked pink). The duration of the adjustment layer may need to be changed by dragging the end points, or by moving the adjustment to another place.
Navigate over to the Effects panel and choose Lumetri (marked red), and drag this to the adjustment layer in the time line (marked yellow), then select the LUT file (they all create the same effect).
You will see the effect applied to the clip in the program monitor (this assumes that the adjustment layer is over the playhead),
Now, let us go back to Photoshop and apply the same LUT file to another part of the clip.
Then once you have the LUT dialog screen open, select the same LUT file as used in Premiere Pro (that was created in Photoshop earlier)
You can see that once the LUT file has been selected, the results are shown on the image.
The benefit of a LUT file is it’s portability, which means that if you need to share it with someone, you can without having to send the PSD file that it came from. However, the effects might be different dependent on what the LUT is trying to do.
How do I used LUT files?
I recently created a specific look for a series of images, rather than copy all adjustments across to each image, I created a LUT file from Photoshop and added this as an adjustment layer (Photoshop Menu / Layer / New Adjustment Layer / Colour Lookup).