Back to Blog

New Looks with LUTs

By EJ Hassenfratz
Cinema 4DAfter EffectsPhotoshopPremiere Pro

Want to find the perfect color palette for your 3D creations? Sounds we've got a LUT to talk about!

LUTs, or Look Up Tables, allow you to easily color grade, punch up footage, or add cinematic looks to your projects. So where do you find these LUTs? Is there a store? A bodega? Is it on...the dark web? Let's get started.
mkt-4045-article image.jpg
EJ here, and we're going to be taking a look at a tutorial from one of our advanced courses, Cinema 4D Ascent. This subject isn't about how to approach your renders, but how to use the tools in Cinema 4D to make them better, more professional, and eye-poppingly gorgeous.
To get started, you will need Cinema 4D. I'll provide the project files, but buckets of paint are useless without a few brushes. Boot up that software and let's get to work.
In this tutorial, we will learn:
  • What is a LUT?
  • Applying a LUT in Cinema 4D
  • Applying a LUT in After Effects

Grab the project files

Download these files so you can follow along with me!

Grab these free files and follow along!

Download Now

New Looks with LUTs

What is a LUT?

lutgif.gif
If you're familiar with Magic Bullet or DaVinci Resolve, you've probably heard of the term LUT before. It stands for Look Up Table, and it refers to a table of numbers that convert color values within a frame. You can save and share these LUTS across many apps, which can be super useful when you find a look you like!
It has become a great practice to add these LUTs to your live render view in your 3rd part renderer of choice so you can try out different looks on your compositions before going for that all important final render.

Applying a LUT in Cinema 4D

what-the-lut-1.jpg
In order to apply a LUT, you’re going to go to your Redshift Render view.  Inside, you’ll find a ton of helpful Global Settings that allow you to apply a number of cinematic effects.
  • Color Controls
  • Bloom
  • Flare
  • Bokeh, and many more, including—of course— LUT
Inside the LUT menu, you'll see that you can browse a built-in list of LUTs already available with Redshift.
what-the-lut-2.jpg
Once you've selected your LUT location, you'll select your LUT file from the drop-down menu. Using the slider, you can adjust the strength of each effect to audition it for your render.
Now I don’t tend to bake-in these looks in my render. If you have a LUT applied to your Render View, it’ll also be applied as a Redshift Post Effect and will be baked into your render.
Instead, I would recommend making a note of the LUT that you liked the most, render without, and then apply that look in post. You can always add after the render, but whatever is baked in will be there to stay. So next, we're going to apply this LUT to a raw render in After Effects.

Applying a LUT in After Effects

what-the-lut-3.jpg
Now we’re in After Effects. To add a LUT here, I’ll first create an Adjustment Layer.  Then, all I need to do is go to the Effects and Presets Menu, type in LUT, and click on the ‘Apply Color LUT’ effect and drag it to an Adjustment Layer to apply it.
Now I can dig through my files and choose the LUT that works for me. If you made a note of the LUT from Cinema 4D, you can find it quickly and have that same look from before.
Super easy! And if you want to learn how to do the same thing in Premiere and Photoshop, check out the video above.

Conclusion

LUTs open up a lot of options for establishing style and mood of your renders, and you’ll quickly learn to love them. Do you have a favorite LUT? Share it on social with the hashtag #WhatsLUTGotToDoWithIt

What's LUT got to do with it?

If you're ready to level up your 3D skills, you're going to need to put in the work. That's why we developed a new, advanced course: Cinema 4D Ascent!
Cinema 4D Ascent will teach you the fundamentals of some of the most important and marketable 3D concepts. Over the course of 12 weeks, you’ll go from beginner to intermediate level 3D artist that’s fluent in Cinema 4D and familiar with other 3D tools.