What Is A Lut? (Explaining Color Grading)

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We all know the fact that photography, as well as videography, is very, very diverse and runs deep as far as the technicalities are concerned.

This goes to show that you cannot just go ahead and use some basic knowledge to get better and better. The point I am trying to prove here is that if you are into videography and color grading, then you must know what a LUT is.

However, if you are finding yourself in a pickle trying to figure out what is a LUT, then this article is for you as we are going to make things easier for you to understand, and you can have a better understanding once we get through this post.

What is a LUT?

Although the term LUT is something that can be found across the board, in photography, LUT acts differently, however, it means the same thing. What does that mean?

Well, LUT stands for Lookup Table. It is a term that is used to describe a preset numbers that allow for a specific computation.

Graded vs Ungraded Image

Confused? Don’t be. In color grading, a LUT is responsible for transforming color input values to the desired output values.

So, if you are looking to color grade your footage and want to give it a specific look that is drastically or subtly different than the original look, then using a LUT is an excellent way of going forward, as it works really well.

What Is The Difference Between A Preset And A LUT?

Now that we are done looking at what a LUT is and how it works, the next step is to clear out the confusion between LUT and preset, considering how, on paper, both of these work the same way. But it would not take a genius to figure out that both of these are very different.

You see, a preset refers to the custom looks applied in a photo editing software like Adobe Lightroom, and unlike a LUT, a preset is responsible for manipulating a wider set of parameters than just the colors or tones.

Similarly, filets, presets, and LUTs are all inherently different from each other, despite the fact that the terms are interchangeably used all the time.

Needless to say, it is important to know that these are all different aspects of color grading, and the differences are there.

How Do LUTs Originate?

I do understand that a lot of people are going to be under the impression that LUTs are relatively new in the market as far as the term is concerned, but that is not the case at all. LUTs have been around for the longest time.

As a matter of fact, LUTs have been around since 499 AD or even before that and have existed in the history in various forms, but the purpose of these has always been the same.

Computer scientists, mathematicians, as well as other people all use LUTs actively to get their job done, and with every change in the field, the whole user experience is different, as well.

This means that you are never getting the same LUT experience since it varies from field to field, and that is what you must keep in mind when you are talking about LUT or trying to learn more about them.

Why Use LUTS On Footage And Photography?

The next step is to talk about just why people go ahead and use LUTs for photography or footage to begin with. This question is something that a lot of people have been asking, and you would be surprised to know that the answer is a lot simpler than you might know in the first place.

Load 3d lut in photoshop

For those wondering, LUTs are excellent to use when you are talking about something that will help you get the desired colors, and that, too, with great convenience.

Sure, it might not be something for everyone, but if you are looking for more drastic color customization, you can go ahead and use presets, but LUTs, for the most part, work without any issues, and they have been very very convenient.

The point is that if you are looking to make your footage or photography look better than it normally does, then going for LUTs is an excellent idea as it makes everything look so much better and more comprehensive in terms of how it looks.

LUT Color Grades: 1D Versus 3D

Now, when you are talking about LUTs and how things work, it is very important to understand that things can be confusing even for those who are relatively experienced in the file. It is worth noting that when you are looking at LUTs, there are two types that you will be coming across.

For starters, you have 1D LUTs that are responsible for controlling limited parameters, including the white point, color balance, and contrast.

LUT Color Grades 1D Versus 3-D

On the other hand, you have 3D LUTs, that, as the name suggests, offer a wider range of characteristics, including but not limited to hue, saturation, and luminance.

Still, both LUTs are just as popular, and it always depends on the color space you are working in.

There Are Six Types Of LUTs For Basic Color Grading.

Now that we have talked about most of the things that you need to know about LUTs, the next thing that we are going to focus on is the type of LUTs that are used for color grading. I am sure that some people are going to have a hard time understanding, but the aim here is to make things easier for you.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

  • Calibration LUT: For those wondering, this is a type of monitor LUT that is used to calibrate displays so that they can show accurate colors in an image.
  • Viewing LUT: This is another monitor LUT that adjusts the video feed coming from the camera, so it is similar to the result.
  • 1D LUT: These are among the simplest LUTs that are available, they are responsible for controlling a single value, it could be the hue, color, or luminance. They are easy to use but also limiting.
  • 3D LUT: As explained before, as well. 3D LUTs are way more comprehensive and are responsible for controlling hue, color, and luminance all at the same time. They are more difficult to use but are made for professionals.
  • Log Normalization: Also known as input LUTs, these are used for transforming log footage to a standard cinematic color space.
  • Look LUTs: These are the most standard form of LUTs and are used to apply a specific and unique look to the footage that you are working with.

How to Use LUTs When Color Grading a Film?

Moving forward, it is really, really important to know that when you are talking about using a LUT, it really is not something that is going to be difficult.

As a matter of fact, using a LUT is a very easy process. Based on the tool you are using, you just have to go ahead and select the tool you want to use, and once that is done, you just go ahead, get the LUT you want, and apply it. The process is that simple and barely takes time.

LUTs are super easy and convenient, but the best part is that you can make more adjustments to them going forward. So, if a LUT is not delivering the type of colors or other aspects you are in need of, you can just make the changes, and you are good to go.

What Is Replacing LUTs?

Although LUTs have been around for the longest time, one would assume that they are on their way to be replaced, however, that is not the case because LUTs are still very relevant and are being used around the world in different applications and serving a lot of people.

It is safe to say that even after a few years, we would still have access to LUTs, and they are going to continue becoming better at how they work and more convenient, as well.

Final Verdict:

If you have been having a hard time figuring out whether you want to use LUT or not, this post is for you as we have tried our best to ensure that you know everything there is to know about LUTs. The best thing is that you will not have any issues trying to figure out what LUT is.

If you have been having a hard time trying to figure out what LUTs are, then this article guides you in the best possible way.

Related readings:

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a LUT in photo editing?

When you are talking about LUT in photo editing, it is simply a method of adding colors or color grading your images with ease.

What are LUTs in Photoshop?

LUTs in photoshop are just tools that will help you color grading the pictures that you want to color grade your photos with ease.

Do photographers use LUTs?

Yes, both photographers and videographers commonly use LUTs for the best possible experience. Some even have their own LUTs that they use frequently.

Is a LUT the same as a preset?

No, presets are much more drastic in terms of the changes that they bring to the table in terms of the customization.

How does a 3D LUT work?

A 3D LUT works by ensuring that the edits are not just being made one property. You get to edit factors such as hue, luminance, and more.

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  • Celebrating childhood in photographs and emotions through photos. My aim is to transfer all my photography experience by sharing useful camera-related guides and individual reviews so you can get an idea about everything before buying.

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