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This is a special preview page showing one of what will be almost 30 Lessons (with over 20 hours of video training) in our Resolve 8 MasterClass Training and Mentoring program.

Every Video lesson is accompanied by a page like this explaining the concepts we’ll be covering and what you should understand about DaVinci Resolve after watching the Lesson. Many Lessons also link out to other resources around the web that touch on the topic – often explaining it differently than I do to help ensure you fully understand the concepts being taught. Often, these Lesson Pages include download links for items specifically required to follow along with the Lesson (EDLs, XMLs, free footage from other websites, etc).

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Specialty Nodes

DaVinci Resolve has several different types of nodes. Through this point in the training we’ve been working with Resolve’s core node: The Serial Node

A Serial Node is easy to identify – it has one input and one output (plus one matte input and one matte output).

There are three other types of nodes we can use – collectively, I call them Specialty Nodes. They all share the same features:

  1. Specialty Nodes allow you to ‘reach around’ to earlier (or later) nodes and use them as a source to feed into your grade (for instance, allowing you to pull back a color that’s already been desaturated).
  2. Specialty Nodes are designed to be used with Secondary isolations… in other words, they’re meant to be used when you are isolating one or more parts of image either through HSL selections, Power Windows or both.
  3. Specialty Nodes, if they’re to do anything, need a minimum of two inputs – but you can add many more.
  4. Specialty Nodes combine multiple inputs into a single output. In other words, as of Resolve v8.1 – except in one unique instance – specialty nodes don’t have any controls that we as colorists manipulate. Rather, we manipulate the Serial Nodes that feed into a Specialty Node – and depending on the type of Specialty Node, different things happen (it’s not as confusing as it sounds).

The Parallel Node

According to the Manual, “Every input into a Parallel Node has equal priority”. Do you have any idea what that sentence means? Me neither. The upshot: Think of ‘grading through’ an image. The more extreme of a correction you do on an a node feeding the Parallel Node, the more impact that correction has on the final image. Before you post a question about this to the Forums, be sure to watch the video. Seeing is believing.

The Parallel Node is specifically designed to allow you to retrieve detail from earlier Serial Nodes and combine them with later Serial Nodes (for instance, if you’ve blown out the highlights and want to retrieve them from the very first Serial Node).

Parallel Nodes are often used if you’re looking for a more subtle operation (although they can be used to make very obvious and imposing changes).

The Layer Mixer Node

In a Layer Mixer Node, the order in which Serial Nodes are fed into the Layer Node has a direct impact on priority – allowing one correction to happen on top of another correction.

If you’re familiar with keying in an NLE on multiple tracks, the Layer Node allows for the kinds of operations where (using HSL and / or Power Windows) specific elements are isolated, then graded and then placed on top (or beneath) each other in a very specific order.

The Layer Node tends to be a more blunt instrument than the Parallel Node. If you have a compositing background, the Layer Mixer is also more intuitive than the Parallel Node.

The Key Mixer Node

Imagine you need to completely desaturate an image except for the Red and Blue flowers. Keying the Red Flowers is one operation, keying the Blue Flowers is a second operation. Each operation would happen in it’s own node. The Key Mixer Node allows you to combine those two key signals into a single key signal so you could, for instance, increase the brightness on both of them at the same time.

Another example: You’re trying to key out a shirt but there’s no way to get a clean key. You can key out one section or the other but not both at the same time. Using the Key Mixer Node you can key out one section in one Serial Node, key out the other section in another Serial Node then combine their key signals together into one big Key signal and perform your overall grade on the entire shirt as if you had pulled the key in a single operation.

If you’re not familiar with this type of compositing operation and you’re still confused – it’s easier to show you in a video than to explain on paper. But as you’ll see – this is a very powerful Node for those times when you need it.

Lesson Objectives

After watching this lesson you should be able to:

  • Understand the core differences between a Serial Node and the various Specialty Nodes – and when you want to use one over the other
  • Understand the difference between a Parallel Node and a Layer Mixer Node
  • Understand how to handle Priorities in a Layer Mixer Node
  • Be able to pull ‘smaller keys’ in multiple Serial Nodes and combine them in a Key Mixer Node… and then make adjustments to the picture isolated by the Key Mixer Node
  • Select the proper node to perform ‘Composite Operations’ (such as Add, Multiply, Screen)

Additional Reading

Questions and Discussions:

  • The Week 3 discussion forum is here. Join the conversation! (Available to paid Members Only)

Parallel and Layer Nodes: Desktop / iPad Download (35 Minutes)

Parallel and Layer Nodes: Watch the High-Quality Streaming Version

Available to paid Members Only

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Click here for full details and to sign-up for Tao of Color’s MasterClass Training Series for DaVinci Resolve 8, Apple Color 1.5, Colorista II or Final Cut Pro 7.