Photon 3D - Smoothing Feature

Improve color grades

with 3D LUT smoothing

3D LUT Smoothing in Photon 3D Color Grading Software illustrated by a crumbled color gamut and a perfectly smooth LUT

Photon 3D has a built-in spatial smoothing tool that you can use to iteratively enhance the transform stability of your color grades. That sounds more complicated than it really is. The tool is implemented as a simple slider that, when activated, gradually smoothes out the color grade you are working on. It's useful for ironing out artifacts that might have been introduced by pushing the grade too far or by a third party 3D LUT.

What is color smoothness?

Color smoothness is an important quality parameter that is often overlooked by beginner colorists. It describes the relative softness of transitions within the color space. Let's illustrate this by example. On the right next to the preview image you can see a two dimensional view on a 3D color buffer that has obvious artifacts and harsh transitions.

A 3D color cube showing harsh color gamut transitions and noise artifacts next to a preview image where the cube has been applied as a filter effect

Note that these transitions are not necessarily visible in the image. But the image is looking kind of bland and we've already pushed the grade too far as evidenced by the artifacts in our unfolded cube. So let's apply a few smoothing passes to our grade with Photon 3D. This is the result: 

A color cube used as a 3D lookup table for color grading that has smooth transitions and good color separation next to a preview image

Much better. The smoothness we introduced even gives us some additional room to improve the low-light saturation and color separation without breaking the grade. Again, not a huge difference in the preview image but infinitely more reusable and predictable for professional workflows.

How to smooth color grades and LUTs with Photon

Smoothing out a color grade in Photon is as easy as dragging a slider. It is located at the top right hand side of the interface. The value next to the slider indicates the number of smoothing passes Photon is applying under the hood.

Photon 3D color grading user interface with the LUT smoother highlighted

To smooth a third party LUT, import LUTs from your library as snapshots first. Next select the snapshot so that it becomes the active grade. Now you can smooth it like any other grade and export.

Photon 3D

Everything you've ever wanted from a color grading interface. See colors in all dimensions and manipulate the grade by shaping it like a 3D object. Photon 3D is standalone software for color grading and LUT editing with an optional OFX Plugin for Davinci Resolve that will revolutionize the way you work with color.