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Use Photon in Davinci Resolve

Color Grading Plugin for Davinci Resolve - Photon 3D interface running alongside Resolve 17

Photon Pro comes with an OFX Connector Plugin for Davinci Resolve. The plugin opens up many new and interesting ways to visualize and work with color in Resolve. However the Photon plugin works differently from most other OFX plugins you know so in this lesson we're going to learn why that is and how you can get the most out of it for your color grading workflow.

What is a Connector Plugin?

Most OFX plugins create a simple interface where you can tweak some basic sliders directly in the host application. When an OFX plugin wants to render a more advanced user interface that can not be expressed by sliders and buttons, Resolve also allows plugins to render directly into the viewport.

None of these options would work for Photons sophisticated 3D UI. This is why we created a Connector Plugin that creates a two-way tunnel from Davinci Resolve to the Standalone version of Photon. The connector plugin sends a live video stream from Resolve to Photon. Clicking "Render" in the connector plugin sends the color grade created in Photon back to Resolve.

Add Photon Plugin to a Node and connect

It's important to understand that the OFX plugin creates a tunnel between Resolve and Photon. So be sure to have Photon Standalone running before you connect.

Photon OFX Connector Plugin - 2 way data transfer with Davinci Resolve 17
Good to know: After you've connected, Photon can receive live-video from Resolve. When you play back in Davinci, the image in Photon will update.
Render your grades back into Resolve

Even with the plugin loaded and connected, changes you make in Photon are not automatically reflected in Resolve. This is an expected security measure by Davinci at the time of this writing. In order to bring your color grade into Resolve you have to manually click on the "Render" button in the plugin interface.

Good to know: After rendering, your Photon grade gets persisted in your Resolve session file and you can quit Photon Standalone if you want.
Apply Photon to multiple Nodes

It's possible to add the Photon OFX Connector Plugin to multiple nodes in your Davinci Resolve project. For this workflow it's important that we think of the OFX Plugin as a receiver of color information and Photon Standalone as the sender of that information. When we introduce multiple nodes we are now connecting multiple receivers to a single sender.

Mulitple Nodes in Davinci Resolve connected to Photon Standalone via OFX Plugin

Photon Standalone can only ever be connected to a single node at a time. When you click connect on one node, all other nodes are automatically disconnected. So whenever you want to work on a new Photon node, make sure to click connect first. That way Photon receives the correct input image and renders the grade back into the correct node in Resolve.

Lesson Summary: Because Photon requires such a complex 3D UI, the OFX Plugin creates a tunnel to Photon that is running in standalone mode alongside Resolve. The plugin sends image data to Photon and can stream the Photon grade back into Resolve when you click "Render". Rendered grades are stored securely in the plugin itself and will be available in your Resolve session even if Photon is not running. You can apply the OFX plugin to multiple nodes but Photon can only connect to a single node at a time. When you switch nodes, you have to click "Connect" in the nodes plugin interface to ensure Photon receives the correct image and the node can render the correct grade.