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Color.io Photon for 3D Color Grading Released

Color.io Photon for 3D Color Grading Released

Color.io has officially released its Photon Software. It’s a 3D LUT editor and grading software product, and offers functions to alter available LUTs and an actual interactive 3D model to visualize colors. The software also strives for integration into existing workflows and professional environments. Thus, the software also offers an optional plug-in solution for Blackmagic Designs DaVinci Resolve (OpenFX Connector Plugin). Let’s take a closer look at Color.io Photon, its functions, and use-cases.

Color.io Photon - LUT Painter (Credits: LIT labs & Color.io)

Color.io Photon – LUT Painter (Credits: LIT Labs & Color.io)

Overview, Goals & Target Groups

Color.io Photon is available for macOS 10.13 High Sierra (or later) and Windows 10 (standalone) and is also usable in conjunction with Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve. Future integration with other environments such as Adobe, Apple Final Cut, or Avid ecosystem seems likely and desirable due to extensive user bases around their products. Nonesuch integration plans have been announced, though, as of this writing.

Taking a closer look at the software, it becomes pretty clear that the product intends to reach cinematographers to implement their vision with colorists (amateurs & experts) in post-production. The software also targets artists, creatives, photographers, and other job descriptions within the film industry or post-production.

The software’s central concept is to provide users with an interface to interact with, take complete control of, and manipulate color in three dimensions in an intuitive, simple, visual, tangible, and straightforward way.

Colorist in Action (Credits: LIT labs & Color.io)
Colorist in Action (Credits: LIT labs & Color.io)

Manuel Hüttel, LIT labs CTO, details the first steps of how the concept evolved:

In the beginning, we wanted to create a (…) complete visualization of the color space for gamut referencing, like an enhanced vectorscope, but one that also shows luminance distribution and can be inspected from all angles like a real 3D object.

He then goes on to illustrate how the team came up with their unique new three-dimensional approach to interact with colors:

The real work began when we started to make this 3D color object interactive. The idea was – sure[,] it’s helpful to inspect colors with reference tools[,] but wouldn’t it be even better if we could just grab colors right in our 3D vectorscope and push them around?

Export Window (Credits: LIT labs & Color.io)
Export Window (Credits: LIT Labs & Color.io)

Development, Hub & Customer Interaction

The whole creative journey has taken the team almost six years to develop. The consecutive steps included researching the topic, planning, organizing, developing the software, and substantiating the reliability with beta-testing ahead of its publication.

Now the product is available, and the team invites and encourages professionals worldwide to share their opinions, thoughts, insights and evaluate the development on their own.

Therefore, the developers created the Color.io hub as a gateway to interact with their users, receive bug information, discuss upcoming features and changes, and share ideas.

Color.io Photon – Functionality & Features

Users can edit colors in Photon by intuitively setting color ranges in three dimensions and manipulating or altering selected clusters with pointing, clicking, and dragging in space. The software offers several mouse tools to control, form, and modify the 3D object and the preview picture, thereby altering the look and colors.

Pirmin Straub, the LIT labs CEO, elaborates further:

One of the most exciting new possibilities with Photon is that you can visualize and edit existing LUTs. You can remove artifacts from LUTs with spatial smoothing and manipulate pretty much any color characteristic visually. So if you have a LUT that you really like[,] but you want to adjust it for a specific use case, you can do just that really easily with Photon.

Splash Screen (Credits: LIT labs & Color.io)
Splash Screen (Credits: LIT labs & Color.io)

All-in-all, Color.io Photon is a creative and multifaceted toolbox for color grading and adjustments. It comes with a library that immediately enables imports for LUT files available through software already installed on the user’s Windows or macOS device. LUTs derived from Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Photoshop, and Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve are currently available for import to Photon.

Aside from many other functions, the software also offers a visualized timeline that empowers the user to travel through their previous actions and manipulations throughout the entire editing process. The option to also create 3D snapshots rounds off the range of software functions.

Color.io is a joint effort by LIT Labs and VisionColor.

Snapshot Mixer (Credits: LIT labs & Color.io)
Snapshot Mixer (Credits: LIT Labs & Color.io)

Color.io Photon – Availability and Pricing

Interested users may check out the free trial of Color.io Photon or buy the Basic or Pro versions at directly from their website. Existing basic users can upgrade to Pro any time.

Pricing Overview (Credits: LIT labs & Color.io)
Pricing Overview (Credits: LIT Labs & Color.io)

What do you think about this approach to work with LUTs and colors? Have you tested the free demo version already? Which features do you value the most, and what functions are missing in your opinion? Which other tools do you use to create or manipulate your LUTs? Let us know in the comment section below!

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