Color Page Redesign | Contextual Pallette Area

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Mark Grgurev

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Color Page Redesign | Contextual Pallette Area

PostThu Jun 06, 2019 4:34 pm

I've been using the Resolve's Color tab for 2 years now and I've loved it. It's UI is way better suited to complex grades then Lumetri panel for example, but it does have some confusing behavior. It's not exactly the greatest at exposing features and inferring how and when they work.

When I first started using Resolve, I made the assumption that the palette area represented all the tools for the currently selected node. Over time, I realized that wasn't the case and even today I'm finding examples features I didn't know where available to me or features that work differently than I expected.

The Problems

FX Nodes

When one of these is selected, you can make adjustments to the color wheels, curves, qualifiers, etc. but none of them do anything. The only palette that's really applicable is the FX Tracker which is effectively hidden under a tab and at the bottom of a dropdown menu. The actual settings for the effect are in the settings tab in the OFX menu.

This can lead to two issues.
1. Anytime someone uses a mix of FX nodes and Corrector nodes, there's inevitably a time when they start making curves adjustments assuming a Corrector node is selected only to see that no changes are happening. That's when they'll notice they have an FX node selected.

2. When an effect is added to a Corrector Node, the only indicator is on the node itself and it isn't specific to the type of effect. If the effect makes changes to colors, someone could look to get rid of that color change without necessarily realizing that it's being done by the effect unless they have the OFX panel open.

Highlighted is all of the palette area that is useless when you have an FX node selected.

Image

Camera RAW, Input Sizing, Edit Sizing, and Stabilizer

These four palletes only apply to the input media. They do not apply per-node yet they're among all of the node-specific settings.

Output sizing
Just as the previous examples only apply to the input media, Output sizing only applies to the finalized timeline.


The Solution

By making the pallete area contextual based on the currently selected node, it will solve a lot of the aforementioned problems and open up the interface up to some new features.

Let's look at what settings would be availble per node type.

Source Node
Code: Select all
   Clip Settings
      Camera Raw
      Info
      Input LUT
   Scaling
      Input Sizing
      Edit Sizing
   Reference and Tracking
      Scopes
      Stabilizer

Here we have all of the settings that apply to the Input media now with the ability to change the Input LUT.
Since this is a required node, being able to set an Input LUT here saves someone from having to make a corrector node just to do this.

By having these settings grouped with the Input Node, you could even have different settings per input node as well as a setting for pointing additonal Source Nodes to clips in the Media Pool. In the past, people have done keying and sky replacement in the Color page but it's always required that the foreground and background are on different tracks in the Edit page. By allowing additional source nodes to point to Media Pool clips, these compositions can be completely self-contained.

I understand that Fusion exists for doing stuff like that but there are people who will still be doing this in the Color page anyway so it's probably better to give them the option of doing it in a way that won't just complicate their edit.

Image

Layer & Parallel Mixer
Code: Select all
   Input List
      Add/ Remove / Composiite Mode
   Reference
      Scopes

The idea of combining these into general Color Mixer node may be controversial because of the difference in how they handle layer order but I would imagine that the functionality of a Parallel Mixer could be achieved with Parallel Composite mode.

Regardless of whether they're combined, the additional screen real estate available to features of this/these nodes can allow for some interesting functionality. For example, a Layer Mixer can be made to have different Compositing modes per layer which would allow it serve the job of multiple Layer Mixers connected together.

Key Mixer
Code: Select all
   Input List
      Add/ Remove / Invert
   Reference
      Key/Alpha Channel

In writing this post, I only just realized that Key pallette already shows an Input list complete with the ability to invert masks and change gain and offset values so this wouldn't be adding anything. It would still save a few clicks though since the Key pallette would already be visible once you select the Key Mixer.

Image

Splitter
Code: Select all
   Channels List
      Invert
   Reference
      Scopes

This isn't that complicated of a node. It would just show you representations of each channel but it would now give you the ability to Invert a channel. It's a small feature but if all you intend to do is invert two of the channels then this will allow you to do that and pipe it into a Combiner without a Corrector node between.

Combiner
Code: Select all
   Channels List
      Invert
   RGB Mixer
   Reference
      Scopes

Same as before except it would add the Color Mixer palette. This a required node if a Splitter node was used so inclusion of the RGB Mixer is something that could concievable save somebody from having to create another Corrector node afterwards to do the same thing.

Output Node
Code: Select all
   Info
      System info
      Clip Info
   Output Montitor
      Output LUT
   Reference
      Scopes

Here we have the other required Node. In this case, it's adds the ability to add an Output LUT but, by creating additional Output nodes, someone can have these routed to different monitors.

Someone actually requested this feature in the Davinci Resolve 17 Feature Request Thread. In their case they suggested using this as a way to do different grades for HDR and SDR.

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=88857&start=250#p510046

FX
Code: Select all
   FX Settings
      FX settings
   Tracker
      FX Tracker
   Reference
      Scopes

This would actually replace the Settings tab in the OFX panel altogether and put all of the FX settings in one spot.

Image

Corrector
Code: Select all
   Basic Correction
      Color Match
      Color Wheels
         Primary Wheels
         Primary Bars
         Log
      RGB Mixer
      Curves
         Custom
         Hue vs Hue
         Hue vs Sat
         Hue vs Lum
         Lum vs Sat
         Sat vs Sat
      Noise Reduction
   Keying, Sharpness, and Sizing
      Qualifiers
         HSL
         RGB
         Lum
      Window
         Window
      Blur
         Blur
         Sharpen
         Mist
      Sizing
         Node
         Reference
      Tracker
         Window Tracker
   Reference, 3D, and Keyframing
         3D
         Scopes
         Key
         Keyframes

And finally, the corrector node. The Corrector node just gets some clean up and re-orginization.

The non-node specific palette's would be removed. Which, for reference, are Camera RAW, Info, Stabilizer, FX Tracker, Input Sizing, Edit Sizing, and Output Sizing.

The remaining palettes are just regrouped. The mindset behind the new grouping is more or less straightforward with the exception of the third group.

The idea behind grouping 3D and Key with Scopes and Keyframes is that you may want to see your key while creating power windows and qualifiers. And the 3D is there.... because I don't know whats in it and I just imagine you wouldn't need to see your scopes while messing with it. I could be wrong though.

Image

One last thing you might notice is the lack of FX Tracker in the Corrector Node. That's because I'm suggesting that the ability to associate an effect with a node be removed. If people really want to keep that feature, the FX settings could be added somewhere in list of 27 palettes already in the Corrector. But by removing that feature and requiring that they be their own nodes, it allows the implementation of the Shift+Space behavior that's present in Fusion which prevents the need to open up the Effects list at all.


Closing Thoughts

I really believe that this change would do a lot to remove clutter from the interface and improve usability of smaller monitors and overall. It's both a big and small change. It's big in that it would really help new users wrap their head around the software but small in that it's a straight forward enough change that experience Resolve users would be able to adjust quickly.

I'm curious to hear what the community thinks of this and if anybody had suggests to improve on this.
Last edited by Mark Grgurev on Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:06 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Mark Grgurev

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Re: Re-design: Make Pallette Area In Color Tab Contextual

PostFri Jun 07, 2019 6:35 pm

Just updated the first post with some examples that demonstrate the extent of the problem and what it might look like when some of the nodes are selected.
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Marc Wielage

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Re: Re-design: Make Pallette Area In Color Tab Contextual

PostFri Jun 07, 2019 11:01 pm

Mark Grgurev wrote:When I first started using Resolve, I made the assumption that the palette area represented all the tools for the currently selected node. Over time, I realized that wasn't the case and even today I'm finding examples features I didn't know where available to me or features that work differently than I expected.

I think the answers would represent a broad spectrum of issues. I'll hit on a few bullet points:

• use a control surface. The panels that Blackmagic makes have 2-way communication between the device and the software, so when you change a button, the on-screen controls change; when you change an on-screen pallet, the device changes modes.

• consider rethinking your node structure. I tend to break down specific functions to one thing per node, and (for many, but not all) projects, the node is pre-labeled so that I know exactly what it's doing or not doing. That way, if I have to return to the project in 3 months or 6 months or (god forbid) a year or two, or I have to share the project with another colorist, one glance at the node tree will help you understand or remember what was done.

• bear in mind the Order of Node Operations. Each node changes the image at specific places in the signal path, so it's important to know when to (say) pull a key, vs. when to change black level or the Raw settings. You have to develop a philosophy so that you're not stomping on the signal early on, because in certain kinds of destructive changes -- like with a LUT that clips the image -- you can't get that information back.

• consider changing your method of working. I've seen an awful lot of complaints from people over the last 5-6 years who basically say, "I don't understand why Resolve does X when I expect it to do Y!" And my answer is usually to adopt more of a Zen attitude: stop fighting and try to absorb Resolve's design philosophy and adapt your manner of working to that. You'll get much further than trying to beat on the software into bending in the direction you're used to. Even though I've been a colorist for 40 years, I learn a lot from talking to other colorists and observing what they do and how they work; there's always a new trick or shortcut out there that you can learn.

• experience over time will teach you what control to reach for and why the picture is leaning in a specific area. I know of no answer for this except the "10,000 hour" rule: after 10,000 hours, you'll have a better sense how to control an image and what to do when things break.

There are some brilliant, brilliant bits of design within Resolve, but it's fair to say that it's like an onion: the more buttons and controls you peel back, even more is revealed over time. I only began to realize the use of the RGB Mixer (for example) about 5 years ago, and that's a standard part of my work methodology today. The beauty of Resolve is that no two people use it the same way, and there's multiple ways to create great pictures. It all boils down to available time and personal preferences.

Bear in mind that Resolve has been around for more than 10 years, and it has millions of users around the world. Traditionally, BMD has made GUI changes slowly over time, and it's doubtful to me that there's any chance of a radical change. We have seen some welcome ideas being introduced in v16 (like the OFX keyframes), so it's clear they are listening and responding to users.
marc wielage, csi • VP/color & workflow • chroma | hollywood
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Mark Grgurev

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Re: Re-design: Make Pallette Area In Color Tab Contextual

PostSat Jun 08, 2019 3:04 am

Marc Wielage wrote:I think the answers would represent a broad spectrum of issues. I'll hit on a few bullet points:

Answers to what? I'm not really asking any questions about workflow or anything. This is a discussion about UI and UX. When I said that I'm still finding features I wasn't aware of, I mean because of the UI.

Marc Wielage wrote:• consider changing your method of working. I've seen an awful lot of complaints from people over the last 5-6 years who basically say, "I don't understand why Resolve does X when I expect it to do Y!" And my answer is usually to adopt more of a Zen attitude: stop fighting and try to absorb Resolve's design philosophy and adapt your manner of working to that. You'll get much further than trying to beat on the software into bending in the direction you're used to. Even though I've been a colorist for 40 years, I learn a lot from talking to other colorists and observing what they do and how they work; there's always a new trick or shortcut out there that you can learn.

There are some brilliant, brilliant bits of design within Resolve, but it's fair to say that it's like an onion: the more buttons and controls you peel back, even more is revealed over time. I only began to realize the use of the RGB Mixer (for example) about 5 years ago, and that's a standard part of my work methodology today. The beauty of Resolve is that no two people use it the same way, and there's multiple ways to create great pictures. It all boils down to available time and personal preferences.

I'm not completely sure that you're understanding the extent of the change I'm suggesting. I'm not trying to bend the software into doing what I want it to do. All I'm suggesting is a way for Resolve's UI to better reflect how it already works.

The fact that you need to manually navigate to the Key Mixer panel when the Key Mixer node is selected when none of the other palettes do anything anyway is just wasting time and space. It's not something I would consider to be brilliant design. The same applies to the FX tracker when an OFX node is selected.

Like I said in my original post, a contextual palette area would be "both a big and small change. It's big in that it would really help new users wrap their head around the software but small in that it's a straight forward enough change that experienced Resolve users would be able to adjust quickly."

It would still have all the layers of complexity that it has currently, it would just be quicker to navigate and less cluttered. All the palettes you use currently would still be present and work the exact same way, they would just be in more logical places.
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Oli Koos

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Re: Color Page Redesign | Contextual Pallette Area

PostMon Jun 10, 2019 9:13 am

What I like about your idea is that it puts the color page more in line with the fusion page and I am all for consistency. Ultimately it could lead development in a direction where the fusion and color page could be merged.
The color page could become a "resolve node" within fusion. If it is well done, changing from fusion to the color page would only be a different layout setting where the normal user does not even notice what has changed behind the curtains. For the people who dick deeper, will find new flexibility where they can use all the fusion nodes within the resolve node-graph and where fusion users could use resolve as a single node that they can put in their node graph wherever they want. Besides, it would bring the far superior spline editor to the color page.
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Tom Early

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Re: Color Page Redesign | Contextual Pallette Area

PostMon Jun 10, 2019 9:39 am

Mark Grgurev wrote:And finally, the corrector node. The Corrector node just gets some clean up and re-orginization.

The non-node specific palette's would be removed. Which, for reference, are Camera RAW, Info, Stabilizer, FX Tracker, Input Sizing, Edit Sizing, and Output Sizing.


I wouldn't want to have to click on a specific node to get to these (except maybe camera RAW and FX tracker), so I wouldn't want them removed from anywhere.
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Radeon Pro 460 4096 MB, Resolve Studio 16.1.1.005
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Mark Grgurev

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Re: Color Page Redesign | Contextual Pallette Area

PostMon Jun 10, 2019 2:24 pm

Oli Koos wrote:What I like about your idea is that it puts the color page more in line with the fusion page and I am all for consistency. Ultimately it could lead development in a direction where the fusion and color page could be merged.
The color page could become a "resolve node" within fusion.

I had thought this exact same thing but I didn't want to scare anybody lol But yes, it could definitely lead to the two pages sharing more code which would be great for both. I think the way that the way that each page renders things behind the scenes so there's probably a significant amount of code that they'll never be able to share. But, like you mentioned, a lot of user-facing stuff like the Spline editor could be brought to the Color page.

One thing I thought would be nice to bring over is the way that Fusion page's nodes allow you to change direction that the nodes are flowing but I realize that would currently only be possible for certain nodes since the way the Layer Mixer works kind of relies on the Inputs being placed in a consistent area.

Tom Early wrote:I wouldn't want to have to click on a specific node to get to these (except maybe camera RAW and FX tracker), so I wouldn't want them removed from anywhere.

My thinking behind it was that these settings are changed so infrequently that clicking the Input and Output nodes to access them wouldn't have much effect on productivity. It could even require the same amount of clicks.

Plus I feel like that separation is kind of what allows for the ideas I mentioned regarding multiple Input and Output nodes since someone might want to stabilize them and size them separately.

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