I'm curious if anyone knows of a good tutorial on color correcting and/or color grading in After Effects(original effects, magic bullet looks, or any other program). Preferably, but not limited to, on YouTube due to its seemingly long process.

I just want to learn more so anything you have to add on the topic is appreciated.


2 Answers 2


I found the free (and paid) tutorials at Color Grading Central very helpful. Using a dedicated color grading application is (in my opinion) usually the way to go. The basic version of Davinci Resolve is free, incredibly powerful, and offers a lot more control than grading in After Effects with plugins, in my experience.

For more on the theory of color grading, the Tao of Color Grading is a useful video on vimeo, (although the lighting is terrible). (part two is here).


Focus on getting the idea of the general workflow, not the specific tools. If you get that, you'll be able to grade using Lumetri Color, Magic Bullet's Colorista, in Davinci Resolve or whatever set of tools your software will have.

The book that gave me that understanding was "The Color Correction Handbook" by Alexis Van Hurkman. Unfortunately, most tutorials I've seen on YouTube were either made by quite amateur creators (that believe that cinematic look is just about snapping a specific LUT on your footage), or were too focused on the tools (which are good to know, yet knowing just that and without knowing the general principles of color grading makes you a monkey that just randomly pulls all the sliders it sees (that I used to be myself before the book, heh)).

That what makes Alexis's book so great: he shows you that 85% of the look is crafted with the very basic tools like Curves or Offset/Gamma/Gain controls, and what matters most is knowing the basic principles.

Here are a few free sample pages: link

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