Colour Warper

I was digging into how the Colour Warper works. Not an intuitive color tool, so I had put it aside for a while, but it was time to revisit. There is very little useful documentation, and few videos. It seems to be a forgotten tool in the dust of MasterGrade, yet holds some useful tools that don’t exist elsewhere in Flame.

Question: In all the documentation and videos it shows a vector scope as part of the view port which is not only informative but potentially critical in using it. Yet, despite searching and looking around for quite some time, I can’t make it appear.

In fact it supposed to be controlled from the ‘Setup’ screen in the Color Warper. But that setup screen is blank as of 2024 at least. There are no controls to enable / disable the vector scope anymore. I can’t find any other view specific options, contexts, etc. that would turn it on or off.

Am I missing something, or has the vector scope been lost by accident?

The part that fascinates me about the Colour Warper and is potentially important as an equivalent to Resolves much more versatile color warper, is the actual warp function.

A few things that I have learned, and some that still puzzle me:

  • The shadow/highlight correction is an absolute (generally classic) hue correction. It does however change only chroma and does not change luma, which differs from other apps that maintain luminance when changing chroma.
  • The mid-tones correction is different, not an absolute correction, but one that influences a set of RGB curves (visible in histogram). Each time you turn the ball, it moves the curves accordingly, and only with in the mid-tone range which you can calibrate in the histogram. As such you can stack multiple changes on top of each other, including other ranges that all get saved in those curves. Because of this stacking, the ball resets after each move which is dis-orienting when you come from any other color app.
  • The global warp is yet different. It too appears to be making multiple stackable adjustments on some not displayed curve. In this case the target range is hue (and luma limited?) by the ‘src’ color pot. It doesn’t seem you can’t influence the range control/fall off of that correction. It is what it is. There’s a luma corrector that can be applied as a separate move.

Of course you can do the whole thing globally, and then three more times constrained by a standard selective key.

So if you want to move a color around Resolve style, your best bet is the global color warper in the master. Pick the source color and then move it. It will shift just the hue of selected range in whatever direction you want. You can safe-guard it with selective, but that’s not required per se. That mimics a horizontal move in the Resolve color warper.

To move vertical, you can use the saturation control and move it in the desired hue angle. Looks like you can only add, but not reduce saturation though.

What is nice is that you can do both additive and subtractive hue adjustments.

I use CW sometimes, but find it far less intuitive and easy to control finely than CC. Supposedly the color science is more accurate, but the interface and tools for making changes, in my opinion, is inferior.

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I’m glad you’ve brought this up as I’ve always been embarrassed to admit that I have little idea how to use CW and when it’s best to be used. The extent of my knowledge of it was always that to use CC when you need to make a chroma and luminance change and use CW when you want to change color without adjusting luma. I know that’s simplistic and not totally accurate . I’m of the opinion that mastergrade should be used most of the time but I’d love to hear some use cases where people lean on this tool

My hunch is the CW scope got killed when we got the new universal scopes.

Use cases for the CW over CC or Master Grade:

  • It pulls its own keys in-node, so I like it for secondaries.

  • It’s a quick way to push around colors compared to the CC or MG (i know MG has a similar interface, but it’s not a standalone node per-se and it’s hidden-ness is a huge fucking detriment to it’s generally outstanding utility)

  • Pretty good at spill supression.


Colour Warper has a pretty good match tool, you select a destination colour, then a source and it warps the source to the destination. I used to use it all the time. However once you get used to using Mastergrade in a linear colourspace, you just want to do everything there. Everything works in a much more photorealistic style.


Thanks for the thoughts so far.

Mastergrade is most versatile and in line with contemporary color tools. 98% of the time Mastergrade is the best choice, preferably inside the image node for selectives and versatility.

When fixing product colors or other specific fixes, Resolve’s color warper and all its ancestors are a critical tool. You can get close with h/h and h/s curves, which sometimes are brittle behind the scenes.

That’s the reason to look at CW and whether its warp function is better than Mastergrade curves.

The ultimate solution would of course be a proper modern warp tool.

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I might not be smart enough with color science particularities, but I’ve just gotten along with what works and what looks good, and no one has complained. We can have a tendency to overthink. Use whatever tool you like and what looks good and is approved.


Colour Warper is ace. But it works with curves so doesn’t work so well in linear. Swap to log to get the best out of it. Most colourists I know switch to log to grade because it’s easier.

The inbuilt vector scope got binned when the scopes became part of batch. So you need to use a two up view.

As @andy_dill says, you can pull keys with the diamond keyer. This is also in the image tool. And you can have three subsets plus a master grade.

What I like using is the plot and match tool. Get a front and a back. Get scopes up. Use plot for front, ref for back. Then move the black or white level (move yellow to red on histogram) and use the balls to move the chroma watching the dot on the scope.


I think nobody uses it but there is a second tab where you can save your look setups. You have to click and hold on a subsetup button to save it - very unFlame-like imho. There are 10 subsetups you can save and show the client different looks.


I use CW for white balancing…really easy to pick a white and then manipulate it so the circle in the scope gets centred, then repeat for the blacks. Same for a mid neutral grey if you have one.