How to Use DaVinci Resolve Effects to Level Up Your Videos

DaVinci Resolve January 14, 2020 5 min read

DaVinci Resolve has a wide range of effects that you can apply to your videos and films. Think of the software as a combination of tools rolled into one from video editing to color correction to composting, where each tool lives on a separate page. Because of this, the effects you have available depend on what page you are on (Cut, Edit, Color, Fairlight, or Fusion). 

In this tutorial, we’ll explore the DaVinci Resolve effects available from the Effects Library on the Edit page and show you how to apply them. Let’s get started!

Part 1: Getting Started Using Effects in DaVinci Resolve 16

All the Transitions (video and audio), Titles, Generators, and Effects live in the Effects Library. Here you’ll see 3 main categories: the Toolbox, OpenFX, and AudioFX. Let’s dive into how to what’s available and how to use them in your projects.

1. Video Transitions 

To kick things off, we’ll begin with video transitions! DaVinci Resolve offers the expected transitions—Dissolve, Iris, Push/Slide, Shapes, and Wipes—you’ll want for your projects. Simply click on the Effects Library to toggle the video transitions on and off to explore what’s available. 

Here, you’ll see that the Cross Dissolve is the standard transition, identified by a red bar beside it. If you’re ever interested in changing the standard transition to something else, all you need to do is select a new transition, right-click, and choose Set as Standard Transition. By clicking the star beside a transition, you can also add it to the Favorites at the bottom of the Toolbox.

  1. To add a transition to the beginning or end of a clip, click on the edge of the clip, right-click and select one of the four time lengths.
  2. To add a transition to a clip (or multiple clips) in the timeline, select the clip, then Timeline > Add Video Only Transition. You can also use the shortcut Option (or Alt) + T to add a video transition.

2. Audio Transitions

DaVinci Resolve has robust audio capabilities, and you can work with audio on the Cut and Edit pages, and the Fairlight page offers a dedicated page for advanced audio work. It has audio transitions and a large number of audio effects included. You can also install third-party audio effects. Audio effects are applied in the same way as video transitions and filters. Effects are dropped on a clip and transitions at the head or tails of a clip.

Here’s how you would get started applying an audio crossfade.

  1. Click on the edge of the clip, right-click, and select one of the four time lengths. You can also drag on the transition.
  2. Select the clip, then right-click on the transition and choose Add to Selected Edit Points and Clips. Alternatively, you can also go Timeline > Add Audio Only Transition or use the shortcut Shift + T to add an audio transition.

3. Titles

In the Effects Library, you’ll see that titles consist of three categories: Titles, Fusion Titles, and Subtitles

The Titles category is very basic, generally used for titles that don’t animate. The exception is Text+, which includes animated text options to give your text some cool effects. Something to keep in mind is that the Lightning icon tells you it’s a Fusion clip, which supports motion blur. Motion Blur is important when working with titles, so the movement looks more natural. 

DaVinci Resolve comes with a nice collection of presets for creating professional titles and lower thirds. 

  1. Select your preferred title that you want to add to your video project. 
  2. Drag and drop the title to the desired point on your timeline
  3. Customize the title in the Inspector.
  4. If you used a Text+ or a Fusion Title and animated the text, click the Settings tab, and here you’ll see the option to select motion blur.

Note: One important difference between titles and subtitles is that titles go on a standard video track, where subtitles are applied to a subtitle track.

3. Generators

Generators are useful utility items that you find in most video editing apps. This is where you will find color bars, solid color, and a gradient. It’s very easy to start working with Generators! Simply drag them to the timeline, just like a clip, and make adjustments in the Inspector.

4. OpenFX

OpenFX contains ResolveFX effects and third-party plugins (in OFX format). If you have installed plugins to DaVinci Resolve, you will see those plugins installed here.

Most of the ResolveFX comes with the Studio version, and you will see a watermark if you apply them in the free version. If you are a working pro, the paid version gives you features you may need like retouching, film grain, glow, and lens flare. 

If you’d like to use an OpenFX, here’s how you’d get started: 

  1. Select the OpenFX you’d like to use.
  2. Drag an effect onto a clip, and be sure to drag transitions to the head or tail of a clip.
  3. Each OpenFX will have different customization options, and you can make adjustments in the Inspector. 

5. Effects

There are only two effects in this category, but they are both powerful. Here you’ll find Adjustment Clip and Fusion Composition. 

Adjustment Clip

The Adjustment Clip applies all effects to multiple clips below it in the timeline, and it works similarly to adjustment layers in the Adobe apps (Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects). The adjustment clip is new in Resolve 16. Let’s apply an adjustment clip above a couple of video clips.

Let’s say you have two clips in a timeline that you want to give the same stylized look.

  1. Drag the Adjustment Clip onto a track above your video clips. For example, if your clips were on video track 1, add the adjustment clip to video track 2. 
  2. To add your first effect, simply drag and drop that on the Adjustment Clip. 
  3. From there, adjust the settings in the OpenFX Inspector. You can also double-click on the slider if the effect is not expanded. 
  4. You can continue to add multiple effects to create a complex look. Click the slider beside each effect to toggle them on and off. 
  5. If there’s a clip you want to remove, click on the trash can to delete.

What’s great is that ResolveFX and third-party OFX effects can be applied to the Adjustment Clip. Another advantage of using an adjustment clip is that you can adjust their Opacity and change the Composite Mode to really dial in a look.

Fusion Composition

Fusion lets you accomplish motion graphics and compositing similar to After Effects, but uses nodes you connect to one another instead of layers. A Fusion Composition creates an empty Fusion composition/container. It acts as a placeholder for later creating a Fusion Composition on the Fusion page. 

Let’s create a simple title to see how Fusion works. We’re using a stock clip of a teenage skateboarder for this example.

  1. Drag the Fusion Composition onto video 2, above the skateboard clip, and make it the same length. The 3 stars on the adjustment clip identify it as a Fusion clip.               
  2. Click on the Fusion page, and you’ll see a Mediaout1 node. This is how Fusion outputs what you do on this page. You’ll need to connect a title to it.
  3. Click Title on the toolbar. Connect the Title to the Media out by dragging from the title output (square) to MediaIn input (gold triangle).
  4. With the Title node selected, type some text in the Inspector. 
  5. Click back on the Edit page, and you see the text above your video.

Part 2: Motion Array Effects Templates & Macros 

Motion Array has a large library of effects, titles, and transitions to let you quickly create professional-looking videos. If you’re nearing a fast-approaching deadline, fear not! You don’t have to create all your effects from scratch. Explore these DaVinci Resolve templates and macros then simply download the perfect effect for your project!


So, there you have it, a break down of the different types of DaVinci Resolve effects such as video transitions, titles, and more. We hope this tutorial has helped give you an overview of what options are available and how to get started using and creating your own creative effects!