One of Hollywood’s greatest production secrets has gone mainstream: the Orange & Teal LUT. Once a mainstay of blockbuster films, it is now becoming increasingly popular with YouTubers, travel vloggers, and amateur filmmakers. You can create this look yourself or download a professional-grade LUT to apply to your projects. Either way, it’s a fairly straightforward process, and we’re going to walk you through it.
This article will explain the fundamental color theory behind the “Orange & Teal” look. Next, we’ll go over the process of creating it yourself in Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, and DaVinci Resolve. We’ll also discuss some of the common mistakes editors make when trying to use this color scheme. Finally, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best LUTs available to download so you can quickly produce this effect yourself.
Part 1: What is the Orange & Teal Look?
Orange and Teal are complementary colors, meaning they’re opposites on the color wheel and they create a pleasing contrast when juxtaposed. Of all the complementary color pairs, orange and teal is unique because it includes human skin tones, so it’s great for highlighting your subject against the background.
Teal accents the shadows in the scene while orange casts a golden hue on foreground highlights. By accentuating skin tones, the viewer is called to pay attention to subtle details such as body movements or facial expressions–which makes this look great for nonverbal storytelling.
The “golden hour” just before sunset is every cinematographer’s favorite time to capture the outdoors with magnificent natural orange & teal hues. You can also create this look artificially in post-production using the techniques we’ll outline below.
Whether you’re using LUT’s or manually color grading your footage, here’s one invaluable tip you should know when capturing your footage: Always try to shoot your footage with a “flat” color profile. This will give you the most control & freedom later when you’re in the editing room.
Part 2: How to Create your Own Orange & Teal Look
The internet is rife with downloadable LUTs designed to help you achieve the orange & teal look with a simple drag and drop. However, if you’d like to learn how to create this effect without downloading anything, here are the instructions for Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, and DaVinci Resolve.
- Add your footage to the timeline.
- Right-click in the project browser and select New Item > Adjustment Layer then select OK.
- Drag the Adjustment layer from the project browser into the timeline, and then adjust the length so it covers your entire clip.
- Open the Lumetri Color panel on the right side, then open up the HSL Secondary tab.
- Next to Set Color, select the eyedropper. Then click on your subject’s skin on the monitor to sample their skin tone.
- Toggle the Color/Gray setting to view your selection, and adjust the HSL sliders until all of your subject’s skin is shown on the monitor.
- Click the button to the right of Colors/Gray to invert the selection. If you see your subject’s skin grayed out, you’re good to go. Untoggle Colors/Gray.
- Now scroll down so you can see the Master Color Wheel and drag the crosshair down into the teal zone. This should adjust the hue of your background.
Final Cut Pro X
Final Cut’s color wheel and hue/saturation curves give you all the creative control you’ll need to retouch your footage with the orange and teal look. Just follow the steps below.
- Add your footage to the timeline and select it.
- Open the Color Inspector by clicking the triangle icon in the Inspector or press Cmd+6.
- At the top of the Inspector, open the dropdown corrections tab and select +Color Wheels.
- Add a color mask by clicking the mask dropdown at the top of the Inspector (it’s a rectangle with an oval inside it).
- Your cursor will turn into an eyedropper. Drag a circle on your subject’s skin to capture all the skin tones that will be used in your mask.
- Click the mask drop-down again, and select Invert Masks.
- Drag the Master color wheel towards teal. This will apply a teal hue to your background.
DaVinci Resolve has powerful color correction features which makes it the perfect tool for creating your own custom orange & teal effect in just 3 simple steps!
- Select your node and use the Qualifier to isolate the orange skin tones from your footage.
- Once you’ve selected your skin tones, invert your selection by clicking the invert icon to the right-most of the Selection Range tools.
- Go to your Master Color Wheel drag the Offset wheel down into the teal tonal range. This should turn your background bluish, and make your skin tone oranges pop out as a result.
After you’ve completed the above steps for your preferred editing program, your composition’s background should fade away into a pleasant shade of teal, allowing your foreground subject to really pop on screen. But you may have noticed that your shadows aren’t as deep as they should be. This is simple to fix and is relatively the same solution for all programs. Simply open up the Luma vs Sat curve, and bring the lower end down, as depicted below.
This will deepen your shadows by removing the blue tint, allowing them to appear nice and dark.
Part 3: Mistakes to Avoid When Using Orange & Teal LUTs
Orange & teal is a fantastically powerful color grading method, which is why you see that technique employed in so many blockbuster films–but it isn’t a magic bullet. Make sure to avoid these common mistakes when utilizing orange & teal so that your video projects convey maximum value to the viewers.
Poorly Exposed Footage
In order to apply these automatic color corrections, you’ll need to give the software enough information to work with. If your footage is under or overexposed, or there is simply not enough saturation for the filters to work with, no amount of color correction in post can fix it!
Don’t Go Wild
Now that you’ve learned about orange & teal, you may be tempted to try out different complementary color schemes. There is a lot of room for creativity in this process, but you’ll have to make sure to pace yourself. Changing color palettes from shot to shot can be disorienting and distracting to the viewer.
Color Correction First
The color grading techniques outlined above are no replacement for color correction. Prior to applying orange & teal color grading to your film, make sure to go through the color correction process to adjust the contrast and exposure levels in your footage.
Background Colors Matter
If you shoot your subject against a backdrop too similar to their skin color, this technique may produce undesired results. In order for the orange & teal effect to work correctly, you’ll need contrast between the background and foreground–so try to avoid tan or orange backgrounds!
Part 4: Top 5 Free Orange & Teal LUTs for Editors
Now if you’d rather not reinvent the wheel, there are many LUTs available to instantly transform your footage with professionally graded orange & teal color palettes. LUTs are super handy because they can be used in just about any program! We’ve reviewed some of the best orange & teal LUTs available for download below, check it out!
1. Free Premiere Pro Teal & Orange LUT
If your footage is calling out for dramatic contrast combined with blockbuster-style color grading, this LUT is perfect! With a simple drag & drop your composition is recast in spectacular shades of teal and orange. Great for intense scenes filled with action.
2. Free Teal & Orange LUT
Bright and colorful, this LUT pack is just what you need for that golden hour effect that will stylize your footage in a pleasant way. And best of all there’s 20 to choose from, giving you plenty of options.
3. Free Cinematic Teal and Orange LUT
Here’s another great LUT pack for download. You can easily drop this effect into any editing program to recreate Hollywoodesque teal & orange color grades. It’s bright and saturated, and not overly dramatic.
4. Free Orange and Teal LUT
Another great orange & teal LUT for you to quickly grade dull footage. It’s subtle, yet colorful. Just the right thing for a composition that needs a little stylizing without going over the top. And like all LUTs, it’s a piece of cake to set up!
5. 10 Free Teal and Orange LUTs
This is a great pack of 10 LUTs to easily enhance and boost your videos to the next level. With fine cinematic detail, add this to a variety of intense projects and create a pleasing contrast to highlight your story.
Now you should have everything you need to create the famed orange and teal look in your video productions. You can choose to create it yourself for maximum control or use any of the amazing, easy-to-use downloads we’ve shared above. Whichever method you choose, this look is sure to make your videos stand out like never before.
Of course, orange & teal is just one of many color schemes available to you. There are thousands of LUTs and effects available online to give you ultimate creative control over your next film. If you liked what you learned here, make sure to check out everything MotionArray has to offer. With LUTs, effects, plugins, and more, Motion Array is absolutely jam-packed with every tool you could need for your video masterpiece.