Learn color grading in Final Cut Pro X – free and downloadable options

by planetMitch1 Comment

A series of free training videos for Final Cut Pro X color grading have been posted by Color Grading Central. The site is run by Denver Riddle (maker of the Luster Film Burns we featured a couple of weeks ago). If you're interested in having copies of the tutorials downloaded so you can watch them on your own time (maybe with an iPad!), for a mere $49 you can own a copy.

The first tutorial out of the 15

01. FCP X Color Grading Tutorial: What is Color Grading? from Color Grading Central on Vimeo.

We've been talking to Denver

and here's what he's given us as the background to his series and his new website color grading central.

When I first discovered color grading I have to admit that I didn't even know what the title or position was called to describe someone who makes a living coloring films.

Once I had discovered the name I thought to myself, “THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO DO! HOW DO I BECOME A COLORIST?”

So naturally I went online and typed, “Colorist” into the Google search bar and it came up with results having to deal with coloring comics, coloring hair and color grading, but WAY more results for coloring hair and any other coloring not dealing with color grading or what a Colorist is!

This is when I realized that this was something special, something not many people knew about, a niche. So with some more digging I uncovered a thread on some vfx forum where someone had asked the same question about HOW to become a colorist.

The responses were varied, buy this book or that book and if your real serious take colorist training at the International Colorist Academy. I thought, “that's it??? No other institutions or schools teach this stuff??”

Not to be deterred I bought every color grading book that was mentioned, spent countless hours learning and practicing the art and EVEN received training at the ICA under the tutelage of Kevin Shaw.

By the time I had trained at the ICA I was already working as a colorist and in the process of building my own boutique color grading suite.

It's been a wild ride looking at the world of colors differently, feeling like I don't measure up at times, feeling on top of the world when I've nailed a grade or look and even scrimping and sacrificing on luxuries and date nights to save up enough money to take formal training and build a DaVinci Resolve suite.

And I have to say that its all been worth it!!! Pursuing dreams and passions is a meaningful endeavor, the substance of life, being the best at your skill that you can possibly be and pushing it even further.

So this is my conclusion on how to become a Colorist based on my experience… You just have to want it, to be a big dreamer, be willing to pay the price to win and you will succeed.

Everything else will fall into place, MOST Colorists are self taught, so take advantage of whatever learning resources there are that are available and put some mileage on, in the chair and on the control surface. (Buy one, great investment)

If you ever get an opportunity to learn as an apprentice, do it! I hope that this information is beneficial to you if you're interested in becoming a Colorist and I wish you all the best in your pursuits.

Denver Riddle

The Second tutorial

02. FCP X Color Grading Tutorial: Order of Operation Worfklow from Color Grading Central on Vimeo.

Okay this is the big one! In this color grading tutorial I share with you the same workflow that top colorists use. It's important to have an ordered systematic approach to your grading so you don't get lost and end up making your image look “muddy” because you've lost track where you're at. This tutorial will serve as the primer for all all the correction tutorials.

– Denver Riddle, Colorist


You can see all of the tutorials here

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. Looks like a great product, It would have been nice if it was not just FCP X specific. But more a general color grading teaching. It looks like what you learn in this can be carried over to other apps, is this the case?


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