6 best free color grading software of 2021 by thekoffeetable

How to Achieve Professional-Quality Color Grading with Free Software

  • Post category:FILMMAKING
  • Post published:June 26, 2023
  • Reading time:14 mins read

“Get stunning results with the best free color grading software available. Our expertly curated list includes software with a range of tools, from color wheels to LUTs, all designed to enhance your photos and videos.”

Color grading is an important part of any video editing or filmmaking process, especially for filmmakers, photographers, video editors, graphic designers, and anyone who wants a cinematic look for their videos or films.

You can work on various parameters of a video with Cinematic color grading tools, such as saturation, white balance, contrast, black level, noise reduction, distortion information, and color can be adjusted and enhanced. 

Although you may not be able to become a colorist or hire one due to a lack of funds, there are several free software tools for grading video, including Davinci Resolve, Lightworks, and Red Giant Colorista.

Here, we’ll look at 6 of the best free color grading software list that are both free and capable of competing with some functionality of Premiere Pro or Vegas color grading tools.

What is color grading?

Color grading is the process of adjusting and enhancing the colors and tones in a video or image to achieve a desired look or mood. It involves adjusting aspects such as brightness, contrast, saturation, and hue to create a cohesive visual style that complements the content being displayed. 

Color grading is often used in filmmaking and photography to create a consistent aesthetic and mood throughout a project, and it can greatly impact the overall feel and message conveyed by the visuals.

Color grading vs Color correction

Color grading and color correction are both techniques used in post-production to enhance the color and visual appearance of images or videos, but they differ in their approach and purpose.

Color correction:

  • Involves adjusting technical issues like white balance, exposure, and color balance.
  • Aims to achieve a neutral and accurate representation of the original footage.
  • Helps footage look as natural as possible.

Color grading:

  • Involves adjusting colors and tones creatively to establish a specific look or mood.
  • Can include changes to color balance, saturation, contrast, and brightness.
  • Helps to enhance the aesthetic and emotional impact of the footage.
  • Often used in creative projects like films and music videos.

In summary, both color grading and color correction are important techniques used in post-production to enhance the visual quality of images and videos. While they have different focuses and goals, they often overlap and can be used in combination to achieve the desired result.

Best Color Grading Software for Video Editors

For those looking to color grade their footage using free software, Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve is currently the best, if not the only, choice. 

Resolve began as a color grading software, but it has since grown to include photo editing, 3D compositing with Fusion, and a complete digital audio workstation (DAW) with Fairlight, all from a single interface. 

In Resolve, you can execute any of the basic video editing tasks.

It’s a cross-platform program that works on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Resolve includes two types: free resolve and $299 Resolve Studio, which adds a few core enhancements that working professionals can enjoy.

6 best free color grading software of 2021
Photo / Google

Red Giant is well-known in the filmmaking world, having been around for a long time. It’s another free color grading software application. We also call Red Giant Magic Bullet. Colorista Free is a fantastic app that offers 3-way color correction and a wide range of inputs.

Colorista Free can be used as a secondary correction tool if you’re using other applications such as Adobe Premiere CC. Colorista II, a $199 After Effects plugin, is also worth considering.

6 best free color grading software of 2021
Photo / Google

Adobe Premiere Pro is a audio and video editing software that is widely used in the industry. It comes with all the equipment you’ll need to make a professional-looking film. 

This software is used by a lot of filmmakers. Many formats are supported by this advanced color grading software, including MP4, AVI, MOV, WMV, FLV, and others.

This Adobe video editing includes professional-grade color grading, color correction and audio editing programs and features are often integrated into video editing software. These features to help you achieve the cinematic look you want for your videos. 

Both of the features are included in adjustable workspaces, and you may use curves, color grading wheels, and slider arrangements to change the color, contrast, and lighting of your images. These capabilities are intended to meet the needs of professionals.

This application is only available for PCs; however, if you need color grading tools for your iPad or other tablets, try the Adobe Premiere Rush app.

6 best free color grading software of 2021
Photo / Google

Final Cut Pro X is one of the best free color grading software for professional editors, but it is only available for Mac users. It also has audio editing programs and features are often integrated into video editing software. 

In general, it’s on the list of the best video editing software for Mac, so you can use it to polish your videos to perfection.

Final Cut Pro X signatures a club of dedicated color grading instruments, including color wheels, color curves, keyframes, and customizing hue/saturation curves in a hassle-free way, with its intuitive interface and easy-to-use features.

Whatever changes you make, you can display them in the Comparison Viewer to get a better understanding of the reference images as dashing effects are applied, and it has an excellent Lookup Tables feature (lut color grading).

6 best free color grading software of 2021
Photo / Google

HitFilm Express is a popular free video editing program that also has color correction capabilities. It comes with all the tools you’ll need to edit movies, short films, and vlogs, among other things.

Color grading and color correction are the two classes of instruments in this free color grading program. They can be used in combination to produce the most stunning results. Color balance, shade, color temperature, and other factors can all be improved for them. 

A separate set of results, such as warp, blur, distort, sharpen, and more, should be examined in addition to these types.

This software outperformed analogs for color grading according to its extensive format support, which allows users to work with formats such as AVI, WMV, MP4, MOV, and others. However, when it comes to exporting the result, you have the option of using MP4 or AVI.

6 best free color grading software of 2021
Photo / Google

Another free colour grading and video editing program for Windows is Lightworks. Any film post-production is done in the background in real-time.

Adjust shadows, highlights, mid-tones, gamma, contrast, saturation, and more with this color grading program for Windows. You also get access to a large library of color effects that let you change the colour profile of a clip and add sepia, nighttime, and a variety of other tones.

The platform is equally common with newcomers who are fascinated by its simple and intuitive user interface and experienced users who appreciate the sophisticated features and techniques that have been used to edit many well-known films. If you want to use this software, you should do so. 

If you make Facebook, YouTube or large 4K videos, you can use this software.

Photo / Google

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, free alternatives can’t completely overtake premium editing software like Premiere Pro or Vegas, but DaVinci Resolve comes close. 

However, if it’s one-time work, and you’re looking for a specific feature, don’t go busting your piggy bank just yet. If you can see, there are a lot of sophisticated video editing tricks available for free. 

Also there are few questions like does these kinds of free video editing software support audio editing. The answer is Yes, off course audio editing programs and features are often integrated into video editing software, it’s a important part of any visual editing software.

 I hope this article helps you out, and you find out your best free color grading software


Which color grading software is preferred by Hollywood studios?

Hollywood studios typically use high-end color grading software such as DaVinci Resolve, Baselight, and Lustre. These programs offer advanced features and tools for color grading, making them well-suited for professional-grade post-production work.

Can you recommend a good free software for color grading pictures?

There are several free options for picture color grading software, but some of the best include DaVinci Resolve (the free version), Colorista Free, and Color Grading Central’s LUT Utility Free. Each of these programs offers a range of tools for color grading, including color wheels, curves, and LUTs (Look-Up Tables).

When it comes to color grading, which software is more suitable: Premiere or DaVinci?

While Adobe Premiere Pro’s Lumetri Color toolset is powerful and easy to use, many professionals consider DaVinci Resolve to be the industry standard for color grading. DaVinci Resolve offers more advanced tools and features, including advanced color wheels, curves, and the ability to work with high dynamic range (HDR) footage. However, both Premiere and DaVinci are capable of producing high-quality color grades, so the choice ultimately depends on personal preference and project requirements.

How to change color in a PDF?

To change color in a PDF, you can use Adobe Acrobat Pro or other PDF editing software. Simply select the object you want to change the color of, and choose a new color from the software’s color palette.

How to change background color in Adobe Illustrator?

To change the background color in Adobe Illustrator, select the artboard tool and then click on the background to select it. Next, choose a new fill color from the toolbar or the Swatches panel.

What are some color grading software options?

Some popular color grading software options include DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, and Avid Media Composer.

How to change text color in Adobe Premiere?

Here is a step-by-step process on how to change text color in Adobe Premiere:

  1. Open your Adobe Premiere project and go to the timeline.
  2. Find the text layer you want to edit and select it.
  3. In the Essential Graphics panel, select the Edit tab. You can access the Essential Graphics panel by clicking on Window in the top menu, and then selecting Essential Graphics.
  4. In the Edit tab, you will see the properties of the text layer. Look for the Font Color option.
  5. Click on the Font Color option to open the color picker.
  6. Use the color picker to select the color you want to change the text to.
  7. You can also enter specific color values or use the eyedropper tool to select a color from your project.
  8. After selecting the new color, the text should update automatically in the preview window.
  9. Once you are happy with the new color, click on the X in the top right corner of the Essential Graphics panel to close it.
  10. Save your project.

That’s it! You have successfully changed the color of the text in Adobe Premiere.

Aanchal Shukla

I'm a Graphic designer with over 10 years of experience now turned full time Wordpress Developer , SEO Expert and Writer for thekoffeetable.com. I post simple FAQ guides and tutorials that cover Graphic, Animation, Filmmaking and Passive Income and Product Review in general.