LUT (or the "lookup table") offers a means of changing, managing, and matching colors, and is commonly used in cinema and photography. You can think of LUTs as the color adjustment presets in Pixelmator Pro, or in other words, as a set of color, shadow, and contrast adjustments that combined give an image a particular look and feel. In fact, LUTs themselves can be used together with Pixelmator Pro-native color adjustments.
What's different about LUTs, is that unlike the color adjustments presets which are Pixelmator Pro-exclusive (i.e. can be created and used within the Pixelmator ecosystem only), LUTs are universal. This means that the same LUT can be used across different editing programs and different mediums. With that, all sorts of handy workflows become possible. For instance, you can use LUTs to apply a look of any image you've edited in Pixelmator Pro to a video you're working on in Final Cut Pro. See Using Pixelmator Pro to color grade video in Final Cut Pro to learn more about this workflow.
Pixelmator Pro supports LUTs in the .cube file format. If read as plain text, the .cube file will often feature a list or table of colors expressed by values ranging from 0.0 to 1.0. Pixelmator Pro can then use these lists or tables to look up exactly to which new color values the already existing values should be changed. Once that's done, the pixels featuring those colors (or their closest shades) will change in the image as well.
If you’d like to find out more about how LUTs work in Pixelmator Pro, you can check out our article An in-depth look at 3D LUTs in Pixelmator Pro.
In Pixelmator Pro, you can choose from 5 different collections of pre-made LUTs that come with Pixelmator Pro or apply the custom LUTs you've installed yourself. Since LUTs work like any other color adjustment, they can be non-destructively applied to individual layers or layer groups and combined with other adjustments.
Tip: You can see how LUTs will look like before applying them by hovering the pointer over the name of the LUT.
Show Original: Click the Show Original button or press+ on your keyboard to see what the image looks like without any color adjustments.
To reset all Color Adjustments, click Reset at the bottom of the Color Adjustments pane.
If you have a custom LUT you want to use in Pixelmator Pro, you can import it. The custom LUT will be saved to the Pixelmator Pro LUTs library and will always be available from the LUT collections pop-up menu.
Note: Pixelmator Pro supports 1D and 3D LUTs in the .cube file format.
Sometimes, you may want to additionally adjust the LUTs or save them as color adjustment presets. You can do so by converting the LUT files into Pixelmator Pro color adjustments.
If you have a set of color adjustments you'd like to use in apps other than Pixelmator Pro, you can save them as LUTs.
If you'd like to roll back the LUTs library to how it originally comes with Pixelmator Pro, you can reset it.
IMPORTANT: After the reset, any custom LUTs will also be deleted from the "Custom LUTs" folder on your Mac.
LUTs are managed outside Pixelmator Pro, in a dedicated "Custom LUTs" folder on your Mac. Here, you can add and name folders to create new LUT collections that will appear in Pixelmator Pro.