Skip to main content

Nodes Introduction

Lesson 5 from: DaVinci Resolve: Compositing with Fusion

Casey Faris

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

5. Nodes Introduction

Nodes represent effects and, in this lesson, Casey teaches you how to use them to transform your video.

Lesson Info

Nodes Introduction

In this lesson, we're talking about the most frightening possible thing we could ever talk about with post-production, which is compositing with nodes. Now, the reason I say that is because a lot of people, if they're coming from After Effects or coming from Photoshop or something that uses layers to composite, looks at nodes and just goes, "Why would you do it that way? That's the dumbest way to possibly do this!" And I thought that too, when I started, but after a while I realized, "Oh man, nodes are super powerful." And so we're gonna explore how they work and why, I don't know if they're necessarily better than layers, but why it might be easier to use nodes in certain situations. So, let's jump in. Here in the lower part of our interface, we have our nodes. Now, if this just looks overwhelming and scary and weird to you, that's totally okay because we're gonna be going over the basics and figuring out how all of these work. So, generally how nodes work is, you're kind of like buil...

ding a flowchart of the different steps that you are doing to create your composition and they're generally laid out to flow from left to right but they don't necessarily have to flow from left to right. The important part is actually these arrows right here. So, you see these connector lines start at this white square and they move along into a little arrow and so you can kind of tell which way things flow by which way the arrow's pointing. And again, it doesn't matter if they go from left to right, although generally, that's kind of how we lay stuff out. You could also lay them out from top to bottom and it would work the same way. Again, you can look at the arrows to see which way they're pointing. So all of the nodes flow into each other like a flowchart but what is a node itself? Well, every node has one specific job, for the most part. Any step that you want to take in creating a composite, you basically make a node out of. So, if you want to put something over something else, you use a node. If you want to open an image, you use a node. If you want to add a certain effect, you use a node. If you want to add a mask, you use a node. And so it's kind of a general container for any kind of action that you want to take. Because this is a little bit complicated right now, let's go ahead and open a new composition. I'll just duplicate one of our shots here. And I'm over it here in the Edit page and I'll switch back to Fusion and that will open up our clip in Fusion. So, since the nodes all flow together and every node has a specific job, let's take a look at the kind of default nodes that show up here in Fusion when you open up a shot. Right now, we have two nodes, MediaIn and MediaOut and so really what we have are just kind of two instructions here, MediaIn, what that note does is it opens up the media from the timeline. So just like when I went to the Edit page and I switched over to Fusion, all I'm doing is telling Fusion to grab a clip from the timeline. Then, this flows over to the MediaOut and MediaOut, all that does is put whatever we have connected to it back into the timeline. So, right now we have a really simple instruction: grab the clip and then just go ahead and put it back. So, we are basically doing this for no reason, isn't that great? But, in between these nodes, that's where all the magic happens. So anything that we want to do to this image happens in between MediaIn and MediaOut, it's kinda like the start and the end. Now about these viewers, this right hand viewer is showing our MediaOut node so anything that's happening in MediaOut is being previewed right here in our right hand viewer. The reason we see what's happening in MediaOut is because we have that selected and loaded into our viewer. You can select a node just by clicking on it and you can load it into a viewer by hitting one or two on the keyboard. So, if I select MediaIn and I hit one, that's gonna load it in the left viewer. Now, these look the same, again, because we're not doing anything to this image right now. If I select MediaOut 1 and hit two on the keyboard, then that takes it away from this right hand viewer. What I like to do most of the time is keep MediaOut in the second viewer, just because I'm used to kind of working that way in the Edit page, where we have our timeline viewer on the right and that's always what the audience is going to see. I like to kind of keep that on the right and then, just like our source viewer in the Edit page, I like to look at different parts of my composition with the left hand viewer. You can do this any way that you want. Sometimes there might be a reason to look at one node in the right viewer and one node in the left viewer that aren't necessarily a part of your composition and MediaOut. It's really up to you, there's no real wrong way to do it. As long as you're aware that the only things that are going to show up in these viewers are nodes that you have loaded into the viewers. You can also tell if a node is loaded into the viewer by this little preview here, these little dots. The white dot shows what viewer it's in and a black dot means it's not in that viewer. I can actually load this node in both viewers if I hit one and we see both of these dots are white. This is gonna make a little bit more sense once we actually have some other nodes in here and we can see a difference between these images, but for now, if you can understand that nodes are like a flowchart and each node has one job and you can load any node that you want into either the right viewer or the left viewer by hitting one or two on the keyboard, then you're gonna be doing pretty great. Next, we're going to make a very simple composite, using just a couple different nodes and this will all start to make a little more sense.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

DaVinci Resolve - 17 Shortcuts.pdf

Ratings and Reviews


This is a great course. I'm an absolute beginner to Fusion (although I know a bit about the editing within Resolve). The course walks its students through the basics in a very easy-to-understand process. I feel confident that I can now use Fusion effectively for my videos. Highly recommended.

Student Work