Video: Introduction to Photoshop Color Lookup Tables

In Lightroom, Photography, Photoshop by Matt K36 Comments

I won’t lie… I’m a Lightroom preset junkie. But I’ve been playing with Photoshop’s Color Lookup Table adjustment for a while now, and I’m really diggin’ the results. I think, as photographers, we all go through different changes and moods when it comes to our photography. These Color Lookup Tables (also called, “LUTs”) have given me a new look on some styling that I can do on my photos.

Free Download

If you watch the video below you’ll see, toward the end, I mention a download. It’s a PSD file that lets you cycle through Photoshop’s built-in 3DLUTs in an easier and more visual way. Just open the PSD file > Go to Window-Layer Comps > and press the arrows at the bottom to cycle through the various presets.

Here’s the link to download the Sample PSD File.

The Video

As promised, here’s a video that talks a little about how to use the lookup tables, why/when I use them, and some tricks to help get the most out of them. Enjoy!


  1. Barbara Amos

    When I click on Download the Sample PSD file, I get a message that the webpage cannot be found.

  2. betty Del Gobbo

    The link to download the PSD file is not working May you please look at it? Thanks in advance


    1. Richard Wells

      The page doesn’t open, it just downloads the file automatically into your downloads folder.

  3. Marijke Dusseljee

    Thanks Matt for the beautiful tutorial en the psd file. It works and i’m very happy with it.

  4. Ruth E Geitgey

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m looking forward to trying the PSD file and see how the different affects look on one of my images. Can we save new presets that we make here just like other presets are made in PS? I’m sure I speak for many, we appreciate your generosity and how clearly you teach.

  5. Ruth E Geitgey

    Hi again! I successfully downloaded the PSD file and pasted my image on on top your image, but I cannot get the layer to stay visible when trying to cycle through the effects. It turns off every time. Thanks!

    1. Marilynn B.

      Ruth, you need to Merge Down to eliminate the default photo and keep your photo active. You can’t just delete the default photo either. Your photo has to be merged with it.

  6. Allen Weitzman

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for sharing the clue and making it clear and easy to understand. Tried it on some waterfall shots from last weekend and loved the results.

    Much appreciated,


  7. Deb Stratmann

    This is amazing. However I seem to not be understanding on how to have it make the changes to my photo after I drag it and and transform it. I think I must be missing a step.

    1. Author
      Matt K

      Hey Deb – you need to press Cmd E / Ctrl E to merge the new photo layer down with the background below it. I forgot that Layer Comps remember the visibility so when you cycle through them, they remembered that I had the background layer turned on and will always revert to that.

  8. Betty Del Gobbo

    Thanks Matt Now i downloaded it I”try in the weekend.


  9. Old Bampa

    Matt, Your intro to Color Lookup Tables is fascinating, but do you have to code each of the CLTs into the PSD by hand? If so, would it be hard for a user to do so? And would it be hard to create new CLTs for Photoshop? Is there a guide to do so? Thanks

  10. Jeff Ross

    Hi Matt:

    Thanks for creating and sharing this file and associated video. I love that photo you used from Yosemite, with El Cap and the Three Brothers. You don’t often see this view. Most shots are taken from Tunnel View, but this is super with the reflection!

  11. Christine Morgan

    Hi Matt, thanks for taking the trouble to produce the file and sharing it – makes it so easy to see the different looks, and some of those looks are really quite amazing. Just been playing with it and shall certainly be using this adjustment again now that I know what it can do.

    Thank you for all you do – I’ve probably learnt most of what I know about Photoshop from you over the years.

  12. Marilynn B.

    Thank you for the .psd file, Matt. I knew about color lookup, but it is much handier to have the options arrayed in a way that allows me to quickly compare effects. Besides using the arrows, I can click between effects that are not adjacent without having to turn one off before going to the other. Thanks again for all your tips and tutorials!

  13. lee kivi

    Thanks for the tutorial and video. Looks like something I would love to use, but is it available on Elements 14?

  14. Catherine

    Hi Matt,

    Really enjoying the course – have got to Portrait. This tutorial is brill but has drawn my attention to the fact that my files are too big for the PSD you have produced so I must be saving them at the wrong resolution. Please will you let me know what size I should be saving them at or maybe I should be flattening them first so they are smaller? I have been Saving As and changing name.

    Thanks for all your help.

    1. Author
      Matt K

      Hi Catherine – the file I saved as a PSD is very small (so it’s not too large to download). It’s meant to be a “proof”, not a final image. SO yes, everything you paste in will be large and need to be resized down so that you can “proof” the various LUTs and their effects. Then you can see which one worked and use the tutorial to apply it to your full image.

  15. Lucy

    Thank you for sharing the video on this awesome technique and giving us the PSD file for free AWESOME 🙂 Cheers Lucy

  16. PeteC

    Thanks Matt! Perhaps you can share how to create this so it work in both portrait and landscape and with large files – maybe another tutorial.

  17. Lynn

    As I am a New B as for PS please tell me how to install this file into PS. I enjoyed watching your video and very much wish to try it out. thanks for doing and helping.

  18. Randy

    What would be great is if you could keep the action oriented psd 3DLUT file as a saved extension or else affixed file tool.
    This way, it would always be available within photoshop for whenever you would like to use it. Other than that it’s best saved in the Photoshop Folder.

  19. Karen Proft

    Did you really mean to give us – for no money at all – this incredible LUTS shortcut?
    I can’t believe you’re just letting us take this as if it were no big deal. This is a big deal! I watched the video because I had no idea what LUTS was all about and I feel like I’m walking away with the keys to the kingdom! A truly generous gift that took valuable time for you to put together–and it is definitely appreciated!
    You mentioned you had more LUTS presets on the MATT K website, but I only see Lightroom Presets having nothing to do with LUTS. Am I looking in the wrong place?

  20. Gord Marshall

    Thanks Matt, awesome job. Had no trouble running the Layer comp but I am curious as to if I can add more to the list of LUT’s I already have and how I would go about doing that? Cheers..

  21. marc labro

    on my win10 machine, on 6/3/2018, i can activate move tool and in lut box, i can visualize all lut on my image simply using arrow key
    the tutorial of 6/3/2018 with color blend mode is amazing !


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