How to Import and Apply LUTs in After Effects

A step-by-step tutorial on how to import and apply LUTs in After Effects.

Interested in using LUTs in After Effects? With LUTs (lookup tables) you can apply a consistent look to your footage and color grade your clips faster.

This tutorial will cover the simple process of importing and applying LUTs within After Effects.

1. Import Your Footage

import luts ae

To import a lut in After Effects you’ll need some footage that you can apply it to. Start by importing your clips and organizing your composition.

2. Find the Effects & Presets Panel

effects and presets panel after effects

Once you have your clips in the composition, you’ll need to find the Effects & Presets Panel. If you don’t see it within your workspace you can find it by clicking Window > Effects & Presets.

The panel will then show up in your workspace allowing you to search for specific effects/presets that you can apply to your layers.

effects panel ae

3. Search for the ‘Apply Color LUT’ Utility

lut utility after effects

Now that you have the Effects & Presets panel open, all you have to do is search for ‘lut’ or ‘apply color lut’ specifically to find the utility you’ll use to apply LUTs in After Effects.

Click and drag the utility onto your clip and it will open your documents where you can search for the specific LUT you’d like to apply to your footage. For this tutorial we’re working with the free cinematic LUTs pack.

how to apply lut in after effects

After you select a LUT, it will be applied to the clip that you added the Utility preset to. You can view the Effect Controls in the top left of your workspace where you can reset the LUT and/or choose a different LUT for your clip if you’re going for a different look.

using luts in after effects

Notes from Adobe

According to this After Effects user guide from Adobe, the ‘Apply Color LUT’ utility effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color. You can get a better idea about managing color in After Effects with this user guide.

Find versatile and professional LUTs packs for filmmaking.


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10 Professional LUTs Packs for Filmmaking →




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2 Replies to “How to Import and Apply LUTs in After Effects”

  1. Chelsea says:

    Hi there, thanks for the concise directions! What happens if you’ve applied the LUTs in After Effects but the same clips back in Premier then appear disconnected? It’s almost like once the LUTs are applied, Premier can’t read/recognize the file anymore…

  2. Thanks! This was super useful for After Effects CC.

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