when to do color grade and pic clear etc

I was wondering if I could do a color grade while setting up my lights? this way I will know if I have any color lights I will see how they will look in color grade, picture clarity node, and so on. then apply dust particles at the end. if I am rendering out frames instead of a movie to make high definition images to be converted into a movie file. do I have to do this to every frame? or is there a box option?

right now I have the manual but starting the new composting tutorial as we speak.

The 3D preview window won’t show you the effect of your nodes on the scene. But you could turn on the background image in the compositor to show the preview node’s output. However you would have to keep refreshing the compositor by keeping the Auto-render button active in the compositor.

You should definitely render “frame-by-frame to a file,” and I suggest that you use the MultiLayer OpenEXR format for all such intermediate-files. (Right up to “the final render,” which can be ordinary OpenEXR. All “distribution files” are produced from that “original.”)

Dust particles and so-forth should, indeed, be “added at the end” during the compositing process. Start with the pristine, and keep the pristine, before you (non-destructively) start to “dirty it up.”)

I suggest that you do color-grading … at least, many representative tests … while you are setting up each shot, especially the lighting. Color-grading wil change the overall color-profile of the frame by applying a digital filter to it. That filter will have the effect of compressing some of the color-bands (giving the effect of having expanded other bands). It will change the contrast, and how costumes and props are viewed. You need to be thoroughly familiar with how the final effect is going to turn out.

And, I think, this is another good argument for using compositing a lot. The color modification that needs to be applied to different things in the frame might well be slightly-different. Build “the ability to ‘tweak’ things” into your work flow.