FORUMS: list search recent posts

Proper Workflow Settings between AE and FCP to ensure gamma + color consistency

COW Forums : Adobe After Effects

<< PREVIOUS   •   FAQ   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Chris Barnard
Proper Workflow Settings between AE and FCP to ensure gamma + color consistency
on Mar 28, 2014 at 7:28:16 pm

Hi there, I have a question about choosing the best workflow to ensure consistency in color and gamma for various export destinations and viewing platforms. The project is a short film shot on RED.

Here's what I'm using:

Macbook Pro, v.10.7.5
Display Calibration- D65, Gamma 2.2
Final Cut Pro v. 7.0.3
Adobe After Effects CC v.12.0.0.404

Here are my goals:

Get the color correction I've done in AE back into Final Cut Pro so I can export it as a self-contained Quicktime file which includes the audio from the timeline. I would like this export to be in 422 HQ, which I will use as my master file. From there I want to bring it into Apple Compressor so I can create an H.264 version intended for Vimeo, but I also intend to create DVD versions at some point too.

I've been trying various ways of doing this with alternative settings in multiple combinations to ensure color and gamma consistency across platforms, but the amount of these potential combinations, options and factors are simply becoming overwhelming and I need assistance!

Matters have been made more confusing when viewing my exported tests on Quicktime 7 (with and without the ColorSync option selected), Quicktime 10 (which I assume to be most people's default player) and VLC. All of these seem to produce slight variations in either color, gamma, or a combination of the two.

Here are my questions:

After Effects:

1) Which project settings should I be using given my workflow and intentions?
2) Which workspace is optimal? The files are .R3D. I was working in 16bit, Apple RGB thinking this would be ideal for Final Cut Pro, but there are other options like sRGB which I understand is best for the web, and I get confused when considering how these interact with the various rendering options within FCP (RGB, YUV, etc).
3) Should I be utilizing any of the options like Blend Colors using 1.0 Gamma, Match Legacy or Compensate for Scene-referred Profiles?
4) In Output Module Settings, here are my current settings:
Format: Quicktime
Channels: RGB
Depth: Millions of Colors
Color: Premultiplied (Matted)

I was told outputting a master file using the Animation Codec is best; that way I retain a lossless version that I can use as a master file should I need to transcode it to some other specific format (say for a festival). From there I could use Compressor to create a 422 HQ version which I could then import into my sequence in FCP. If that's the best thing to do, when in Compressor, should I enable or disable the Gamma Correction option?

Or this simply superfluous? Should I just render from AE using the 422 HQ option since that's what I'm intending to use in FCP? If so, there are further settings here, specifically the Gamma Correction options which I don't know whether to keep enabled or disabled. Would this be my best option if I never needed a higher quality version than ProRes 422 HQ?

In FCP:
Assuming I now have my 422 HQ file that I can import into my sequence, what are my best Sequence Settings? In the General tab, my compressor settings should be the ProRes 422 HQ, but again, what about the Gamma Correction options? Render controls I have set to Same as Sequence Codec. I become confused with my Video Processing options:

Always render in RGB
Render in 8-bit YUV
Render 10-bit material in high-precision YUV
Render all YUV material in high precision YUV

with the further options of Max White and Motion Filtering. What is optimal?

Once that is sorted out and I export my self-contained 422 HQ movie, how do I then ensure within Apple Compressor that the H.264 version will appear the same as the 422 HQ master? All of this becomes confusing to me when you consider the various players (Quicktime 7 with or without ColorSync option selected) Quicktime 10 or say, VLC. What sort of things can I also do to ensure that the Vimeo version looks the same as my 422 HQ master?

Terribly sorry for the length of this post. I've tried researching all of this and in the end have just become more confused. Mac, Windows, Gamma, Color Profiles, Spaces, Codecs, Metatags, etc. It's all a lot to grasp. Thanks!


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Proper Workflow Settings between AE and FCP to ensure gamma + color consistency
on Mar 30, 2014 at 1:44:03 am

[Chris Barnard] "1) Which project settings should I be using given my workflow and intentions? "

You're doing color correction in Ae. Do you have a calibrated video monitor and and video I/O? If you're using a computer monitor, have you profiled it with a probe?

Unless you are working on a well-profiled computer monitor, then there is no need in your workflow to enable color management.

Color management is necessary when combining multiple elements from different spaces, when trying to transform a source from one color space into a destination of another, or when using the display's profile to manage color on your monitor.


[Chris Barnard] "Should I just render from AE using the 422 HQ option since that's what I'm intending to use in FCP?"

Yes, do this. No need for animation codec (which is almost certainly causing you a gamma issue in FCP unless you are already overriding FCP's incorrect guess). Also, animation codec is 8-bit, which is limiting the high 16-bit precision you're processing with.

Use the default codec settings when rendering any flavor of ProRes, but make sure your output module in Ae is set for Trillions of Colors.


[Chris Barnard] " I become confused with my Video Processing options:

Always render in RGB
Render in 8-bit YUV
Render 10-bit material in high-precision YUV
Render all YUV material in high precision YUV"


These options determine what math FCP uses when processing effects. If you are not applying effects, it doesn't matter what you choose. Since you're working with 10-bit ProRes renders from Ae, I'd suggest rendering all YUV material in high precision YUV.

Once you bring this over to Compressor and export to H.264, all bets are off. Apple's H.264 compressor is pretty crummy (but improved in the latest version of Compressor). I'd suggest you consider using Adobe Media Encoder, Telestream Episode, or Sorenson Squeeze instead if possible.


[Chris Barnard] "Once that is sorted out and I export my self-contained 422 HQ movie, how do I then ensure within Apple Compressor that the H.264 version will appear the same as the 422 HQ master? All of this becomes confusing to me when you consider the various players (Quicktime 7 with or without ColorSync option selected) Quicktime 10 or say, VLC. What sort of things can I also do to ensure that the Vimeo version looks the same as my 422 HQ master? "

Media Encoder ships with a Vimeo preset -- I'd give that a go first.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Chris Barnard
Re: Proper Workflow Settings between AE and FCP to ensure gamma + color consistency
on Apr 8, 2014 at 4:30:26 pm

Thanks so much for your help. I reexported everything in 422 HQ, trillions of colours and no gamma correction. I checked them out in QT and VLC and it seems that only VLC displays an accurate representation of how the files look in AE.

I imported these files into my sequence in FCP and they didn't look anything like they did in AE, but I understand FCP isn't colour accurate anyway, so I overlooked the differences and exported my sequence, setting gamma correction to "None". Even with selecting this option, the image was more washed out/the exposure was shifted. I ended up having to compensate for this in FCP by applying further filters to the footage and running small test exports until I was satisfied with the results that I could export the entire thing. It's kind of annoying that FCP doesn't accurately represent colour or exposure in the viewer, because any alterations you make are essentially a guess until you view them as an exported file.

After exporting, once again, the image only looked as it did in AE when viewed in VLC. QT just wasn't providing an accurate representation.

I then used Adobe Media Encoder with the Vimeo preset to convert to H264, creating an mp4 which I uploaded to Vimeo. When viewing on Vimeo, I compared the image to the file opened in both VLC and QT, and it seems that Vimeo shows the file as it looks in QT.


I guess short of compensating for the colour shift manually, there's no workaround for this. That's kind of annoying because it really isn't a true representation of the work that was done in the colour correction phase.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]