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working color managed workflow between FCPX, Photoshop and After Effects

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Ron Fya
working color managed workflow between FCPX, Photoshop and After Effects
on Jan 31, 2018 at 5:29:15 pm

Hello guys,

How do you maintain a working color managed workflow when using FCPX, Photoshop and After Effects ? I don’t know in which software the answer to my problem lies so I am asking here as well.

I had a shot where I needed to remove crowd control barriers. So I exported a still from FCPX, went into Photoshop where it opens automatically tagged with a Rec. ITU-R BT.709-5 color profile.

I create my clean plate and import that into AE (which recognizes the Rec. ITU-R BT.709-5 color profile). I also import the moving shot to correct which was exported from FCPX as ProRes 422 and automatically tagged with HDTV (Rec.709) Y’CbCr profile, which AE recognizes as well.

In AE, I fix my shot using tracking and camera mapping. So far so good … until I notice that the clean plate does not completely match the moving shot in regard to color and tone. The clean plate is less contrasty, lighter and less saturated. (Washed out like with the “infamous quicktime gamma bug”).

AE’s working color space is set to Rec.709 gamma 2.4

I tried to match the clean plate to the footage using the “Interpret footage” command and reassigning a profile. I also tried the utility effect > color profile converter with several combination of the following profiles without any success.

HDTV (rec.709)
HDTV (rec.709) 16-235
Rec.709 gamma 2.4
Rec. ITU-R BT.709-5
sRGB IEC61966-2.1
and also my custom X-Rite profile used on my MacBook’s display

One more thing to note is that the profile of the ProRes 422 exported form FCPX is named HD 1-1-1 in the Finder’s info panel and HDTV (Rec.709) Y’CbCr in AE. Not sure if this could be a clue.

Here is a link to the movie exported from FCPX and the clean plate extracted from the last frame.

Next time, to avoid this kind of problems, I won’t forget to export my still from the same software where I composite them. But still, if someone has an explanation and a fix for such cases, that would be great.

Thanks! Cheers.


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Walter Soyka
Re: working color managed workflow between FCPX, Photoshop and After Effects
on Feb 1, 2018 at 11:57:22 am

It looks to me like something somewhere in the chain has a different understanding of what the Rec. 709 transfer function should be.

If you enable color management in Ae, leave both sources with their default profiles, and apply a Levels effect to your TIFF footage layer with the gamma set to 0.816, they should match nicely.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]

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Ron Fya
Re: working color managed workflow between FCPX, Photoshop and After Effects
on Feb 1, 2018 at 8:57:55 pm

Thanks for chiming in Walter !

I agree with you about misunderstanding of the Rec 709 profile somewhere.

By the way, does somebody know what are the actual differences between the following profile variants?

Rec.709 gamma 2.4
HDTV (rec.709) --> this one seems to be actually an exact copy of sRGB IEC61966-2.1 but with a "709" name
Rec. ITU-R BT.709-5

The 3 above are ordered from the darkest to the lightest. Seems to me the gamma is different.
Maybe respectively : 2.4 ; 2.2 & I don't know what.

Then there are those 2 that seem "special"
HD-709-A : don't know what this one is for
HDTV (rec.709) 16-235 : typically, this one pinned to broadcast values is useless most of the time since it's done by the encoder.

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