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The controversy surrounding "Color Settings"

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Filip Stillerska
The controversy surrounding "Color Settings"
on Jun 11, 2018 at 12:35:04 pm

Main question: What is your go-to color settings?

Attached below you'll find my current go-to color settings, that I'm starting to question somewhat. I'll also make a quick explanation WHY I'm using these specific settings.



  • 16 bpc: Mostly to avoid things like banding and "ugly" glows that 8 bpc sometimes results in. 32 bpc is usually not necessary for my purposes (except for some cases, like when I need to create specific glows for example).
  • Rec.709 Gamma 2.4: For accurate color management. However, 95% of everyone I know always leaves this setting on its default "None". Should I also leave it to "None"?
  • Linearize Working Space: I use this to achieve more realistic blendings, glows etc. However, I'm starting to question this setting since using it usually gives me unexpected results; thing like the Colorama-effect starts generating different colors than it's supposed to do (the colors generated on the footage/comp-layer isn't the same as the colors displayed in the Output Cycle, which makes the effect pretty difficult to work with).


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Walter Soyka
Re: The controversy surrounding "Color Settings"
on Jun 11, 2018 at 2:25:43 pm

[Filip Stillerska] "Main question: What is your go-to color settings?"

This depends on the deliverable needs.




[Filip Stillerska] "16 bpc: Mostly to avoid things like banding and "ugly" glows that 8 bpc sometimes results in. 32 bpc is usually not necessary for my purposes (except for some cases, like when I need to create specific glows for example)."

Makes sense. It's worth noting that 16bpc creates the same imagery as 8bpc, but with higher fidelity and quality. That
means they are basically interchangeable. 32bpc, as you note, can create very different imagery from the same comp than 8/16bpc would, so this is a decision that's best made upfront.


[Filip Stillerska] "Rec.709 Gamma 2.4: For accurate color management. However, 95% of everyone I know always leaves this setting on its default "None". Should I also leave it to "None"?"

You can leave this to none if:
1) Your inputs and your outputs are all the same color space.
2) Your monitor matches your color space, or you do not have a profiled monitor.

If you have multiple sources with different color spaces, or if you want to use your monitor's ICC profile to accurately monitor color in your Ae project, then you need to choose a working space to enable color management.


[Filip Stillerska] "Linearize Working Space: I use this to achieve more realistic blendings, glows etc. However, I'm starting to question this setting since using it usually gives me unexpected results; thing like the Colorama-effect starts generating different colors than it's supposed to do (the colors generated on the footage/comp-layer isn't the same as the colors displayed in the Output Cycle, which makes the effect pretty difficult to work with)."

This is a tradeoff. Some effects work well in a linear space, others work better in a video/logarithmic/gamma-encoded space. You can use the Color Profile Converter effect to linearize and delinearize in a layer or effect stack; perhaps that would help you get more consistent results.

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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Filip Stillerska
Re: The controversy surrounding "Color Settings"
on Jun 12, 2018 at 3:31:53 pm

Thank you, Walter! I feel like I have a better understanding now. I wasn't aware of the Color Profile Converter-effect, however, I'm a little bit confused how to use it properly. Can you help? I've applied the Color Profile Converter-effect to a sRGB-image in a 16 bpc Rec.709 Gamma 2.4 linearized project. When choosing "Input Profile", should I choose the specification of the image (sRGB, non-linear) or the specification of the project (Rec.709 Gamma 2.4, linearized)?



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Walter Soyka
Re: The controversy surrounding "Color Settings"
on Jun 12, 2018 at 4:07:56 pm

Remember that color management is all about preserving color across devices that model color differently -- and that this means translating the numbers used to represent the color from one space to another. So if you find an effect like Colorama works best in sRGB, remember that effects are just math, and its controls or algorithms are probably relying on some assumptions about the underlying numbers that represent color values.

To work with Colorama the way you would in a project with no color management, put Color Profile Converter effects on either side of Colorama in the effect stack. Convert from the working space to sRGB before Colorama effect, then back from sRGB to the working space after it.

Make sense?

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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Filip Stillerska
Re: The controversy surrounding "Color Settings"
on Jun 12, 2018 at 4:55:56 pm

Agreed! However, I was talking about using the Color Profile Converter-effect to delinearize an image in a linearized working space when effects like Colorama doesn't generate expected results or behaves unexpectedly. "Some effects work well in a linear space, others work better in a video/logarithmic/gamma-encoded space" just like you said, Walter.

I found a solution to the "Colarama generates unexpected results in a linearized working space"-issue; if I apply the Color Profile Converter-effect before the Colorama-effect with the following settings the Colorama-effect starts working as expected:

  • Input Profile = Project Working Space
  • Linearize Input Profile = Yes
  • Output Profile = Rec.709 Gamma 2.4 (this should be the same as your Project Working Space)
  • Linearize Output Profile = No


Apparently, the Colorama-effect doesn't like to work in a linearized working space, so by applying the Color Profile Converter-effect before the Colorama-effect and delinearizing the image (or whatever) the Colorama-effect now works as expected!


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