After Effects Davinci Workflow
I don't know much about workflow, all I know is that I have done some visual effects in After Effects which contains lots of video files overlayed and composited with effects on the files. How am I supposed to give this to a grader, if I render it out, they won't be able to grade each individual layer, and if I give them an xml or something like that, the effects won't be preserved? Please help
There's a lot of variables here, and I'm sure others will have suggestions much different that mine. I've mostly worked on documentaries and action sports, so the VFX stuff I've done is mostly titles and such. Not Transformers-style CGI. Most of my work is "natural, but punched"
first, I will take the base video and give it a white-balance or a correction, not a grade. I'll make sure flesh tones look correct, blacks and whites are correct, etc. just so the shot looks good and stands on its own. the VFX artist will than take that video and apply their work. if certain parts of their VFX have to match colors that are in the original shot, they will do that.
I then take the final rendered output and apply the grade that makes it fit within the rest of the edit. if they matched colors in the VFX to colors in the shot I corrected initially, those colors should theoretically change as I apply a primary to the entire shot, staying uniform. If not, I will apply secondaries as needed. for me, this is about as complicated as it gets.
of course, if the effects are more involved, you will want grading in more parts of your VFX. You'll probably want grading even earlier in your pipeline, or your VFX artist to sit in during your grade. It has been my experience that faults in the VFX show up in grading because it's the first time everyone's really seen everything together and everyone is staring at every pixel. Many times AE users will work at lower quality settings so they can work quickly, but miss some details because they don't crop up until the final full res render.
I'm curious to see what other people suggest.
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
Typically there's a pre-grade done on the raw footage prior to VFX processing. If possible have the colorist grade the raw footage files and switch those out in your Compositions... I know that sucks, but you will need to do this.
Depending on how your layers are setup you may also render out layers individually with alpha channels. The colorist would then have isolations with which to grade on. Typically both of these are done -- that is the pre-grade and alpha splits.
It really depends on what the nature of the VFX or CG is.
I'd output ProRes4444+ alpha if you need QuickTime files or TIFF LZW (16bit) + alpha if the colorist can deal with image sequences. At this point you may need to reconfigure your AE compositions so that you can make logical layer separations. If Resolve is being used you can stack the layers back up in the timeline. Be prepared (and patient) for some back and forth with the colorist if this is the first time that he or she has done this.
[James Harding] "I have done some visual effects in After Effects which contains lots of video files overlayed and composited with effects on the files. "
Like fine cuisine that requires a few steps in the preparation, it gets to be a complicated recipe.
All of this is converging on the ambition that BlackMagic has for Resolve as an "online" tool. At the moment, yes, all you have at your disposal is the ability for Resolve to alpha-composite multiple layers of visual media, but whatever filters you have applied in AE will not be available to the colorist. With the next version of Resolve (ten), colorists will be able to add plug-in effects to nodes, and this may be a step closer to simulating an After Effects environment -- which may or may not be exactly translateable vis-à-vis things like lens flares, glows, Photoshop artistic embosses, and so on.
We're getting there, but for now... best light for layup, return for match/contextual grade, export in layers for final treatments and final composite.
"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.
wow, thanks so much guys, thats a lot of really useful information. Based on the complicated nature of the VFX, it may be most useful for us to grade the raw footage and reconnect the media back in AE, it seems like the most useful and effeceint way of working, especially since the grader is working for free and won't have time to go back and forth with the footage.