I'm a VFX artist and I have worked on many projects that incorporate CGI/visual effects and a grade. Sadly all of these projects have been rushed, and the grade and visual effects have been produced simultaneously. I imagine in an ideal world one comes before the other - either the colourist grades both the footage and the VFX, or the grade is completed and the VFX artist matches his palette to the grade.
My question is this: What normally comes first - The visual effects or the grade? Or does it vary from project to project?
Any information or personal experience you can share would be gratefully appreciated,
The general practice is for the grade to start without the VFX shots, the look of the film is established and then as VFX shots arrive they are incorporated into the timeline so that the colourist can blend them in to the already established look, it's a patchwork quilt of an operation. This does vary from project to project depending on many factors such as the length of the film, budget and time constraints and the supply of VFX shots from different sources.
Hope this helps,