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Colors from Photoshop, After Effects, Motion brighter in FCP

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Jamie deRooy
Colors from Photoshop, After Effects, Motion brighter in FCP
on Jan 3, 2013 at 6:17:25 pm

Hey All,

First time and question here. Read something similar, but was hoping for an answer for my experience.

I've made a background in Photoshop, After Effects and Motion for a Green Screen shoot where the client has requested their (pretty basic, one color, like a brown/goldish) and had been given RGB numbers for a blue background.

From each application, things look good. When imported into an FCP sequence (prores, 1920/1080, 23.98), the background looks quite a bit brighter. They've mentioned the color not matching on the logo for the test file and on this one, I've used the 3-way color corrector to drop the levels a bit, trying to eyeball the level to match.

Being that they've mentioned the colors before, I have a feeling they'll be looking at it quite closely this time around.

I've tried exporting jpegs, tiffs, pngs, targa images, all with the same result.

Thanks for your help!

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Rafael Amador
Re: Colors from Photoshop, After Effects, Motion brighter in FCP
on Jan 4, 2013 at 5:40:58 am

When importing graphics to FC, you can manage the Gamma of those files.
Left-click the file on FCs Browser and open the "Items Properties". Try Gamma 2.2
Remember that changes in the Browser do not affects the stuff that is already on the sequence.
After changing the Gamma, you must drag de graphic again to the time-line.

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Jamie deRooy
Re: Colors from Photoshop, After Effects, Motion brighter in FCP
on Jan 4, 2013 at 2:09:34 pm

Thanks for this, I followed your direction and saw that there was a change when I did this. First time (that I know of) encountering this issue. Do you know a common cause for this kind of thing? Thanks again!

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Rafael Amador
Re: Colors from Photoshop, After Effects, Motion brighter in FCP
on Jan 5, 2013 at 9:57:16 am

Jaimie, the "Gamma world' is a can of worms that i have never fully understood.
Pictures are made of pixels that are values of RGB (or YUV), but depending on the system/screen and the application that you use to display them, can vary a lot.
The problem is that color management/consistency techniques where reserved for the print industry and high end graphic and film industry, and now that we can create and integrate graphics and video on cheap system with affordable applications, we find a lot of potholes.
There are many factors that can lead to this kind of problems, from the MacOsX system that you may be using (Apple changed the screen native gamma from 1.8 to 2,2 since Snow leopard), passing by the codec you are shooting with (now some acquisitions codecs have embed gamma info), to the color profile you are using to create or export your graphics in Photoshop or AE.
FC never had any kind of color management option because was created in a time when this was not an issue. This gamma "interpretation" option was added with FC.7. But now there is a general trend to get a better color management, and modern applications (last versions of AE, FCPX,..) allows to keep that color consistency.

Anyway, one of the main problems, still being monitoring. You can not trust FC Canvas if you are using Snow Leopard or later.
The Canvas in FC was set to vamp the gamma from 1.8 to 2.2 to mimic the TV/PCs screens gamma (2.2).
So, from Snow Leopard on, that the screen gamma was changed to 2.2, FC keeps making a gamma correction that now is not necessary.
- Solution: Change the screen gamma to 1.8, so the Canvas will show the proper 2.2 gamma.
- Problem: That other applications that do not make the same gamma correction (Photoshop, Motion,..), will display a wrong gamma.

The real and only solution is to use an external pro monitor and forget about what you see in the computer screens.
My only advice, is that if you make graphics on another application, whenever you can, use the sRGB color profile.
That the one that will match with your HD video footage.
As I said, a big mess.

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