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AE Color management settings?

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Phil HuizenAE Color management settings?
by on Jun 10, 2011 at 9:11:56 pm

Hi,
I've been reading up about this subject, but couldn't find clear answers. So I will give you some examples of how I think it works and then you say it does or not..

I shoot video in sRGB, import it into AE and then go to project settings and turn working space into Adobe RGB 1998 instead of 'None' (on a side-note, does None mean it uses sRGB?). Then I go to my clip and select interpret footage --> sRGB. Then immediately I export using Module Color management output to sRGB. Should my final output file now just be the same looking as the original?

Second example, I shoot Adobe RGB 1998, I interpret in AE the footage as adobe RGB 1998 (because the profile is not tagged on), and set the working space to Adobe RGB 1998 as well and export again as sRGB. Would this final output be displayed as wanted?

Final question: which would give the best colors? the first or second example (shooting aRGB or sRGB)?

Can somebody clear this up please?! Thanks ALOT!

Phil Huizen


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Walter SoykaRe: AE Color management settings?
by on Jun 10, 2011 at 9:38:44 pm

The problem that color management is meant to solve is that different devices or color profiles may use the same RGB numbers to represent different colors. For example, a specific RGB value in Adobe RGB may look different on-screen than it does in Rec. 709, and Adobe RGB and Rec. 709 may use different RGB numbers to represent the same color.

In other words, the goal of color management is to keep the appearance of color consistent across profiles and devices.

Color management in AE accomplishes this by defining how the color is coming in (by interpreting your footage with the correct profile), converting everything to the common working space, and converting the working space to the output target color profile as necessary on output, or to your display profile as you work.

If you haven't read it already, check out Adobe's white paper on color management [link].

[Phil Huizen] "I shoot video in sRGB, import it into AE and then go to project settings and turn working space into Adobe RGB 1998 instead of 'None' ... Then I go to my clip and select interpret footage --> sRGB. Then immediately I export using Module Color management output to sRGB. Should my final output file now just be the same looking as the original?"

Yes.


[Phil Huizen] "Second example, I shoot Adobe RGB 1998, I interpret in AE the footage as adobe RGB 1998 (because the profile is not tagged on), and set the working space to Adobe RGB 1998 as well and export again as sRGB. Would this final output be displayed as wanted?"

Yes.

In both cases, what matters the most is that you've enabled color management, correctly interpreted your imported footage, and output to a profile that the display or next app expects or supports.

The working space doesn't matter nearly as much -- provided it is large enough to contain the imported colors. You'd probably lose color if you interpreted in Adobe RGB, worked in NTSC SD, and output in Adobe RGB, for example.


[Phil Huizen] "(on a side-note, does None mean it uses sRGB?)"

No. Using a working space of "None" means that color management is disabled, and AE will make no attempt to keep the appearance of color consistent.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Todd KoprivaRe: AE Color management settings?
by on Jun 10, 2011 at 10:14:38 pm

Walter has given you good answers, including pointing you to our white paper on the subject.

Here's a short video that gives an overview of the basics, made by one of the co-authors of that paper (me).

There's much more information on this page and the resources that it points to.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Phil HuizenRe: AE Color management settings?
by on Jun 10, 2011 at 10:35:54 pm

Thank you for this answer, it's the best I ever received :). But is it wisely to shoot Adobe RGB 1998 (and edit like example 2) because color rendition is better captured than with sRGB?


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Walter SoykaRe: AE Color management settings?
by on Jun 11, 2011 at 12:05:58 am

[Phil Huizen] "Thank you for this answer, it's the best I ever received :)"

You're welcome!


[Phil Huizen] "But is it wisely to shoot Adobe RGB 1998 (and edit like example 2) because color rendition is better captured than with sRGB?"

I'm hesitant to offer advice on acquisition -- it's not my forte. Maybe you could do a couple test shots to see for yourself what the difference would be?

I will say that Adobe RGB 1998 is a larger space than sRGB. If you do choose to shoot Adobe RGB 1998, color management will become more important. Since most applications or devices will expect Rec. 709 (or maybe sRGB), it's likely that an unmanaged Adobe RGB 1998 asset would be misinterpreted and would not display as intended.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Phil HuizenRe: AE Color management settings?
by on Jun 11, 2011 at 6:40:08 am

Ok thanks and do you have any idea if a video looks better when delivering in sRGB (no other choice on the web) when shooting Adobe RGB 1998? I thought like this: it is possible to convert from Adobe RGB to sRGB without quality loss because the color spectrum is larger, so the best is to shoot in Adobe RGB and throw away information myself. I thought Photoshop would prevent clipping etc so the outcome will look better?


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Walter SoykaRe: AE Color management settings?
by on Jun 12, 2011 at 12:26:39 am

I'm assuming you're shooting with a Canon DSLR?

[Phil Huizen] "Ok thanks and do you have any idea if a video looks better when delivering in sRGB (no other choice on the web) when shooting Adobe RGB 1998?"

Shane Hurlbut, ASC says that "Adobe RGB gives you the best skin tones" out of the Canon 5D:

http://www.hdslrhub.bhphoto.com/


But perhaps since I'm not a cinematographer, I prefer more flexibility with the look in post. I find the Technicolor CineStyle [link] far more interesting.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Phil HuizenRe: AE Color management settings?
by on Jun 14, 2011 at 10:32:53 am

Thanks for your response, yes I know about CineStyle and I'm already using it but I didn't know, until yesterday, how it worked (putting the rec709 into a log colorspace). So I guess setting it either Adobe RGB 1998 or sRGB doesn't matter anymore when using CineStyle?


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Walter SoykaRe: AE Color management settings?
by on Jun 16, 2011 at 5:28:04 pm

[Phil Huizen] "Thanks for your response, yes I know about CineStyle and I'm already using it but I didn't know, until yesterday, how it worked (putting the rec709 into a log colorspace). So I guess setting it either Adobe RGB 1998 or sRGB doesn't matter anymore when using CineStyle?"

Sorry, Phil, I don't know the answer. If I were in your shoes, I'd try to shoot a couple tests to see the difference for myself.

Good luck with your production!

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Phil HuizenRe: AE Color management settings?
by on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:27:39 pm

Ok, thanks anyway for your answers!


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Andrew SomersRe: AE Color management settings?
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 2:19:38 am

While this thread is a little old, I'd like to add my two cents as it seems to come up in a lot of google searches.

Phil Huizen wrote:
Final question: which would give the best colors? the first or second example (shooting aRGB or sRGB)?



RANT:

First off, I'd like to mention that there is no such thing as aRGB. There is sRGB, and there is Adobe RGB (among others), but Adobe RGB should never be written as aRGB.

For one thing there is obvious potential confusion (not to mention typos) relative to sRGB, not even mentioning that "Adobe" is a proper brand name and should be capitalized.

"ARGB" is ALSO wrong, as it could lead to confusion with RGBA (red/green/blue/alpha), but WORSE, Windows uses ARGB as the method for storing colors in windows (alpha/red/green/blue), but Windows uses sRGB as the target COLORSPACE. ARGB in Windows is NOT a color space.

So you see, when you use aRGB, you are ambiguous and will create confusion.

Adobe RGB can be referred to as "Adobe 98" or "Adobe RGB". But never aRGB.



ADVICE:


I'm not sure what you are going to be using AE for specifically, but for compositing and most effects I prefer working in 32 bit mode with a linearized color space. When you do, additive operations act like light int he real world, and come across as more natural.

When you are using 32 bit mode in AE, you can use pretty much any colorspace you want to as a working space. 8 bit mode is *not* recommended.


As for camera and export colorspaces:

With dSLRs you are going to be creating 8 bit compressed camera originals. 8 Bits means that you will have 256 levels of red, 256 levels of green and 256 levels of blue. This is regardless of if you are in Adobe RGB or sRGB.

The difference between sRGB and Adobe RGB is the *distance between colors*. If you increase the distance between colors, you are actually increasing the potential errors (i.e. delta E errors). Since Adobe RGB is larger than sRGB, the distance between colors is greater.

The reason for using a larger colorspace is when the smaller colorspace is clipping colors. But when you are in 8 Bit, the larger color space will as a consequence be more prone to *banding*.



The standard for HDTV is Rec709, and Rec 709 and sRGB share the same primaries, and thus have very close to the same gamut size (the difference between Rec709 and sRGB is in the gamma curve).




If your final output is for HD, at Rec709, then you may not derive any real benefit from shooting in a larger space like AdobeRGB - in fact you may find additional *problems* due to delta E types of errors.

Instead of using AdobeRGB to shoot, consider using sRGB, and set the contrast LOW and also possibly reduce the saturation slightly so that you get no clipping of colors, but then you will have an image that can be "expanded" back to a higher contrast one, retaining more detail in blacks, and with less clipping on highlights and saturated colors.

Obv., tests should be done with your intended subject matter to find the right workflow along these lines.


*Also* if you are using a Canon dSLR, go to the Technicolor website and look at the CineStyle picture profile:


http://www.technicolor.com/en/hi/theatrical/visual-post-production/digital-...


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Andrew SomersRe: AE Color management settings?
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 2:28:48 am

While this thread is a little old, I'd like to add my two cents as it seems to come up in a lot of google searches.

RANT:

First off, I'd like to mention that there is no such thing as aRGB. There is s RGB, and there is AdobeRGB, but Adobe RGB should never be written as aRGB.

Among other things there is obvious potential confusion (not to mention typos) relative to sRGB, not even mentioning that "Adobe" is a proper brand name and should be capitalized.

"ARGB" is ALSO wrong, as it could lead to confusion with RGBA (red/green/blue/alpha), but WORSE, Windows uses ARGB as the method for storing colors in windows (alpha/red/green/blue), but Windows uses sRGB as the target COLORSPACE. ARGB in Windows is NOT a color space.

So you see, when you use aRGB, you are ambiguous and will create confusion.

Adobe RGB can be referred to as "Adobe 98" or "Adobe RGB". I suppose if you really must desperately conserve characters because your fingers are too tired to type out all 9 characters, you could type "AdbRGB". But never aRGB. End of my rant.



ADVICE:


I'm not sure what AE for, but for compositing and most effects I prefer working in 32 bit mode with a linearized color space. When you do, additive operations act like light int he real world, and come across as more natural.

When you are using 32 bit mode in AE, you can use pretty much any colorspace you want to as a working space. 8 bit mode is *not* recommended.


As for camera and export colorspaces:

With dSLRs you are going to be creating 8 bit compressed camera originals. 8 Bits means that you will have 256 levels of red, 256 levels of green and 256 levels of blue. This is regardless of if you are in Adobe RGB or sRGB.

The difference between sRGB and Adobe RGB is the *distance between colors*. If you increase the distance between colors, you are actually increasing the potential errors (i.e. delta E errors). Since Adobe RGB is larger than sRGB, the distance between colors is greater.

The reason for using a larger colorspace is when the smaller colorspace is clipping colors. But when you are in 8 Bit, the larger color space will as a consequence be more prone to *banding*.



The standard for HDTV is Rec709, and Rec 709 and sRGB share the same primaries, and thus have very close to the same gamut size (the difference between Rec709 and sRGB is in the gamma curve).




If your final output is for HD, at Rec709, then you may not derive any real benefit from shooting in a larger space like AdobeRGB - in fact you may find additional *problems* due to delta E types of errors.

Instead of using AdobeRGB to shoot, consider using sRGB, and set the contrast LOW and also possibly reduce the saturation slightly so that you get no clipping of colors, but then you will have an image that can be "expanded" back to a higher contrast one, retaining more detail in blacks, and with less clipping on highlights and saturated colors.

Obv., tests should be done with your intended subject matter to find the right workflow along these lines. Note that if you are going out to actual FILM, or DCI, then Adobe RGB *may* be a better choice (but not necessarily).


As a "rule", use the smallest colorspace that does not result in clipping, i.e. "out of gamut" errors. If you do not get out of gamut errors (clipping) in sRGB, then you will gain no benefit from using Adobe RGB.



*Also* if you are using a Canon dSLR, go to the Technicolor website and look at the CineStyle picture profile:


http://www.technicolor.com/en/hi/theatrical/visual-post-production/digital-...


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