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color space and color grading

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Enginn Heimacolor space and color grading
by on Jun 25, 2012 at 5:38:57 pm

I'm a bit confused and I'd appreciate if I could get some guidance :)

- I'm color grading a documentary destined for TV broadcast.

- I'm working on a HP LP2475w monitor and I've tweaked it with the Spyder4 from Datacolor.

- I'm working on a Macbook pro on After Effects CS5.5 and I'm feeding my external monitor DVI-I in directly via the Macbook's display output.

- My final renders are 16bit/.mov/Apple ProRes 422

Now, I'm trying to figure out which color space to use and I can't seem to get my head around it!

1. If I use the monitor profile as my working space I created with the Spyder I run into color and contrast mismatch when switching from After Effects to Color Finesse. And my final render, the .mov file doesn't match anything when played in quicktime player.

2. If I use "None" in working space, there is total consistency between color finesse and after effects. But my final renders are a bit washed out when I watch the .mov file in Quicktime player. This makes sense since I'm watching them with the color profile of my HP I created, but I thought that keeping the color space to "none", after effects was to use your default color space, which in my case is my HP monitor custom color space.

3. If I use the HDTV (Rec709) color space, I actually keep the most consistency, between Color Finesse and After effects there are no problems, and there is only a ever so slight color shift in the rendered file but the contrasts feel the same.


If anyone could help my with my problem, that would be most appreciated.

Best regards.


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Walter SoykaRe: color space and color grading
by on Jun 26, 2012 at 1:36:00 pm

AE's color management brings in images and movies, converts them from their native color profiles into the working space, then optionally converts from the working space to an output profile for previews (using your monitor profile) and renders (using the output profile specified in the item's output module).

Delivering for HD, your output space for render ought to be Rec. 709. Since AE defaults to using the working space as the output profile, you may as well set the working space to Rec. 709.

When you set the working space to none, you are turning off color management in AE.

Technically, it doesn't matter which other working space you choose, so long as the space is large enough to handle the gamut of the output space without clipping, or so long as you're using 32bpc, if you remember to also correctly set the output profile in the render queue item's output module's color management settings.

In practice, with a single deliverable format, just use its native color profile as your working space (Rec. 709 for HD, in this case) to avoid this added complexity.

QuickTime Player is only quasi-color managed, so unfortunately you cannot expect consistent results with it. AE is fully color managed, so using it with a well-profiled monitor should give good and consistent results.

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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Enginn HeimaRe: color space and color grading
by on Jun 26, 2012 at 2:46:33 pm

Thank you Walter for your thorough answer.

I have one more question for you, and it's regarding the rec709 profile. When I switch to rec709 from "none" my RAM previews won't play back as they should. They stutter, so to speak, and don't pick up speed whereas with my color profile set to "none" I don't have this problem. Do you have an idea what could be causing this?

Regards.


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Walter SoykaRe: color space and color grading
by on Jun 26, 2012 at 3:38:40 pm

Color management requires additional processing during RAM preview, because Ae must transform from the working space to the display's profile for preview, although many computers can do this in real time.

You can adjust the quality (and speed) of this transform in Preferences > Previews > Viewer Quality > Color Management Quality. There's an option called "More Accurate Except RAM Preview" that will give you high quality transforms while working in the comp window and better performance for RAM preview.

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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Enginn HeimaRe: color space and color grading
by on Jun 26, 2012 at 4:37:52 pm

Thanks again!

It´s a shame, the option "More Accurate Except RAM Preview" was already enabled. I guess 8gb RAM just isn´t enough for that matter.

Regards.


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Walter SoykaRe: color space and color grading
by on Jun 26, 2012 at 5:45:57 pm

Are you using the Digital Cinema Desktop preview? If so, try unchecking Preferences > Video Preview > Mirror on Computer Monitor.

Alternately, tear the comp viewer panel off and drag it to the second monitor. Press Cmd- to make it full-screen. You'll lose a bit of real-estate to window chrome, but it might run RAM preview better.

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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Enginn HeimaRe: color space and color grading
by on Jun 26, 2012 at 9:10:55 pm

Thanks again Walter.

But I'm still having my RAM problems. Doesn't hurt that much though.

Another thing, I'm noticing slight gamma shift between ColorFinesse and AE while I'm using the REC.709 color space whereas when I have it set to none there is absolutely no shift between the two.

Might it be that the ColorFinesse isn't using the REC.709 color space?


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Walter SoykaRe: color space and color grading
by on Jun 26, 2012 at 9:29:47 pm

[Enginn Heima] "Another thing, I'm noticing slight gamma shift between ColorFinesse and AE while I'm using the REC.709 color space whereas when I have it set to none there is absolutely no shift between the two."

Yes -- ironically, Color Finesse is not color-managed. However, we can correct the gamma with a LUT. Get LUT Buddy [link] and apply it to a solid. Set it to Draw Pattern. Add a Color Profile Converter effect above LUT Buddy and convert from the working space (Rec. 709) to the display's profile. Add another LUT Buddy above both the converter and the first LUT Buddy and set it to Read Pattern. Finally, click options, set the LUT type to 1D, and Export LUT as an Autodesk LUT (I think). Back in ColorFinesse, View > Primary Preview LUT > Other... and select the file you just wrote out.

(This is somewhat off the cuff, so please report back if it doesn't work properly.)

Alternately, skip the full UI and use the simplified UI, which will show you the color-managed comp window instead of the non-color-managed Synthetic Aperture app window.

Personally, for grading within AE, I prefer Colorista II which uses the standard AE interface and doesn't have this issue, but it doens't offer the same toolset as CF.

That said, grading outside of AE is even better, as you can use a purpose-built tool. Resolve Lite is free, but you need BMD hardware and a broadcast monitor to really benefit.

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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Enginn HeimaRe: color space and color grading
by on Jun 27, 2012 at 6:53:14 pm

Thank you once again Walter.


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Sanjin ŠvajgerRe: color space and color grading
by on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:12:21 pm

Hi! Old thread I know...:) But I'm kinda at exactly the same point that the OP was 5 months ago.
I have the same monitor and am also going to grade a show for TV with AE (CS6). But unlike the OP my monitor needs another calibration. So my question goes: how do I calibrate my monitor? I'll be using a similiar device as the OP. Do I calibrate to an sRGB colour space and gamma or do I calibrate to an REC709 (if this will be possible..). THX!


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Walter SoykaRe: color space and color grading
by on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:30:23 pm

[Sanjin Švajger] "So my question goes: how do I calibrate my monitor? I'll be using a similiar device as the OP. Do I calibrate to an sRGB colour space and gamma or do I calibrate to an REC709 (if this will be possible..). THX!"

With Ae, you don't aim to calibrate your monitor to match a specific standard. You profile your monitor -- that is, measure its output from specific color signal inputs -- so that color-managed software knows how the monitor responds. The color management system will then translate colors from the working space in Ae to the display space of your specific monitor for accurate display (subject to the limitations of your monitor itself and the device used to build the profile).

I use and recommend the i1 Display Pro.

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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Sanjin ŠvajgerRe: color space and color grading
by on Dec 13, 2012 at 6:02:15 pm

Okey, I get it. I just calibrate my monitor so that it shows the correct image. Then in AE I set my project to REC709 and when rendering out I also set project management to rec709 and that's it. Right?:)


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Walter SoykaRe: color space and color grading
by on Dec 13, 2012 at 6:42:37 pm

[Sanjin Švajger] "Okey, I get it. I just calibrate my monitor so that it shows the correct image. Then in AE I set my project to REC709 and when rendering out I also set project management to rec709 and that's it. Right?:)"

Almost. You PROFILE the monitor so that Ae's color management system knows what it has to do to the image (for display purposes only) to make it look on your specific monitor as it would look on an ideal Rec. 709 monitor.

The idea is not to make your monitor match Rec. 709; the idea is to figure out how to display colors so they appear to be the same on your monitor as they would appear on a Rec. 709 monitor (even though these may have different actual RGB values).

So profile, set the working space to Rec. 709, use Display Color Management, and you're good to go.

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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Sanjin ŠvajgerRe: color space and color grading
by on Dec 13, 2012 at 8:54:50 pm

Okey, great! So just to be clear the image in AE will look the same as it will when it's going to be broadcasted? I mean...am I going to survive without an I/O and a broadcast monitor? :)

There's also the ting with the luma levels. I'll be exporting or linking actually (using automatic duck) from Media composer 6 to AE6 DVCproHD material. That's Y'CbCr material 16-235 and I think it has super whites... Is there maybe a new document about how AE handles luma levels? I've got a rather nice document (haven't read it yet though...) from CS4.


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Walter SoykaRe: color space and color grading
by on Dec 14, 2012 at 4:19:45 pm

[Sanjin Švajger] "So just to be clear the image in AE will look the same as it will when it's going to be broadcasted? I mean...am I going to survive without an I/O and a broadcast monitor? :)"

Your color will be as accurate as your display and probe allow.
Some caveats still apply: you still need a nice display that's actually capable of reproducing the Rec. 709 gamut. If the monitor cannot physically produce a specific color, there's no way to profile around that.

You will also not be able to evaluate interlacing with a computer monitor.


[Sanjin Švajger] "There's also the ting with the luma levels. I'll be exporting or linking actually (using automatic duck) from Media composer 6 to AE6 DVCproHD material. That's Y'CbCr material 16-235 and I think it has super whites... Is there maybe a new document about how AE handles luma levels? I've got a rather nice document (haven't read it yet though...) from CS4."

You have some control over how Adobe handles video range and full range (via the Rec 709 and Rec 709 16-235 profiles). Be sure to work in 32bpc to preserve superwhites and render with AME. See Darby Edelen's post here:

http://forums.adobe.com/message/4808084

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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Sanjin ŠvajgerRe: color space and color grading
by on Dec 14, 2012 at 5:42:56 pm

Okey, I'll check that thread out. Looks like there's some learning ahead for me:)
Thanks for the help so far!:)


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Sanjin ŠvajgerRe: color space and color grading
by on Dec 16, 2012 at 10:03:39 am

Walter do you know maybe what gamma AE uses in rec709? 2.22 or 2.35 or 2.5?


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Walter SoykaRe: color space and color grading
by on Dec 17, 2012 at 3:35:11 pm

[Sanjin Švajger] "Walter do you know maybe what gamma AE uses in rec709? 2.22 or 2.35 or 2.5?"

Rec. 709 is scene-referred, not output-referred, so its own gamma makes an assumption about the display system's gamma. When these two gamma adjustments have been made, you'll get the effective gamma for the system as a whole. I don't know which precise value for this total gamma Ae is targeting -- and to make matters worse, there is no standard here that I am aware of.

That said, I think you could design a test that would show you what this gamma value is. I'm curious what you would do with this number if you had it.

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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Sanjin ŠvajgerRe: color space and color grading
by on Dec 18, 2012 at 1:11:11 pm

AE adjusts the image accordingly to the ICC profile, I get that yes. My screen is 2.3 so if my broadcaster uses 2.5 I should actually calibrate my screen to 2.5 is that it? I just basically want to see what the material is going to look like when broadcasted...


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