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Linear workflow with C4D / AE / PS

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Kim Tayler
Linear workflow with C4D / AE / PS
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:03:43 am

Hey all
I'm only really just waking up to the headache of linear workflow and it's definitely screwed up my usual workflow! I am unsure what the best way of doing it is now:


My project involves taking multipass renders from Cinema 4D into AE, comping them with other assets, and giving it a basic grade.

Is the best thing to do work completely in linear in After Effects? I'm finding this a huge bugbear because I usually work with a variety of different (non linear) media assets when I comp everything together in AE. E.G. textures, other videos, imported PSDs (with curves and other adjustment layers). All these things go screwy when I convert the AE project to linear space.

Especially so with PSDs because I make my reference stills in Photoshop, and my usual tactic of importing the PSD to get the curves doesn't work. I'm finding it very hard to match the original 'look' without basically doing it all again in linear space.

At the moment my workaround is to import all linear c4d renders into AE, composite onto my background, then re-render down to a non-linear file, then start a new project in non-linear space, where I comp any other assets together. It's a bit of a drag, especially in a project where I have dozens of different scenes.

Is this the best way to do it? If you're working in linear space in AE for compositing, is it a good idea to render down to non-linear to do grading/beauty pass? Or is it possible to do everything in AE, in linear mode?

Banging my head on the desk... any help would be appreciated!


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Walter Soyka
Re: Linear workflow with C4D / AE / PS
on Aug 13, 2014 at 7:08:01 pm

[Kim Tayler] "Is this the best way to do it? If you're working in linear space in AE for compositing, is it a good idea to render down to non-linear to do grading/beauty pass? Or is it possible to do everything in AE, in linear mode?"

It is possible to stay linear the whole way through, but grading tools clearly behave differently in linear versus gamma-encoded spaces.

Personally, I now prefer to do my look-dev work in Ae over Ps, as I prefer Ae's parametric workflow for experimentation.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Kim Taylor
Re: Linear workflow with C4D / AE / PS
on Aug 13, 2014 at 8:05:37 pm

Yes, starting to agree it's making more sense to do that kind of visual thing in AE instead of shifting to and fro from PS.

Do you always work in linear mode then? And then only de-gamma right at the end? I just find it impossible to work in this mode given how it behaves:

• Ramps (gradients) don't appear a smooth white-black, they are heavily biased to the white. I use ramps a lot and it's problematic.

• Things like curves, levels and other colour-correction fx are uber-sensitive. Especially in the shadow end.

• Ram preview comes out all posterized. I'm guessing this is a bug looking at the following thread, and it hasn't been fixed since 2009. Pretty annoying.
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/2/962886


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Walter Soyka
Re: Linear workflow with C4D / AE / PS
on Aug 14, 2014 at 12:40:25 am

Many color correction tools are easier to use in gamma-encoded spaces.

If you sandwich such tools in between a Levels effect with gamma 2.2 and a Levels effect with gamma 0.4545, you can keep the non-linear light response you're used to with these tools while preserving the rest of your linear light workflow.

Make sure you're working at 32bpc to avoid destroying your image in the process.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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