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Erik LindahlAdobe CS5 Color Accuracy Issues
by on Aug 30, 2010 at 9:06:28 am

We recently went over to Adobe CS5 (AE / PS primarily) and now have huge color accuracy issues. The workflow that worked fine before is now broken and I'm trying to figure out where the issue lays.

Currently using:
- MacOSX 10.6.4
- Final Cut Studio 3
- Creative Suite 5 (Production Bundel)

Issue
Color accuratcy between apps. If I grab a frame from a QT into PS, it's immediately a lot darker. This was not the case with CS4 / OSX 10.5 / FCS2. If I take the same frame via Preview and then into PS the color remains the same BUT saving the file from PS and then importing to AE the image again becomes a lot darker.

I'm guessing the above is a color profile issue but I can't figure out what's wrong.

I've experienced the same issue on two seperate systems the past few days and it's really getting on my nerve. This is with both SD Animation media and 2K ProRes 4444 media so it's not codec specific either. Any help / pointers to color setting setups is appreciated.

------------------------
Erik Lindahl
Freecloud Post Production Services
http://www.freecloud.se


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Walter SoykaRe: Adobe CS5 Color Accuracy Issues
by on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:46:16 pm

Are you using color management in your project? Are you using it consistently across apps? Can you evaluate the images for gamma shifts on an external video monitor? Have you seen Todd's blog on ProRes and CS5?

I feel your pain -- I have very little confidence in QT's ability to properly preserve gamma across applications. This should be a lot easier than it is.

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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Erik LindahlRe: Adobe CS5 Color Accuracy Issues
by on Aug 30, 2010 at 3:03:03 pm

Well this has been a source of issues before if moving between codecs and moving in and out of YUV to RGB. I get that. But staying with-in the RGB realm things should stay more consistent (if not perfect) in terms of gamma and color shift.

In the past I've primarily used animation based QuickTime's for work in After Effects. Converting 10-bit video to the animation codec in FCP, rendering back to animation from AE importing to the 10-bit time-line has round-trpped perfectly. If exporting select images from these QT-file, doing retouch in PS and also importing this into AE - it's worked perfectly. No gamma shifts, no color shifts, no "well it looks dark in AE but it ACTUALLY looks the same when it all comes out in FCP."

The above was the case with CS3 / CS4, FCS 2 as well as MacOSX 10.4 / 10.5. Now things have changed.. Round-tripping a QT animation file in the above manner seems fine. However, grabbing an image from a QT and importing into PS I directly there get hit by a gamma shift. This I've seen both from SD-PAL 16x9 FHA Animation footage as well as 2K ProRes 4444 footage. Going the route QT Player > Preview > Photoshop let's me DISREGARD the color profile and things actually look as they should in PS. Saving the edited image and importing to AE still introduces a gamma-shift and it doesn't match the original QT at all anymore.

I've in the past just disregarded color profiles and kept to an RGB in / out workflow that's worked fine. I see the shift both on my computer and video monitor (using a Kona 3 for output). For the current project setting the color profile in AE to sRGB seemed to "fix" things but I really don't understand why I get these shifts back and forth.

I had an even odder experience this weekend posting a bunch of 2K footage (ProRes 4444). Comparing the graded footage to the posted footage out of AE they look identical in FCP but in QuickLook or QuickTime player they suffer a HUGE shift in gamma. This isn't a huge problem but very odd and buggy in my opinion..

I've also encountered the interesting 1050x576 vs 1024x576 square pixel 16x9 PAL setting.. Seems QuickTime agrees with Adobe's "new" standard now that I've gone to the latest and greatest in Apple-land as well. Confusing times!

------------------------
Erik Lindahl
Freecloud Post Production Services
http://www.freecloud.se


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Erik LindahlRe: Adobe CS5 Color Accuracy Issues
by on Aug 30, 2010 at 3:04:00 pm

I followed both the CS4 and CS5 blog-entries regarding ProRes and they haven't helped my issues sadly.

------------------------
Erik Lindahl
Freecloud Post Production Services
http://www.freecloud.se


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Walter SoykaRe: Adobe CS5 Color Accuracy Issues
by on Aug 30, 2010 at 3:15:07 pm

Different color spaces use the same RGB numbers to represent different colors.

Try using one color space throughout your apps that represents the final output color space -- SDTV PAL, Rec. 709, etc.

[Erik Lindahl] "I had an even odder experience this weekend posting a bunch of 2K footage (ProRes 4444). Comparing the graded footage to the posted footage out of AE they look identical in FCP but in QuickLook or QuickTime player they suffer a HUGE shift in gamma. This isn't a huge problem but very odd and buggy in my opinion.."

Maddening, isn't it? How do you have the "Final Cut Studio compatibility" switch set in Quicktime Player > Preferences > General?

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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Erik LindahlRe: Adobe CS5 Color Accuracy Issues
by on Aug 30, 2010 at 3:26:53 pm

The issue with using a colorspace in AE is that it bogs down performance. I've also had issues with it actually introducing color shifting rather than preventing it. Do you have any good guide for setting this up properly?

Regarding your second question, yes, ticking on the Final Cut Studio compatibility in QuickTime Player 7 made things look more accurate but there was still a difference. And this only affects viewing in QT7 - not in QTX or QuickLook. The later is a PAIN that it suffers such as massive shift (where things actually look fine in FCP 7). Confusing? Not at all..

Off-topic but round-tripping ProRes 422 media in CS4 wasn't very nice (impossible from my experience). Supposedly that's better now but looking at the above I have my doubts.

------------------------
Erik Lindahl
Freecloud Post Production Services
http://www.freecloud.se


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Walter SoykaRe: Adobe CS5 Color Accuracy Issues
by on Aug 30, 2010 at 6:19:45 pm

Round-tripping ProRes 422 from FCP > AE CS5 > FCP works flawlessly. (If I output Animation from AE, I have to manually set the gamma of the clip to 2.2 in FCP to make it match the ProRes original.)

In AE, just set your working space to whatever your ultimate display's color space will be. For most of my work, I use Rec. 709. As long as AE is interpreting your footage in the correct color space for each item, everything should work beautifully and without any further effort required on your part.

I'm not seeing any difference in render times between color-managed and non-color managed projects.

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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Erik LindahlRe: Adobe CS5 Color Accuracy Issues
by on Aug 30, 2010 at 11:26:35 pm

Rendering speeds are probably the same with a color managed project, redraw performance on-screen however is literally utter crap with it turned on (on that note I still don't get why we can't just have nice, smooth accelerated redraws in 2010 on machines at this day an age).

------------------------
Erik Lindahl
Freecloud Post Production Services
http://www.freecloud.se


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