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color mangement and grading

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Martin Stacey
color mangement and grading
on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:03:06 pm

Hi,
i've been looking into using a more colour managed, 32bit linear workflow, and there's some stuff i just don't understand.
I've been learning Apple Color, thinking i'd do all my colour corrections in there from now on. But i've just realized that it's not colour managed. I have a wide gamut monitor (which is half the problem i know), which has been calibrated with a spyder 3. The colours from Color to AE are completly different, 'cause Color isn't colour managed. Color is totally over saturated, which i know is a problem with the wide gamut displays, but surely the colour everyone would ideally be using a calibration device on their monitor, which un-colour managed software would ignore.
So which one do i trust? surely i trust AE's colour managed workflow, which means i can't use colour to grade stuff, which seems rediculous.
Also, i was doing a few experiements and when i render 100% solid red out of AE into numerous different formats for colour, the red comes into Color as R 0.79 G 0 B 0.012. Why are the values changing? i assume it's something to do with the codecs, cause depending on which one's i use they change. But surely 100% red, should be 100% red in everything? Should i be turning something on when i render, like 'preserve RGB' (although when i do it just does the same thing).
So just trying to clarify really, that AE is the only program i can trust my colours in, as NUKE isn't colour managed either. So why are people grading stuff in programs that aren't colour managed, like NUKE and Color. Do all these people have a calibrated broadcast monitor that they're previewing it through?
And if everytime i render from AE to Color and back again the RGB values change, then surely that's gonna screw the grade too?
thanks in advance,


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Walter Soyka
Re: color mangement and grading
on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:18:46 pm

[Martin Stacey] "I've been learning Apple Color, thinking i'd do all my colour corrections in there from now on. But i've just realized that it's not colour managed. I have a wide gamut monitor (which is half the problem i know), which has been calibrated with a spyder 3. The colours from Color to AE are completly different, 'cause Color isn't colour managed. Color is totally over saturated, which i know is a problem with the wide gamut displays, but surely the colour everyone would ideally be using a calibration device on their monitor, which un-colour managed software would ignore"

Color is meant to be used with a video I/O card (like an AJA Kona) and a calibrated broadcast monitor (not a Spyder-calibrated computer monitor). This comes up all the time in the Apple Color forum -- you can read a lot more on it there.

There's also a recent thread featuring a gentleman who is selling a ColorSync profile which he claims displays video on a secondary display accurately. I've never tried it, and it was met with some skepticism, but it might work reasonably well.


[Martin Stacey] "Also, i was doing a few experiements and when i render 100% solid red out of AE into numerous different formats for colour, the red comes into Color as R 0.79 G 0 B 0.012. Why are the values changing? i assume it's something to do with the codecs, cause depending on which one's i use they change. But surely 100% red, should be 100% red in everything?"

Different color profiles use different RGB values to represent the same colors. That's what color management is for -- to keep the color visually consistent, even if the numerical RGB values vary from one profile to another.

Additionally, you have may RGB/YUV color space gamut issues to take into account.


[Martin Stacey] "Should i be turning something on when i render, like 'preserve RGB' (although when i do it just does the same thing). "

Using Preserve RGB is like turning color management off entirely.


[Martin Stacey] "So just trying to clarify really, that AE is the only program i can trust my colours in, as NUKE isn't colour managed either. So why are people grading stuff in programs that aren't colour managed, like NUKE and Color. Do all these people have a calibrated broadcast monitor that they're previewing it through?"

It may depend on what your ultimate deliverable is, but I only use my broadcast monitor for critical evaluation, whether in FCP, Color, DaVinci, or After Effects.


Have you seen the Adobe white paper on color management workflows?

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/aftereffects/articles/color_management_workflow...

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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Martin Stacey
Re: color mangement and grading
on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:24:03 pm

Cool, thanks for clearing all that up. Back to colorista II for me then!

Yeah, the preserve RGB thing seemed only right thou, when i was trying to get 100% red out of AE and into Color. I've tried everything, and just can't get anything from AE to Color without the RGB values changing.

thanks again.


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Walter Soyka
Re: color mangement and grading
on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:32:11 pm

[Martin Stacey] "Back to colorista II for me then!"

Colorista II rocks. I'm a huge fan. You might also check out Scopo Gigio or Test Gear to get some scopes in AE.

[Martin Stacey] "I've tried everything, and just can't get anything from AE to Color without the RGB values changing."

The whole point of color management is transform the RGB numbers from one profile to the appropriate (and possibly different!) RGB numbers for another profile in order to keep the color looking the same (assuming they are in-gamut in both profiles).

Check out the white paper I linked to -- it includes some practical, real-world scenarios you can learn from.

Good luck with your project!

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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Chris Wright
Re: color mangement and grading
on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:35:08 pm

"'preserve RGB" disables color management for that specific clip.

a free way is you can simply output from a color managed program the exact same color management that your monitor is set at(read your OS docs on that), for example, AE's utility-color profile converter at HDTV .709. It's called a dead man's color switch, cuz it's burned in. Also, some codecs are hard coded for 16-235 pixels instead of 0-255. People build LUT's for Nuke, Color, and Color Finesse anyways.

You can buy the LUT builders here. google for more(there's like 100)
http://www.cine-tal.com/products/cinespace.asp
http://www.lightillusion.com/cubebuilder.htm

http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Martin Stacey
Re: color mangement and grading
on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:39:42 pm

Right, so would be people always be using custom LUTs with Color and Nuke?
I'm still not really sure i understand a LUT. is it simular to an adjustment layer with curves on it?
so they would have one made for their monitor?
Sorry, also are you saying that AE's colour management isn't good, cause it burns in the look?


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Chris Wright
Re: color mangement and grading
on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:59:37 pm

LUT's are built so many different ways, I can't even name them all.
For instance, calibration LUTs built for a specific system can be cloned and used in any other system to provide environment wide calibration for multiple systems. Some are hardware, some are software, some are custom, some are cloned.

You'll have to decide what you can afford. The 3D ones are the best but cost the most. AE's colour management is fine. It only burns in the look if you use color profile converter.

Usually, the output module writes metadata to the file so another application can interpret the color, but if you burn it in with color profile converter, you'll get the same look even if the application doesn't read metadata because the colors have been literally shifted. Does that make sense?

http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Martin Stacey
Re: color mangement and grading
on Dec 15, 2010 at 11:09:47 pm

Yeah, i think i get it.
I am right in thinking, it would be better if after effects used LUTs instead of ICC profiles? or are ICC profiles just LUTs? what's the difference?
And if so, can i use the profile that my calibration device created in Color? I've found a way to do it in NUKE, but it seemed very elaborate.


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Todd Kopriva
Re: color mangement and grading
on Dec 16, 2010 at 4:19:01 am

> or are ICC profiles just LUTs? what's the difference?


They're different ways of doing the same thing.

After Effects CS5 offers both. We find that most folks use the ICC profile approach, but we offer an effect that uses color LUTs to enable other folks.

With ICC profiles, you say what your source and destination color spaces are, and you let the color management system convert between them. With LUTs, you provide the conversion yourself.

Color LUTs can be used for color management _or_ color grading/correction. These are _very_ different things. ICC profiles are just for color management.

Personally, I greatly prefer ICC profiles for color management.

(BTW, I am one of the two authors of the aforementioned white paper, so I'm glad to see that Walter approves of it.)

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


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Martin Stacey
Re: color mangement and grading
on Dec 16, 2010 at 10:44:31 am

Ah thanks, that's really helpful! i'm getting there!
So if you were to use a LUT for colour correction/grading, in theory this would be like using an adjustment layer with curves on it in AE? it's basically the same thing going on, except LUTs are a universal system that can be used in more than one program, yes?


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Todd Kopriva
Re: color mangement and grading
on Dec 16, 2010 at 5:06:31 pm

> So if you were to use a LUT for colour correction/grading, in theory this would be like using an adjustment layer with curves on it in AE? it's basically the same thing going on, except LUTs are a universal system that can be used in more than one program, yes?


That's a pretty good way of thinking about it.

One of the main reasons that we added LUT support in After Effects CS5 was so that people could use the same things in After Effects that they were using in other programs.

BTW, here's a video tutorial that I just recorded on color management.

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


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Phil Huizen
Re: color mangement and grading
on Jun 5, 2011 at 7:38:10 pm

Okay I've been looking all over to get an answer to this question: if I apply LUT to footage which would completely crush the blacks and midtones and after that i would lift the shadows in After Effect, would I get the detail back or not?


I can't find another way of explaining my question.. Thanks ALOT!!!!


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Michael Szalapski
Re: color mangement and grading
on Dec 16, 2010 at 3:27:57 pm

You've been getting lots of good advice and answers. I figured I'd add this in for you and others who find this thread in the future: there's an interesting AE color managment tutorial here: http://library.creativecow.net/articles/devis_andrew/Assigning-colour-profi...

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Steve Shaw
Re: color mangement and grading
on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:26:11 pm

This may help - SpaceMan ICC - it converts 3DLUT into ICC profiles.

It's been used by some rather large post houses on recent film projects, including 'Potter'.

See: http://www.lightillusion.com/spaceman.htm if interested.

And happy to answer any questions.


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