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After Effects Messes Colors Up When Using Two Monitors

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Daniel SchmidtAfter Effects Messes Colors Up When Using Two Monitors
by on Mar 5, 2011 at 11:07:26 pm

I do a lot of color grading for YouTube videos in After Effects. One of my displays is an NEC wide gamut monitor (which I use mainly for photography work), the other one is a normal Apple Cinema display. The wide gamut monitor is pretty much useless for video work (as opposed to photography) since it leads to funky colors, that's why - for video - I use the Apple Cinema Display. But there seems to be a very irritating bug in After Effects that appears to be related to a mishandling of monitor profiles: When I start After Effects up while the wide gamut monitor is the main monitor (the one which has the system menu bar on top) the colors are messed up on both displays! Even when I have my footage/composition window on the Cinema Display the colors are freaky like on the wide gamut NEC. When I make the Cinema Display the main display before starting After Effects up, the colors look right.

So I guess, After Effects is unable to handle two monitors correctly. It seems to only look at the profile of the main monitor and also apply that to the secondary monitor (erroneously).

Does anybody know of a way to solve this? If not, consider this a head-up.

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Jon BaggeRe: After Effects Messes Colors Up When Using Two Monitors
by on Mar 5, 2011 at 11:39:30 pm

Have you tried View -> Simulate Output, and set the profile to the correct one for the wide gamut monitor?
There is also a 'display colour management' (or something similar) you can turn on just next to the Simulate Output submenu.

Also you almost certainly have to use colour management for this to work. (which you should be doing anyway)

In addition to After Effects handling colour, your graphics card will also have a colour management system. Your card should be able to handle a different colour management on different monitors.
Mine does anyway (FX3800), but I also use Spyder calibration, which will calibrate each monitor seperately.

Jon Bagge - Editor - London, UK
Avid - FCP - After Effects

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Daniel SchmidtRe: After Effects Messes Colors Up When Using Two Monitors
by on Mar 7, 2011 at 11:45:40 am

I have found that I get the most accurate color by turning color management off in After Effects (when grading for the web). Still, turning it on does not resolve this bug.

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