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OpenColorIO and ACES color management

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After Effects integration with OpenColorIO (OCIO) enables you to work natively with the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) in After Effects.

OpenColorIO (OCIO) is a color management solution used primarily in motion picture production that helps enforce a color management methodology required for high-fidelity color imaging. 

The Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) is a free, open, device-independent color management system that aims to be the filmmaking industry standard for managing color.

After Effects enables the ACES workflow by integrating OCIO as a color management engine.

Specify color management settings

  1. From the Project panel menu, select Project Settings.

  2. On the Project Settings dialog, go to the Color tab.

  3. Under the Color Management section, select the Color Engine as OCIO color managed.

    The Color Engine has the following two options:

    • Adobe color managed: This is the default Adobe color management engine, which uses ICC profiles.
    • OCIO color managed: This mode uses OpenColorIO (OCIO) for color processing and is recommended when you need to work with the ACES workflow.
  4. Use the OCIO Config dropdown and select the OCIO configuration. You can also use the Custom OCIO Config to add a custom configuration.

    Custom OCIO Config to add a custom configuration
    If you want to add a custom configuration, use the Custom OCIO Config option.

  5. Select a Working Color Space to set the composition color space.

    Working Color Space options
    Working Color Space options

  6. Select a Display Color Space to set the default display transform of the viewport for the project.

    Display Color Space options
    Display Color Space options

Specify media color input in the Project Panel

The Media Color Space is automatically assigned to the default set in the OCIO Configuration under Project Settings. To override, right-click the footage > Interpret Footage > MainColor > Override Media Color Space.

Specify your color while creating a composition

The Composition panel displays colors converted from the working color space to the display color space.

To change the display color space, choose a color space from the Display Color Space menu at the bottom of the Composition panel.

Display Color Space menu in the Composition panel
Display Color Space menu in the Composition panel

Note:

The Display Color Space menu only appears when the project is set to use OCIO color management.

Specify color output in the Render Queue

After adding the composition to the Render Queue, use the Output Module drop-down list > Custom > Color > Output Color Space, or select blue text next to Output Module drop-down list > Color > Output Color Space.

Layer effects for applying OpenColorIO

After Effects includes the following effects that use OpenColorIO to process color. You do not need to enable OpenColorIO color management in the project to use these effects.

OCIO File Transform

The OCIO File Transform effect is used to apply a LUT or CDL.

OCIO File Transform
OCIO File Transform effect

OCIO Color Space Transform

The OCIO Color Space Transform effect is a color space converter effect implemented using the OpenColorIO engine.

OCIO Color Space Transform
OCIO Color Space Transform effect

OCIO Display Transform

The OCIO Display Transform effect is a color space converter effect implemented using the OpenColorIO engine.

OCIO Display Transform effect
OCIO Display Transform effect

The effect includes the following options:

Input Color Space

Select the input color space for the transform.

Display Device

Select from the available display devices. This list is dynamic and populated from the selected OCIO Configuration.

View Transform

Select view transforms available for a selected display. This dynamic list depends on the selected OCIO Configuration file and selected display device.

Inverse Transform

Allows you to invert the transform, for example, for import workflow.

Information

The Information section will provide details such as the OCIO configuration selected. It also includes error information. For example, if you change OCIO Configuration in the Project Settings and if the change made makes the current effect invalid.

Note:

You can use the OCIO Display Transform effect to convert to working color space or assign a display view color space to the imported media. 

Use the Show all check box in Interpret Footage > Color tab and Output Module Settings > Color tab to list all color spaces from the OCIO configuration file and also the display view transform options.

OCIO Look Transform

The OCIO Look Transform effect under the Color Correction category enables you to apply a Look transform or its inverse to a layer or composition.

OCIO Look Transform effect
OCIO Look Transform effect

The effect includes the following options:

Input Color Space

Select the input color space for the transform.

Look

Select the Look. This drop-down list is populated from the selected OCIO configuration file. 

Output Color Space

Select the output color space for the transform.

Inverse Transform

Invert the transform.

Information

The Information section will provide details such as the OCIO configuration selected. It also includes error information. For example, if you change OCIO Configuration in the Project Settings and if the change made makes the current effect invalid.

OCIO CDL Transform

The OCIO CDL Transform effect allows you to apply CDL transform or its inverse to a layer or composition.

OCIO CDL Transform effect
OCIO CDL Transform effect

The effect includes the following options:

Select

Browse your system and select a supported CDL file. For example, a .ccc file.

CCCID

The list of all the ccc (color correction collection) nodes as a ccc-id list in the drop-down list. You'll be able to select any one of them. By default, the first in the list will be selected. 

Inverse Transform

Invert the transform. 

Information 

The Information section will provide details such as the OCIO configuration selected. It also includes error information. For example, if you change OCIO Configuration in the Project Settings and if the change made makes the current effect invalid.

These effects can be used together to apply a LUT or CDL created to work in a specific color space that is different from the selected working color space:

  • Apply the OCIO Color Space Transform effect to convert from Working Color Space to the color space your CDL/LUT file requires.
  • Apply LUT or CDL using the OCIO File Transform effect.
  • Apply the OCIO Color Space Transform effect again to convert back to Working Color Space.

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