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3 If you do not have profiling software that uses a hardware measuring device, remove colorful background patterns on your monitor desktop and set your desktop to display neutral grays. Busy patterns or bright colors surrounding a document interfere with accurate color perception.
4 Do one of the following to calibrate and profile your monitor:
• For best results, use third-party software and measuring devices. In general, using a measuring device such as a colorimeter along with software can create more accurate profiles because an instrument can measure the colors displayed on a monitor far more accurately than the human eye can.
Most profiling software automatically assigns the new profile as the default monitor profile. For instructions on how to manually assign the monitor profile, refer to the Help system for your operating system.
• In Mac OS, use the Calibrate utility, located in the System Preferences Displays Color tab.
Choosing a working color space is an essential step in managing color in a project. Footage items’ colors are converted into the working color space as a common color space for compositing.
For best results, when working with 8-bpc color, match the working color space to the output color space. If you are outputting to more than one output color space, you should set the project color depth to 16 or 32 bpc, at least for rendering for final output. The working color space should match the output color space that has the largest gamut.
For example, if you plan to output to Adobe RGB and sRGB, then use Adobe RGB as your working color space, because Adobe RGB has a larger gamut and can therefore represent more saturated colors. To preserve over-range values, work in 32-bpc color for its high dynamic range.
Suggestions for color working space choices:
• SDTV NTSC or SDTV PAL is a good choice if you’re making a movie for standard-definition broadcast television, including standard-definition DVD.
• HDTV (Rec. 709) is a good choice if you’re making a movie for high-definition television. This color space uses the same primaries as sRGB, but it has a larger gamut, so it makes a good working space for many kinds of work.
• ProPhoto RGB with a linear (1.0) gamma is a good choice for digital cinema work.
• sRGB IEC61966-2.1 is a good choice if you’re making a movie for the Web, especially cartoons.
The color spaces available in After Effects vary based on the color profiles installed on your computer.
1 Choose File Project Settings.
2 Choose a working color space from the Working Space menu.
Previews sent to an external video monitor are not color managed. The color values sent to the video monitor are from the project’s working color space. To preview video colors, choose a value for Working Space in the Project Settings dialog box that matches the color space of the preview device.
Similarly, colors in a composition sent to Adobe Premiere Pro or Encore using Dynamic Link are in the After Effects project’s working color space. To manage colors in a dynamically linked composition, create a new composition and nest your composition within it; then apply the Color Profile Converter effect to the containing composition, with Input Profile set to Project Working Space.
See also “About color spaces” on page 238 “Set the color depth” on page 234
Stu Maschwitz's blog has several posts that are useful for learning about how, when, and why to work in a linear color space versus a non-linear color space. In this post, he lists several categories of color operations and whether they should be performed in a linear or non-linear working color space: www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_stuloglin.
If you want to use a linearized working color space, do so when you set up the project, instead of switching later.
Otherwise, colors chosen in the color picker will change when you switch to a linear working color space, because colors inside After Effects are interpreted to be in the working color space.
Note: A linearized working color space works best with higher color depths, 16 bpc and 32 bpc, and is not recommended for 8 bpc color.
❖ Choose File Project Settings, and do one of the following:
• To linearize the working color space, choose Linearize Working Space.
• To blend colors in a linear color space, choose Blend Colors Using 1.0 Gamma. This affects only blending between layers. The result is that opacity fades, motion blur, and other features that rely on blending modes are affected.
See also“Blending modes” on page 163
Interpret a footage item by assigning an input color profile You control color management for each footage item using the Interpret Footage dialog box.
You can prevent the conversion of colors into the working color space for a single footage item by selecting Preserve RGB in the Color Management tab of the Interpret Footage dialog box. This option preserves RGB numbers; color appearance is not preserved. Turning off color management for a specific footage item is useful when the footage item is not intended for visual display, but is instead intended for use as a control layer—for example, a displacement map.
The input color profile determines what calculations are performed when converting the footage item’s colors into the project’s working color space. If a working space has not been set—that is, if color management is not on for the project—then you cannot assign an input color profile.
In some cases, files that you import will have ICC profiles embedded in them. When you import these files, you can be confident that the colors that you see are as the producer of the footage originally intended. After Effects can read and write embedded color profiles for Photoshop (PSD), TIFF, PNG, and JPEG files.
If a footage item does not have an embedded color profile, you can assign an input color profile using the Interpret Footage dialog box or by adding or modifying a rule in the interpretation rules file (interpretation rules.txt). After Effects interprets the footage item as if the source footage was created using this color profile, so be certain to assign a profile that matches (or at least approximates) that used to create the source footage.
Non-RGB footage items (e.g., CMYK, Y'CbCr, and camera raw images) cannot be assigned an input profile. Their native color space is displayed in the Interpret Footage dialog box. Conversion of non-RGB color values to RGB color values is handled automatically for each format.
If you don’t assign an input color profile, and After Effects doesn’t have a rule in the interpretation rules file with which to make an interpretation, the footage item’s colors are assumed to be in the project’s working color space.
When color management is enabled, a footage item’s input color profile is shown in the information area at the top of the Project panel.
AFTER EFFECTS CS3 246 User Guide The Interpret As Linear Light option determines whether the assigned input color profile is interpreted as being linear (gamma equals 1.0). This option also works when color management is turned off for the project. (See “About gamma and tone response” on page 239.) 1 Select a footage item in the Project panel.
2 Choose File Interpret Footage Main.
3 In the Color Management tab of the Interpret Footage dialog box, choose a value from the Assign Profile menu.
If you don’t see the profile that you want in the Assign Profile menu, select Show All Available Profiles.
4 Read the information in the Description area of the dialog box to confirm that the conversion is the one that you want, and click OK.
See also “Interpret footage items” on page 51 “Introduction to Camera Raw” on page 86 Assign an output color profile You control color management for each output item using the Output Module Settings dialog box.
Important: When you export to Flash SWF format, you use the Export menu, not the Render Queue panel, so the output module settings are not available for this output type. If color management is enabled for the project, After Effects automatically converts colors from the project’s working color space to the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 color space when exporting to SWF.
You can prevent the conversion of colors from the working color space for a single output item by selecting Preserve RGB in the Color Management tab of the Output Module Settings dialog box. This option preserves RGB numbers;
color appearance is not preserved. Turning off color management for a specific footage item is useful when the footage item is not intended for visual display, but is instead intended for use as a control layer—for example, a displacement map.
The output color profile for a render item determines what calculations are performed when converting a rendered composition’s colors from the project’s working color space to the color space for the output medium. If a working space has not been set—that is, if color management is not on for the project—then you cannot assign an output color profile.
For example, after creating a movie in an HDTV (Rec. 709) working color space for output to film, you likely want to output to a log-encoded Cineon/DPX color space using a film output color profile. If, on the other hand, you’re creating a movie for high-definition television, you should choose an HDTV (Rec. 709) output profile.
A render item’s output color profile is part of an output module and is displayed in the output module group in the Render Queue panel. You can assign multiple output modules to one render item, each with its own output color profile, allowing you to create output movies for various media from one rendered movie.
The Convert To Linear Light option determines whether the colors are output to a linear color profile (gamma equals 1.0). It is seldom a good idea to output to linear light for 8-bpc or 16-bpc color, so the default setting for Convert To Linear Light is On For 32 bpc. (See “About gamma and tone response” on page 239.) Some file formats—such as Photoshop (PSD), PNG, TIFF, and JPEG—allow for the embedding of a color profile. If you embed a color profile in an output file, then you can be more certain that programs that use the file will correctly interpret its color information.
AFTER EFFECTS CS3 247 User Guide After Effects chooses a rendering intent based on the output color profile that you choose. For most output types, the rendering intent is relative colorimetric (with black point compensation); for output to film negative, the rendering intent is absolute colorimetric.
1 Click the underlined text next to the render item’s Output Module heading in the Render Queue panel.
2 In the Color Management tab of the Output Module Settings dialog box, choose a value from the Output Profile menu:
sRGB IEC61966-2.1 For display in web browsers and other web-based environments.
SDTV NTSC or SDTV PAL For display on standard-definition television. If luma levels are not adjusted by the codec you are using, choose a 16-235 profile to compress luma levels.
Kodak 5218/7218 Printing Density For film-out corresponding to the scene capture of Kodak 5218 camera negative film.
If you don’t see the profile that you want in the Output Profile menu, select Show All Available Profiles. This option shows the motion-picture film color profiles.
3 Read the information in the Description area of the dialog box to confirm that the conversion is the one that you want, and click OK.
See also “Work with output module settings” on page 599 “Render and export a movie using the render queue” on page 590 Enable or disable display color management When color management is on, the default behavior is for RGB pixel values to be converted to your computer monitor’s color space from the project’s working color space. Color appearance is preserved; RGB numbers are not preserved. This is adequate for most uses, but you sometimes need to see how the colors are actually going to look when viewed through a system that does not use color management. For example, you may need to see how the colors will appear when viewed in a web browser.
When display color management is off, the RGB color values are sent directly to your monitor, without any conversion through the monitor profile. RGB numbers are preserved; color appearance is not preserved.
When display color management is on for a viewer, a yellow plus sign appears in the Show Channel button at the bottom of the viewer.
For each viewer (Composition, Layer, or Footage panel), you can choose whether to manage display colors, which involves the conversion of colors from the working color space to the monitor’s color space.
1 Activate a Composition, Layer, or Footage panel.
2 Do one of the following to toggle between enabling and disabling display color management:
• Choose View Use Display Color Management.
• Press Shift+/ (on the numeric keypad).
Output simulation settings (including No Output Simulation) are remembered.
Simulate how colors will appear on a different output device Often, you need to preview how a movie will appear on a device other than your computer monitor. One purpose of color management is to ensure that colors look the same on every device, but color management in After Effects can’t
overcome scenarios like the following:
• An output device for which you’re creating your movie has a smaller gamut than your project’s working color space, so the device is unable to represent some colors.
• The colors in your movie are displayed by a device or software that does not use color management to convert colors.
For example, when you are creating a movie on Windows, you may want to see how the movie will look on Mac OS without color management. (Colors tend to look lighter on computer systems running Mac OS.) An even more extreme example: When you are creating a movie using a computer monitor and a high-definition video monitor, you may need to see how the movie will look when transferred to a specific film stock and projected under standard theater viewing conditions.