3D World

HOW DO I WORK WITH ACES CG REN­DERS IN ADOBE AF­TER EF­FECTS?

Steve Garda, Lon­don

- Programming Languages · Programming · Tech · Adobe After Effects · Cinema 4D

Mike Griggs replies

ACES, oth­er­wise known as the ‘Acad­emy Color En­cod­ing Sys­tem’, is the cur­rent cool kid in the world of CG con­tent cre­ation. This is with good rea­son as ACES has the power to stan­dard­ise and rev­o­lu­tionise how we man­age colour in dig­i­tal con­tent.

Up un­til now, colour has been a con­fus­ing mine­field for artists. It can be hard to know SRGB from 32-bit HDR; these colour for­mats are about how lit­tle or much can be dis­played on a fi­nal out­put screen. For ex­am­ple, SRGB is com­monly used for screen-based work only, whereas Rec.709 is more widely used for broad­cast as it has a slightly larger colour gamut (amount of colour that can be dis­played). ACES has a colour gamut that is much, much larger, and is po­ten­tially fu­ture-proofed for the next few decades and be­yond. What this means is that work­ing in ACES al­lows more colour to be ‘stored’, cre­at­ing more vivid and life-like im­agery.

Although ACES is now be­com­ing more com­monly adopted in dig­i­tal con­tent cre­ation soft­ware, 3D ren­der en­gines and edit­ing tools, it still re­quires a fair amount of re­search to find a work­flow

that works best for in­di­vid­ual artists. One of the best ways to think of ACES is as a uni­fied work­flow from cre­ation to de­liv­ery. When el­e­ments from CG or cam­era are recorded or ren­dered with an ACES colour space, this can be viewed in soft­ware via an ACES ‘in­put trans­form’ that con­verts the nec­es­sary colour info needed by the artist when work­ing with a shot. This in­put trans­form al­lows the artist to use the full range of em­bed­ded colour info within an ACES file, which is po­ten­tially far greater than if the file had been stored in a legacy colour for­mat. When the shot is ready, an ACES ‘out­put trans­form’ con­verts the footage into the de­sired for­mat for dis­play, for ex­am­ple, the afore­men­tioned SRGB and Rec.709.

While this may sound com­pli­cated, in use it is (rea­son­ably) straight­for­ward. Adobe Af­ter Ef­fects now has na­tive tools for work­ing with ACES en­coded image files. In this tu­to­rial, I will demon­strate how to cre­ate an ACES ren­der in Cinema 4D with Redshift, and then how to work with it in Af­ter Ef­fects.

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 ??  ?? ACES is a free and open-source sys­tem for sim­pli­fy­ing colour man­age­ment
ACES is a free and open-source sys­tem for sim­pli­fy­ing colour man­age­ment

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