I’m establishing the workflow for a 2D animation project that needs to deliver to an outside vendor for color correct in ACES 2065-1.
Backgrounds are painted in Photoshop. Character and FX animation are in TV Paint. Compositing is in After Effects. And edit is (ideally) in Premiere, but we may end up switching to Resolve.
Normally we work with tv paint and photoshop files in sRGB and we just do After Effects in 16 bit rect 709 with pro res 4444 exports to premiere. But we’d like to take advantage of ACES/linear color space when we start compositing in After Effects.
I’ve seen workflows where you set After Effects to a Rect 709 workspace, composite everything normally, apply an ACES OCIO adjustment layer ABOVE your full composite, add a little color correction, and then use a guide layer adjustment so you can preview back in rect 709 on a normal monitor.
But ideally, I’d like each individual layer to be in ACES as we utilize a lot of camera lens blurs and lighting effects to give the show a more cinematic feel. Applying OCIO to all of my layers seems overkill and confusing - but visually the results are stunning when I work with each individual element in ACES 2065-1…
So my thought is to make sure ALL my individual elements in After Effects are somehow ACES 2065-1 and export EXRs to edit (which then would have to be done in resolve, not premiere).
Part of our process includes an extra zhoosh pass in edit with little compositing additions, amplified camera moves, minor color correction to unify scenes etc. So edit should ideally be done in ACES 2065-1 as well to set everything up perfectly for color.
This pipeline seems REALLY bloated!
Because we’re all work from home, and we view shots in dailies over the internet, it seems like we need to export work-in-progress scenes as pro res files in rect 709 so they can be properly viewed and worked on.
The bigger file sizes and extra processing time for everything seems like it could bite us in the butt. Having hundreds of layers in hundreds of shots manually color managed by compositors in After Effects seems dangerous, especially if we bring in untrained artists toward crunch time.
I’m still not 100% sure I’m managing different color spaces properly - even though the results look good.
What are the proper OCIO inputs and project settings for an sRGB .psd or PNG layer when I work in a Rect709 after effects sequence?
Is there a better way to export/convert from photoshop and TV paint to make things easier and more uniform before I bring into After Effects?
Or is there a better color space than rect 709 for me to work in in After Effects when I use OCIO? One that would make sure my project elements are all HDR/linear and I could apply OCIO to ACES 2065-1 after all the compositing?
Or am I better off not using OCIO at all in After Effects and working in an Adobe-native linearized HDR color space? One that would allow us to edit in premiere even?
Ultimately - without being a giant burden to the pipeline, what would give me the best visual results with the most color data when compositing 2D elements in After Effects with heavy camera lens blur and lighting effects?
Not expecting someone to have THE PERFECT solution for us, but I’d love any tips or resources! This is a lot of new stuff to learn and navigate.