ACES & After Effects Walkthrough

Hey all,

I work with an animation studio in NYC. We’ve been troubleshooting our ACES workflow on a few projects, and I compiled a tutorial walkthrough to help coworkers and freelancers get better accustomed to the process.

It would be great to run it by any of you and see if you had any feedback or if I’m missing anything crucial.

You can find the PDF available here: ACES and After Effects Walkthrough

Look forward to your thoughts!


Hey Casey, awesome share! Thanks a ton. Have you tried setting the working space to ACEScg instead of HDTV Rec.709? If you go that route you can do the exact same setup but you’ll get much richer results with color falloff and shouldering on lights. I’ll usually precomp any chance renders and apply OCIO input - Utility sRGB Texture / output ACEScg to each. Any renders or footage where you can’t preserve rgb I’ll add a convert color profile effect to (directly to the footage inside the precomp), set the input color space to ACEScg and the output to sRGB, while leaving the options to linearize either input or output off, since ACEScg does that inherently. Also, while applying any lighting effects or flares or anything within the in/out transform adjustment layers (709, D60, etc. to ACEScg and then the inverse) you can get some killer results clamping the lights simply by adding a levels with the gamma set to .454 (which you can toggle on and off) in conjunction with an exposure effect. I’ll either clamp the exposure’s gamma to .87 or .454 depending on whether or not I have the levels turned on, and rather than adjusting the light intensity or size in the effect itself, moving or adjusting the exposure value gets really great results. You can crank it really high without any blowout at all, and the colors stay saturated, even more so when clamping the gamma. Anyways, your pdf basically helped me turn a huge corner on this process, which has been a bit of a puzzle to figure out, so thanks man!!! I hope you find some of what I mentioned above helpful for sure, and if you’ve got any extra insights I’d love to hear em! Cheers! Ryan

Hey Ryan,

Awesome to hear!!! Glad it was helpful. Those are some great tips. Gotta experiment with those lighting tips.

We’ve actually had mixed results working in ACEScg, mainly because our renders need to be delivered to a posthouse for finishing. Working in Rec709 allows us to properly animate and design in a color space we’re “used” to and then deliver it in ACES2065-1, which the posthouse can properly slot into their pipeline with expected results. We really want to be able to animate and design everything in Rec709 / sRGB, then just apply an ACES transform at the end so it can be properly “inverted” later in the pipe.

Also, were just on regular iMac / DELL monitors so I’m actually not sure if we could work in ACEScg and be confident that we’re seeing the entire spectrum of what were doing, if you know what I mean? Unless I’m missing something, we’d all need to have calibrated HDR monitors to properly view our work.

Thanks again!