ACES Primer, Glossary and Quick Start Guides - Get up and running with ACES!

To the ACES community,

Please download and have a look at the ACES Primer as a first step in understanding ACES!

The goal of the Primer is to provide a foundation for using ACES. It outlines the history
of ACES, including why it was developed, as well as its current and future value in
production and postproduction workflows. It should particularly help new users, and those who need to introduce ACES and color managed workflows to less technical members on their team.


ACES Primer_080718.pdf (6.9 MB)

The Primer includes a short Glossary that will help standardize some of the terms we use in this document and our daily work.

We’ve also developed a number of practical Quick Start Guides for specific roles in the production and post production process. And, there are more coming, (as well as some translations too!)

ACES Overview Summary 081318.pdf (898.2 KB)
ACES Workflow Sample 081318.pdf (57.8 KB)
ACES DIT Quick Start Guide 081318.pdf (78.6 KB)
ACES VFX Quick Start Guide 081318.pdf (171.3 KB)
ACES DP Quick Start Guide 101519.pdf (181.3 KB)

ACES Resumen General 81318SP.pdf (1.0 MB)
Ejemplo de flujo de trabajo en ACES.pdf (491.5 KB)
ACES DIT Guía de Inicio Rápido 81318ASP.pdf (65.3 KB)
ACES VFX Guía de Inicio Rápido 81318ASP.pdf (753.7 KB)

Muchas gracias a Fabián Matas (colorbycontrast) por su gran ayuda en la traducción de estas guías.! (Many thanks to Fabián Matas (colorbycontrast) for his great help in translating these guides!)

As always, comments are welcome, and we appreciate everyone on ACESCentral and in the ACES community that has helped and continues to guide and support existing and new users as we chart this digital path together.

The ACES Team


This is really awesome. Very well written and gives a complete overview of ACES even to a layman. Great Job!

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Thank you for sharing these! Perfect timing, just finishing my feature about ACES in 3D Artist mag.
In exchange I’ll share 3D visualizations of the ACES pipeline transforms in a dedicated topic soon. Here is a sneak peek, I made this for the article:

All the available colours in the sRGB colour space plotted in ACEScg, defining the AP1 primaries as XYZ 1,1,1 coordinates (so no CIE at all).
This is an inverted transform, but shows the colour/dynamic range and the distribution of the sRGB colours in scene-linear space.
I used Houdini with the OCIO 1.0.3 implementation, but just inspecting Alex Fry’s Nuke node network which is a 100% accurate RRT+ODT replica.

Have a good time at Siggraph, best,
Greg Barta

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We’ve had an offer from an ACES community member to translate the Quick Start Guides into Japanese! If anyone else would like to tackle another language (Spanish, Chinese, or ?) we’d welcome your participation!

Steve T

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I think I’m capable to translate them into standard Spanish if you are interested :slight_smile:

In the Workflow Sample pdf it says ACES2065-4. What type of ACES is that? Or is it a typo and it should say ACES2065-1?

I checked around and I believe they refer to EXR file format SMPTE (2065-4). But I’m not 100% sure.

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ACES2065-4 refers to SMPTE ST 2065-4 which specifies the constrained version of OpenEXR which is the file container for ACES.

ACES2065-1 refers to SMPTE ST 2065-1 which specifies the color encoding specification (but not the file format)

So 2065-4 is the container file format that holds data encoded according to 2065-1


Damn these technical names!
Jokes aside, didn’t know 2065-4 was an EXR container, It all makes all sense then!

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We’ve had an offer to help translate the guides into Chinese and Spanish as well…way to ‘step up’ ACES Community!


I could help with the Brazilian Portuguese version if you like.