Retaining Overbrights with ACES ODT as Input

Hello everyone. I’ve been following discussions here for quite a while and I’m very appreciative of the knowledge I’ve been able to glean from everyone.

I have a question for a specific use case. With most wider gamut workflows, my team has been using OCIO inside After Effects for color management, mostly with the expanded Nuke configurations. This works well because we can back into a vendor’s color pipeline, even though we’re mostly doing sRGB graphics with display-referred imagery. Also of use is the ability to retain overbrights in case that project has multiple colorspace deliverables or has a show LUT that includes a nice shoulder for us to take advantage of in Rec709. Obviously there’s a bit of grading involved to make everyone happy (mostly expanding the dynamic range and counteracting the LUT), but it works quite well.

For ACES, we eventually found that we could use an ODT as the input to produce a WYSIWYG style image and otherwise maintain our same workflow (thanks, ACES Central). Even better! However, this approach seems to clip overbrights and also we loose the ability to take advantage of the LMT (the shoulder in particular) of that particular project if we want to.

Is there a way to maintain this workflow, which is important since we deal with display-referred material and can’t bypass the color pipeline, but still preserve overbrights instead of clipping them?

Or would it be possible to add an sRGB ODT (one day) that retains overbrights like the sRGBf configuration from Nuke? If this was in place there would never be a reason for us to avoid ACES with any job.

I’m sure there are some more complex approaches that involve a full ACES pipeline from the ground up, but that’s not in the cards for us in the short-term. So I’m hoping that there’s something we missed.

I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts. Thank you, all.

In Nuke if you read in a PNG image with the sRGB ODT it will retain the overbrights. I have not tried it, but I would imagine AE would too… provided it is set up to work in linear space (i.e. ACEScg). That’s the default in Nuke, but in AE you need to set this in the prefs as it defaults to a display-referred workflow.

Thank you for this suggestion. I’ll give it a try and report back.

I should probably clarify that an 8-bit sRGB PNG only has 0-1 RGB values so technically it does not have overbrights. The value of 1 is remapped to around 16 by the ODT tone mapping giving you values above 1 that can function as overbrights. If you are reading in an EXR for example that has RGB pixel values above one that should not be read in with an inverse ODT, but rather scene linear.