Scrren shot of how my animation looks in After Effects CS6 (on the left), vs. how it looks when rendered to a .mov file. (on the right). See how washed-out the colors look?
I am on a Mac, latest software versions and OSX.7.4. The source material is in RGB mode, Color Setting is Adobe RGB 1998, which is my wRGB working space. Color settings are synchronized across the entire suite. In the AE project settings, I see that color management is turned on and we are indeed in the Adobe RGB 1998 color space.
Possibly export settings, because I do not know thing one about those!
Oh gosh, Dave, I am so new to AE & PR, I don't quite have the vocabulary yet, but will do my best. This is actually my first time ever to render something out of AE, so be gentle with me!
The image itself was created by "wrapping" an image from Photoshop around a 3D sphere using the CC Sphere preset. I added it to the render queue and accepted the presets, because I did not see any way to change the settings. I'll attach a screen shot of those settings. Let me know if you can't read them.
Sorry, but I personally can't tell whether you're on a Mac or a Windows machine. If it's a Mac, you may have Quicktime X installed rather than the latest version of Quicktime 7 for Mac. QTX is frankly a dog, and I wouldn't use it.
What you're seeing isn't a color isue, it's a Gamma issue... are you familiar with the term?
I also see that your comp's frame rate is set to 24 fps, which is probably incorrect. Almost every time, footage shot on a video camera AND at film frame rate is at 23.976 frames/sec. Many camera and NLE makers erroneously refer to this frame rate as 23.98. Rest assured,it's 23.976.
I get the feeling you come from a Photoshop background, and you might be trying to use AE intuitively, which is a mistake: too many "gotchas" in AE to attempt it sucesfully. I don't know if this holds true in Photoshop, but AE can kill you without a good knowledge of the basics.
If that's the case, you may find that life gets a little better following a visit to this page. It contains a lot of useful information.
Then I would suggest trying a different codec. When you send your comp to the Render Queue it says lossless next ot the Output Module Settings, that means that it's using After Effect's defualt lossless settings, which uses a codec called Animation. Animation is an ancient codec that delivers huge files and it isn't used so much in production anymore. If you click on lossless the Output Module Settings screen will come up where you can change the format of your render and you can change the codec by hitting the Format Options button.
I've seen that washed out issue before with the Animation codec and just did some tests. I also played with the Color Management settings using the Animation codec by going to the upper right hand tab in the Output Module Settings menu. That seemed to have no effect on the final look of the render. A quicktime render with the Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) codec seems to match the AE screenshot almost identically.
Unfortunately, you can't get the ProRes codecs without having either Final Cut Pro installed or Apple Motion. I think it's possible to buy them from the Apple website. However, there are other lossless codecs you can try such as Uncompressed YUV 10bit or 8bit, but I just did a test and I got a much darker render than the ProRes renders and the screenshot. Judge for yourself what's best...
If you want ot know more, here's an FAQ on the basics of rendering and exporting in AE...
I'd also recommend Quicktime's PNG codec to render lossles movies. It's 10-bit and it supports alpha channels. Compared to the old Animation codec, file sizes are a good deal smaller to boot most of the time. The exception: animated lower-thirds. You can't beat Animation for them.
27" iMac, 16GB RAM, OSX.7.4. Latest versions of all software.
Yeh, Dave you nailed it. PS user from waaay back, print reproduction specialist, trying to get some new job skills. I have gleefully jumped down this rabbit hole of 3D animation and video feet first! But i have spent the past two months watching turorials, perusing the help files and forums, and experimenting. Thanks for that link--I will check it out.
The reason my comp's frame rate is set to 24 is I am not using video footage; this is an animation i created at 24fps. Will that be a problem. I could always recreate it at 23.976, if that would make a diference.
Yes, familiar with Gamma. Anything you sould suggest to fix that?
Ah, the latest versions of all software. That probably means QTX. I believe you'll find QT 7 on your OS installation disks, and you ought to take advantage of it and lose QTX.
The biggest consideration in the choce of video codec is how it will be used next. If, for example, the file is going to Final Cut Pro, it may display perfectly. Many times you'll receive delivery specifications, and the choice of codec may be out of your hands.
So there's really no one best answer.
It seems to me that the screnshot matches just slightly better to the ProRes render with Gamma correction set to none, so I would use that setting. As for fps, I personally like to work in true 24 when I'm doing motion graphics animation in After Effects because it displays the individual frames at equal lengths. Then when I export the comp I go to Best Settings and manually change the fps to a video fram rate like 23.976. This is especially important if you need the frame rate to match up with some video later. If I'm doing video work in AE, I set my comp to match the settings of the footage I'm using.
Dave, it is going to Premiere Pro next. In fact, it is already there via Dynamic Link and it looks great in the preview there. (Oddly, it is a tad washed out compared to the the AE preview altho not nearly so washed out as the .mov file from AE. I'd attach a screen shot, but it won't let me.
Can you tell me, now that I have rendered the AE composition, if the Dynamic Link auotmatically repaces the AE composition with the rendered version, or do I need to do that manually. . . . somehow?
My knowledge of Dynamic Link is pretty sketchy: I'm a Final Cut Pro / AE user -- no such convenience for me!
However, I'm pretty certain that if you've opened the AE comp In Premiere via Dynamic link, you're looking directly at the AE comp. If you quit Premiere, then make changes to that particular AE comp, you'll see the changes when you open Premiere again. You can also use an "edit original" command in Premiere -- I think that's the term -- to modify the AE comp.
When the Premiere Project is complete, you'll render all video in the codec & media container you selected at the beginning of the Premiere project.
I hope someone corrects me if I'm wrong, but that's how I understand the process.
Here's where I got my info. It's a page from Adobe's Online Help for AE. I typed in dynamic link as a search term, and the page was at the top.
Thanks, Ben--great examples! I tried the UYUV-10, but Quick Time Player could not play it so I tried UYUV-8, which looks better than the previous example using the Animation , but still not as good as the AE preview. I posed it at Flickr since this forum won't allow an attachment as big. You can check it out here:
The chocolate brown earplug up top center looks much better, but still not as appetizing as the one in the AE rpreview. But my main concern is the row of electronic earplugs around the equator of the sphere as that is the client's core product line. They have a much warmer pinky/yellow look in the AE preview.
thanks for your help!
Thanks, guys, very helpful replies. After doing a little homework reading the links you all posted, I think I will not bother with rendiering from AE for now. I understood that that was a good workflow to speed the final render in PR, but these AE compositions reder pretty quick, so I think i will just do a final render from PR, where it looks like you have more options. . . thanks and wish me luck!
It's hard to tell with so many colors, that's why I just did the flat red renders so you can really see the difference. But, as you can see in my test the uncompressed codecs are way darker and still pretty orange compared t the screenshot. Have you tried using the PNG codec like Dave suggested?
It is not hard for me to tell--I know those colors by heart, having shot the original photos and reproduced them in print and for web many times!
Oh, thaks for the reminder. totally forgot. Will try the PNG codec now and get back to ya.
Are you working in 8 bit? If not I would use the 10 bit as the production codec. The quality is going to be better. It may not play on the desktop, but it should play in PR and AE and might end up being a better codec for going in between softwares. I would suggest using H.264 as a final output codec. It's also lossless and should have no problem playing off the desktop. However, H.264 is not a good intermediate codec, meaning it won't hold up as well going in between softwares and being re-rendered.
Yes, I am working in 8-bit. (shouldn't I be?) Well, hey, looky there--when I import the .mov file Quick Time player could not play (UYUV-10 bit) into PR, it shows up just fine. I brought the UYUV-8 bit one in as well. They look about the same. They also look about the same as the PR preview of the AE composition (unrendered).
The funny thing is that over in AE, the colors there more closely resemble the original Photoshop document. When I import the original PS doc into PR, it is not as vibrant--it looks just like the preview and the UYUV .mov files.
So, to summarize, the colors using the UYUV codec (8 and 10 bit) look like the PR file. The colors in the AE fle are truer to the original PS file, but once the compisition goes over to PR, it looks a little grayer. I tried to post a screen shot of that difference earlier, but it would not let me, so please take a look at that here:
Again, reference the row of tan electronics, the chocolate brown plug top center, and the orange plug, bottom center.
Any idea what is up with that? With the colors changing up once they get out of AE?
If you match your color profiles, your color management, and your display settings across the board the colors will match unless there's a rendering bug in a codec. Pro-Rez suffered for quite a while with a pesky gamma bug. Some codecs don't respect color management. Some players don't respect color management. The trick here is to establish a workflow that works for you, write it down, save the presets, and stick to it.
It's exactly like matching color profiles with a printer. Everybody and every file and every machine must have the same settings for the colors to match.
The thing is, the same file looks great in PS and AE, but not when imported into PRdirectly from PS or from AE thru Dynamic Link. This is true even before rendering, so I don't think a codec bug is to blame.
Double checking: The source material from Photoshop is in RGB mode. In the AE project settings, I see that color management is turned on and we are indeed in the Adobe RGB 1998 color space. Color settings are synchronized across the entire suite.
How do I doublecheck in Premiere?