3 Replies Latest reply on May 11, 2015 11:59 PM by KoMaruyama

    Adobe After Effects CC / Media Encoder Dark Exports .H264


      I've finally hit a wall and decided to reach out to the forums. Any help is going to be appreciated. I'm still new to video, codecs, AE exporting, AME exporting, but I am rather tech savvy and a quick learner. It's a bit of an explanation, but here we go. I have gotten into Time Lapse Photography, and I use After Effects to assemble the actual lapse its, amongst other things (stabilisation/deflickering etc). I used to use AE CS5, but with CC it removed the .h264 codec, and now I am forced to use Adobe Media Encoder to export as .h264 via the link between apps. So my steps are as follows;

      Take in RAW.
      Import to Lightroom, edit RAW.
      Export as sRGB.
      Import as sequence in AE.
      Interpret footage, adjust framerate to 23.976.
      Do adjustments in AE.
      Render out via AME/AE link.

      My issue is, in Lightroom, they look great, as do the JPEG exports [they're visually identical]. I throw them into AE, and they've become more saturated, the shadows especially (they become almost black black). And rendering out of AME, it's the same result, an over saturated shadows time lapse video.

      I have tried;

      Exporting out of LR as AdobeRGB 1998. (Most accurate shadow representation, but loss of saturation on everything else)
      Exporting out of LR as sRGB. (Most accurate colours, but shadows are deeply saturated)
      Exporting out of LR as ProPhoto RGB. (All around flat colour and shadows).
      I've tried switching in Project settings of AE from 8bpc, to 16, to 32. I've tried also;

      Enabling Blend Colours Using 1.0 Gamma.
      Match Legacy AE QuickTime Gamma Adjustments

      Changing work spaces from none to;

      AdobeRGB 1998.
      sRGB IEC61966-21.
      Monitor color calibration ICC profile.

      I'm at a loss, I can't get the colour or shadows to accurately represent in AE/AME or the .h264 exports. So now this is where I need help. A few things I need answered first;

      1.] The colour profiling in After Effects, what should that be set to? Does that only VISUALLY change what I see, and not the actual export?
      2.] Blend Colours Using 1.0 Gamma, and Legacy AE QuickTime Gamma Adjustments, on, off? Just a visual change or actual the export is affected too?
      3.] Are there better codecs for representing colour other than .h264? I'd like to upload to YouTube, or Vimeo - so size is of /moderate/ importance but not a huge factor.

      Thanks for taking the time to read this, and hopefully I can get this resolved!


      I've also attached two photos, the far left is inside Lightroom, then the two right handed sides are within After Effects, just different JPEG color space exports (sRGB and 1998). They're all labeled. If you note, the shadow detail in the one photo, huge difference. And then the colour difference in the other one. Middle photo on the colours one has purple, but there is none in the other two, and not supposed to be. It's actually some blue. And the greens in the Lightroom/sRGB match, where as the middle 1998 is more faded.


      If only I could combine the two!


      The results are rather subtle in these again compressed JPEGs but when I look at it (not compressed in a JPEG together) it's actually more drastic of a difference.





      Many thanks!

        • 1. Re: Adobe After Effects CC / Media Encoder Dark Exports .H264
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          YouTube et al will re-encode your footage again, so in the end it doesn't matter. Also there will always be minor Gamma shifts, that's something you cannot avoid. There is simply no "deep" black or whatever with most video due to limited luma and chroma sampling. In your case the failure seems to be that you are working with profiled sources and outputs, but never actually preview the comp with the same profile/ in relation to your monitor calibration - if that is actually the case. if not, then none of what you do has any meaning in the first place. Generally, though, even today for the bulk of AE work one would just use no CM under the assumption that the monitor has been calibrated to the output spec and thus is halfway representative of the actual rendering.



          • 2. Re: Adobe After Effects CC / Media Encoder Dark Exports .H264
            KillerCatnip Level 1

            My monitor is properly calibrated. If I set the Color Space to the same ICC as profile as my monitor, or the CS of the photos, it represents correctly, but even still. The export of the file as .H264 is what causes the huge shift.


            "There is simply no "deep" black or whatever with most video due to limited luma and chroma sampling."


            I'm not looking to go darker, I'm trying prevent it from going darker. Every export results in a contrast boost in shadowed areas, and trying to find a way around it.

            • 3. Re: Adobe After Effects CC / Media Encoder Dark Exports .H264
              KoMaruyama Adobe Community Professional

              iI've had good luck using QuickTime7 to H264 when other options dont work as well.

              especially if you're using color management that doesn't play well with h264.