I've tried assigning colour profiles when I import Illustrator files but the box is greyed out. Also I've used the 'Colour Management' tab in 'Output Module Settings' and toggled preserve RGB but no difference. Once again the 'Output Profile' dropdown is greyed out.
Well, but do you actually color manage your Illustrator? Calibrate your monitor? I believe, as they say, that's where the wheels fell off the cart. I get the definite impression that you're not doing any of this and alas:
b) I want the colours of the preview to match the output file - is there a codec/format that will guarantee it
If you are employing proper CM, there is no issue with that at all, but as long as you're not using any, no format on teh world can save you. That and of course even if you maintain proper CM on your system, it may still look crooked on other systems. That's just the nature of the thing - it's all or nothing. There is no "just a tiny bit pregnant" here. Once CM is used, you have to use it everywhere. Otherwise you have to live these limitations and hope everything is as close to standard sRGB as possible, give or take specific things like Gamma changes in some CoDecs.
Thank you for your swift response. Having read it I've done some investigating I didn't have any consistent Colour Management. So I used Bridge to create a single synchronised setting on all adobe applications. (I've also done my best to calibrate my monitor again).
This, however, has had mixed results.
Whilst my Illustrator to AE is now better - although still slightly out (left Illustrator, right AE)...
But my render (right) is now even more different to AE (left)
Now these appear on the same monitor so I'm guessing monitor calibration doesn't mean anything right now. So it's all to do with colour management.
What am I doing wrong? If you would be so kind as to maybe share your settings with me, then I can try them and see what the results are.
AE does not use Bridge's CM settings. It's all in the project settings. Start by using your custom profile for the comp preview (or on an adjustment layer with teh color profile converter effect) and then tweak your output to that exact spec. If you use Quicktime, it should honor monitor profiles off the bat, but since Apple declared QT deprecated, things may be broken even if you attach the profile info. Conversely of course outputting CM'd image sequences will require to view them in an app that respects this stuff and is able to compensate. Otherwise you have to find your own middleground. A "hard" Gamma correction may still be necessary by applying a Levels or similar effect before rendering as may be other color corrections. Again, you can nail this down for your own system, but not nbecessarily come up with a universal solution that works everywhere.
Ok, so the 'Color Profile Converter' added to an adjustment layer seemed to help get the render sorted. Thank you for that suggestion.
Although in the preview window it then looks really over saturated BUT when it actually renders it comes out almost like the Illustrator file. Which I find this rather weird.
Why are the colours so far out as a default? Why now more than it used to be? I've probably changed something but I can't see a quick logical way to fix it.
Anyways, for now that has helped so thank you!
Anyone else with the same problem and needs a quick fix: use the 'Color Profile Converter' effect on an adjustment layer.