There are a lot of fixes in After Effects CS5 to work around QuickTime gamma problems.
Do you know if there is a process whereby you can create a composition in AE CS4 and output a movie that looks the same as what appears in the composition window ?
I have tried some suggestions put forward in the past, but without any luck.
That link appears under a section labelled Adobe After Effects CS5, before I start down this route do you know if it is applicable (and actually resolves the issue) with AE CS4 ?
The color management interface has not changed between CS4 and CS5. Instructions for one are valid for the other (with the exception of color LUTs, which you can ignore).
Thanks, I will start reading that tonight, once I am sufficiently drunk.
Cheers for the help, I will see if I can get some sense out of CS4 before upgrading the CS5.
Musings on a disaster . . .
Worked my way through all the literature - some of it comes reasonably close to addressing the gamma / colour shift problems (after a lot of reading and testing and failing and frustration), nothing seems to correct it absolutely . . . . which ultimately renders After Effects unusable as a professional tool (up to CS4 at least - I have not upgraded to AE5 as the upgrade appears to be prohibitively expensive).
I understand that the real villain in all this is Apple/Quicktime, but it shocks me that Adobe (with AE) have not taken a much more robust approach to resolving this problem.
Most of the tools I used to depend on and trust on for my day to day work are very simply useless now, what point is there in sitting with a client for 6 hours grading a piece of footage only to find yourself unable to deliver what the day's work achieved, why bother using Colour Finesse when leaving the 'full interface' mode to view your work in the composition window you see a differing version - and so on.
What is more frustrating is that this problem simply did not exist a version or two ago, I happily spent well over a decade (professionally) being able to concentrate on making things appear as I wanted them to and then being able to deliver just that - this has seemingly gone.
Literally put, After Effects is broken.
I really appreciate all the help I have got from this forum in trying to resolve this, but nothing has come close enough that it could be considered a solution, it's simply no good telling a client: "It's a bit washed out and the colour is a little bit more red than we wanted, but it's pretty close".
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So . . . . solutions (more correctly compromised work arounds) - I hope these might be of some help to others stranded on Adobe/Apple island.
Basically I suspect my requirements at output are much the same as others who do this for a job, firstly a master output for delivery/broadcast/tape - and a compressed output for client proofing.
For the compressed non-master - I used the latest x264 codec - simply download it (Google is your friend) - install it and ignore all those other codecs that you have used over the years - this actually works pretty well, your AE render looks identical to your AE composition (100% identical) when played back in QT7 - and only a little washed out when played back in QT10 (much less washed out than other codecs).
For the master output - forget the days of being able to render to 'uncompressed' and know all is well - those days are seemingly gone. But you can still come fairly close to rendering something to a lossless format that looks reasonably close to your composition if you stick to 'Animation' or 'ProRes' - the reason I am not more specific here is that your success would seem to depend on the particular project - sometimes ProRes get's 90% of the way, other times it looks overly saturated and Animation get's you closer - so experiment, but these two high-quaility codecs can often get fairly close.
(*ProRes is not, of course, 'lossless' - but in the circumstances if it renders closer to the look of your composition than Animation it is not a terrible compromise).
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .On a final note: I used to work at a post/facilities house in London (UK) who have used AE since at least 1998 (when I first worked for them) - I was freelancing there last week and they seem resigned to After Effect's death as a professional tool and are now looking at other compositing environments.Additionally I managed a small coup recently in being able to steal a small piece of work (a single scene from an upcoming Christmas TV ad for UK TV**) from another major - perhaps the biggest, most respected - London post house - they floundered in being able to convincingly replace an actors face with a (much happier) replacement (using Inferno) - the Director handed me the scene - I got it to work really well, he much preferred my result, I was pretty happy with taking on a major facilities house and beating them - but the process of delivery was simply embarrassing, they used my (After Effect's) erratic output to - I suspect - win back some face at not being able to do the scene as well - after much battling with After Effects the decision was to use my render as a guide only for the Inferno operator - such was the inability of several professionals to output an identical file.After 15 years in this game that was f*&king disappointing and not a little bit embarrassing as I am sure you might imagine.