Linear Color Workflow in AE7, Part 4

What goes up must come down, and what was input must be output.

In Part 1 we discussed converting your sRGB footage to your AE7 project's linear working space via the Color Profile Converter effect. Thanks to the ICC display compensation, these linear images look correct on your calibrated monitor — but what happens when it's time to render?

Once again, it's Color Profile Converter to the rescue. What I like to do is create a comp called something like "Video Output," and in this comp I create an Adjustment Layer with the the Color Profile Converter effect set to Input: Project Working Space, Output: sRGB (or whatever the input was).

The first thing you'll notice when you do this is that your image looks too bright. The display compensation doesn't know that you've gammafied your image, so it's still correcting as if it was linear. You're double-gammaed! The solution is to go to the View menu and set Proof Setup to Unmanaged, and then turn Proof Colors on. This confusing two-step turns off ICC display compensation for this comp, and now your image should look correct once again (although without the benefit of any color management at all).

This Proof Colors setting is remembered per comp, but if it ever gets messed up, just remember that linear comps need Proof Colors off, and vid comps need it on.

Now you can apply any last color corrections that you may wish to do in vid space, such as the three-way color balancer, and then output to your usual formats. You've succesfully round-tripped video footage though a linear, floating-point color pipeline in After Effects!