After Effects color difference

Community Beginner ,
May 05, 2022 May 05, 2022

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Hello,

I have an issue where After Effects on 1 machine seems to be handling the color differently than it does on other machines, this is happening with multiple files that I tested.

 

In this one test (image included) I open the exact same AE file on 3 different machines (all Macs) and the Macbook is rendering the images with a slightly adjusted color than the other 2 machines. It is the exact same file, so the working color space in the project is set to be the same, and the export codecs were the same, and there is no setting I can find that is different between them (although admittedly I'm no AE expert so I'm hoping there is a setting I am unaware of).

When I open the project up it is even noticeable in the AE viewport that the color is looking different, so it's not just a export issue.

 

I was starting to think it was a issue with the Macbook, so I loaded up the same footage and LUT in Fusion to compare but it looks fine in Fusion, so I'm fairly certain it is a issue with After Effects not the computer.

I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling AE, but I am still getting the same result. 

 

Any help on figuring out why this one installation of AE is handling the color differently would be much appreciated.

Thank you

 

Image description, the first 3 panels are all rendered from the same file from different machines, as you can see the 3rd panel has a more green tint. the 4th panel is from the same computer that rendered the green tinted 3rd panel, but rendered from Fusion to show that it is a issue with the software not the computer.

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Error or problem , Import and export , Performance , Preview , User interface or workspaces

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Explorer , May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

Okay, one last thing - what's your souce footage? ProRes or something else?

 

Regardless, it may be worth turning off Prefs > Import > Video Footage > Enable Hardware accel' decoding to see if it's a weirdness of the hardware codec.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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And what are the actual color management settings? Footage interpretation? Screen settings? Hardware acceleration settings? You've written a lot, but not provided much actual info.

 

Mylenium

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Community Beginner ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Thank you for your reply,

The color management settings are turned off, as the working space is set to None, this setting was consistant for the file when rendered from all 3 machines. I'll include a image showing both my project color settings and footage interpretation for the file.

Good call on checking the hardware acceleration as I hadn't previously done that, but I did this morning, and the settings on both the M1 machines (the iMac and Macbook) were set to use "Mercury GPU Acceleration (Metal)", I tried changing it to "Mercury Software Only" (the only other option available) and it rendered out the a result with the same color offset as previous. (I have not checked this setting on the Intel iMac as I currently do not have access to that computer).

I am not sure which screen settings you are refering to for me to check, but all the results are from renders, and compiled on the same machine, none of the images were taken from screen captures, as I didn't want monitor differences to effect the previously provided image (As far as I am aware monitor and display settings shouldn't effect the render result, please correct me if I am wrong on that). As howiemnet has asked below, the color difference is a part of the rendered result, as when I viewed the movies on other machines they had the same color offset baked in, and vice versa the movies from other machines appear normal when viewed on the M1 Macbook, which is why I was able to compile the previous image to display the difference (the image was compiled and rendered out of Fusion, so still no screen captures involved).

If there is any additonal info required please let me know, and thank you for your help with this.

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Explorer ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Okay, one last thing - what's your souce footage? ProRes or something else?

 

Regardless, it may be worth turning off Prefs > Import > Video Footage > Enable Hardware accel' decoding to see if it's a weirdness of the hardware codec.

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Community Beginner ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Fantastic! yes I turned off the Enable Hardware accel, restarted AE and reimported my footage and now my comp looks proper. That seems to have done it, thank you both @howiemnet and @Mylenium for your help with this.  and probably not needed now, but to answer your question yes this was with ProRes source footage.

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Explorer ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Ace. Well that's something we need to be aware of, I guess. 

 

If you have time, could you snip out a few frames of that footage - perhaps with QuickTime Player or something other than AE, saved out as ProRes again - and log this as a bug? Being able to see some actual footage that clearly renders differently with hardware decoding on vs off is likely to make it much easier for the AE devs to track down what's going on.

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Explorer ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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It's a bit hard to diagnose because there are so many variables.

 

One thing I'm not quite clear on: it's apparent the colours look different on the Macbook AE render, but if you take the Macbook's output and view it on the other machine, does the colour shift carry across? Is that colour shift visible only on that machine, or has it become part of the rendered result?

 

Put another way - when you grabbed the panels from each machine to make your preview image above, did you pull all the renders onto one machine and grab them from there, or did you grab each shot from each machine?

 

(I'm assuming you're grabbing those panels from a rendered movie, not just screengrabbing from AE - am I right? If those panels are screenshots from AE, you may need to check you have Display Color Mgmt switched on and set to the same color space on all machines - View Menu)

 

The other thing we kinda need to know is what you've got going on monitor-wise, what colour space they're using and whether you've calibrated them (and in the case of the Macbook, depending on the particular model, the screen may be in sRGB mode, or P3 [wide-gamut] mode etc, which may look inconsistent next to other monitors)

 

Note that you don't need a hardware monitor calibration device to do a basic monitor calibration; doing the built-in macOS calibration is better than nothing.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Interesting. Are you using the same versions of OS X? There was quite a bit of kerfuffle until recently with PNG and JPEG files because one of the core math libraries had a bug. Perhaps that's figuring in here?! The rest sounds normal, but as a test I would assign a color profile in the project settings on the jinxed machine to see if it makes any difference. Otherwise I'd re-check the settings of the computer. I still have this ugly gut feeling that their may be a botched system color profile or a specific setting at work here. Perhaps an alternate virtual/ extended desktop inherited from an external monitor plugged in once or something like that...

 

Mylenium

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