Best practices in After Effects for applying CDLs

Enthusiast ,
Apr 29, 2022 Apr 29, 2022

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We've got VFX turnovers (EXR files sequences) that come with CDLs (SAT/SOP)

 

Mostly the VFX Vendors take care of all this on their end, but occasionally our AEs have to do it.


What are various & best practices for applying CDLs in After Effects.

 

Ideally we're looking at fast, reliable, and ultimately automateable using ExtendScript / Custom HTML Panel Extension

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Enthusiast , May 02, 2022 May 02, 2022
@Mylenium UPDATE -- so it turns out After Effects does have the ability to handle CDLs natively -- or at least using native plugins that come with the Adobe Cloud.  It's a little hidden: To test, add a Lumetri color effect to a CompThen Basic Correction  >  Input LUT  >  pulldown for "Browse" or "Custom"and instead of choosing a LUT, choose a CDL.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 30, 2022 Apr 30, 2022

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AE has no way of dealing with CDLs directly. It always relied on third-party tools like older versions of Colorista and MB Looks to handle that. If you know the values, you can of course re-create it with stock effects and that can be canned into an animation preset. Otherwise you'd ideally bake everything into a LUT for use with footage interpretation and the color profile converter effect.

 

Mylenium

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Enthusiast ,
Apr 30, 2022 Apr 30, 2022

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Thanks @Mylenium 

@Mylenium wrote:

AE has no way of dealing with CDLs directly.


After scouring menus and docs that was increasingly my impression.  Thanks for confirming.

 


@Mylenium wrote:

If you know the values, you can of course re-create it with stock effects and that can be canned into an animation preset. Otherwise you'd ideally bake everything into a LUT for use with footage interpretation and the color profile converter effect.


In this case we've got an overall show LUT and a separate CDL for each take.

(This is a TV series w/ a lot VFX where we send EXR sequences to various vendors, who apply the LUT and CDLs (not in After Effects) resulting in a offline & online media that perfectly matches the colors in dailies.  Trying to achieve the same in AE)

 

I started testing with Prolost CDL, and automated it to apply .cc / .cdl files with a simple drag-n-drop.

That's cool but after applying the show LUT and and CDL values the shots aren't anywhere in the ballpark of matching our dailies.  Perhaps Prolost isn't part of the solution, but more likely this has become an question of understanding why the show LUT -- which works fine for our vendors -- isn't working in AE.

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Enthusiast ,
May 02, 2022 May 02, 2022

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@Mylenium UPDATE -- so it turns out After Effects does have the ability to handle CDLs natively -- or at least using native plugins that come with the Adobe Cloud.  It's a little hidden:

 

To test, add a Lumetri color effect to a Comp

Then Basic Correction  >  Input LUT  >  pulldown for "Browse" or "Custom"

and instead of choosing a LUT, choose a CDL.

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