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Do you colour grade/correct first or do the VFX first?

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you always do the VFX to the original footage or to the online intermediate format used in the whole pipeline. not to the color corrected versions. the idea is to use the best quality original footage in vfx to maintain best quality but to maintain color consistency at the same time and to be able to change the grade after the time-consuming vfx is made (the vfx team just ADDS the effects to the material, NOT changes the colors. otherwise it's impossible to match the effected clip's color to the other ones of the same scene when you grade the movie. RAW post pipeline can be challenging because someone has to decide which raw processing settings to use to the vfx shots BEFORE any color grading or VFX is done and different software can do the raw processing differently. usually it's most practical to do the grade in RAW but do the VFX in RGB to be absolutely sure that the vfx pipeline does not affect the colors, just adds to and removes elements from the image.


If using anything but RAW in the post pipeline (RGB, YUV formats) you can do the color correction to the version which has no vfx yet and the vfx team can do the effects to the uncorrected original materials at the same time, then when the vfx is ready you replace the original clips in color correction software with the effected ones. This way you can start color correction without needing to wait that all of the vfx is ready, and when they are finished you simply replace the original clips in grading software with the effected ones and copy the same grading settings.


one usual way is to do online in, for example, 10bit dpx (all movie first rendered to intermediate standard format, for example dpx or tiff, and then it all goes to color correction but the vfx images are hand-picked from the dpx of tiff sequence in online software, vfx is made to them working in dpx and when ready they are added to the grade in dpx and the grading settings are copied.



for example, if you have a scene where a boy and a girl talk on the street, and there is one sky replacement shot and one vfx explosion in the scene. if you are grading raw you should first do the online and import all the movie to the color grading software. Then, you have to make the raw "developing" to the scene (not necessarily to the other scenes of the movie, just this one which involves effects.)

Now you have the roughly corrected image (ONLY the raw settings touched: ISO, color temperature, debayer, etc. DO DOT touch the rgb processing section! )

Now when you have all the settings made to the scene which you have to do in raw, you can render the vfx shots in as less compressed format as possible. 16-bit TIFF sequence could be most useful.

You'll hand these tiff sequences to the vfx team, and now you can grade the whole movie, but you CAN'T touch anymore to that particular vfx-involving scene's raw settings, only the rgb ones.


When the vfx shots are ready, you will import them to the grading software manually over the original raw files (the import format can be 16-bit tiff or dpx for example) and now you have to copy the rgb settings from the raw sky replacement original and explosion shot to the version the vfx team provided. the same process can be used when importing vfx versions and tests to the grade.


I hope that makes sense :lol:

You should discuss with your Colorist and VFX supervisor about this. the only very important thing is that you have to be able to control how the RAW files are "developed" BEFORE anyone adds VFX to them, otherwise you'll have color inconsistency in the scene or you can't touch scene's raw settings anymore in grading because all of them have to match to the settings which the vfx team decided to use when they made the effects :ph34r:

Otherwise they have to do all the effects again and that'll not make them happy <_<

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The only slight glitch here is if someone's done some VFX and someone else throws, for instance, a load of contrast on it which can start to make the, er, edges show.


Then you might have to go back and tweak.



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you're welcome :)


If possible to do, it could be very useful if you can hand rough color correction LUTs of the shots to the VFX team, this way they can test the effects with rough

grade and make sure the compositing edges etc. possible errors do not show when the intended contrast settings are added later in grading

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