…and your reds and your blues too .  Thank you very much, Portland Farmer’s Market!

As digital artists, color is something we deal with every day.  You can bank on that when you walk in the door each morning.  There will be color!  Yet few take the time to understand how the color pipeline works in our VFX tools.

Mostly because the science behind it has historically been hard to digest.  Like broccoli.  What, you don’t like peas?  Digesting how a pixel gets from VFX software to your eyeball is going to take a lot of graphs and pie charts.  Mmmm, pie!  Now that’s something worth digesting.  Brussel sprouts?  Not so much.  But they’re good for you, and you gotta occasionally gag them down.

Luckily for us, genius-type Jeremy Selan (the Godfather of Katana over at Sony Imageworks) has picked up the torch from Steve Wright and made things more towards pie rather than sprouts.  Yes, Steve “The Guy Who Wrote the Book I Throw at My Comp Class and Jr Compositor’s Heads And Hope it Knocks Some Sense Into Them” Wright.  Or maybe just Steve “The Blue Book Guy” Wright is easier to digest?   …and this is all about easy digestion today as opposed to concussions.  But what this isn’t about is Steve.  Still a must read, his book did a very good thing and explained part of the puzzle, which is kind of the “how a pixel becomes law” approach to end to end gamma down the chain.

Jeremy raises the bid so much I think he just went all in, Texas Hold ‘Em style.  He’s just unleashed a white paper called Cinematic Color:  From Your Monitor to the Big Screen that is pure, unadulterated, Grade A certified gold.  Nah…  platinum.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

Obscure bits like CIE colorspace – that of your own human eyeballs?

In there.

Linear workflow?  Covering both display-linear and scene-linear?


Macbeth charts?  Marcie?  3D Color Polyhedrons?

Oh yeah.  And more.

Ah Marcie, makin’ hair highlights look good (since 1994)

Sure, it’s both dorky AND nerdy.  I’d darn near call it nerky!  But it also accounts for why things occasionally look right or wrong on your screen, and is an essential step in tracking gremlins down when things get messy and color nodes and lighting tools stop doing what you expect them to.

This is the de facto color pipeline document to end all color pipeline documents, fully vetted by the VES brain trust and free for mass consumption.  Pick yourself up a copy and more info here.

And 1000 thank yous to Jeremy for putting this together and putting years of research and expertise out there.  Hats off to ya.  By the way, nice black and white website.  🙂