Color Spaces of the VFX Pipeline Part 5: Workspace

Color Space vs Color Models

In Part 4 “Storage Space”, we explored the options and virtues of different image file formats for storing our VFX images. Here we move to the next stage of the production pipeline for our VFX shots by asking what happens when our thoughtfully stored images are loaded from disk into the “workspace” which is the color space where all of the image processing and color correction operations will be done. This will serve as a guide towards choosing a workspace that will protect the quality of your work and provide future-proofing . Most apps will give you a choice of work spaces with Nuke being the rare exception. Nuke’s work space is linear light space unless you know how to trick it into working in other color spaces such as sRGB or Rec. 709. Note that Nuke’s “linear light space” is not a true color space, while sRGB and Rec. 709 are. More about that in a bit.

Color Spaces of the VFX Pipeline

Did you know that a 10 bit log DPX image actually holds the equivalent of 12 to 14 bits of linear data?

The way to think of the VFX color pipeline is as a sequence of operations where the data is depleted at each step, but by starting with high quality data and properly managing the VFX pipeline you can ensure that your VFX not only look great on the intended display device, but will also be future-proofed to look good on display devices of the future.

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