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How do you use the ACES workflow? How to use ACES to set LUTs?

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Purely my opinion: I'm not a fan of ACES because I don't like the feel of the controls. I feel like the tone-mapping is fighting me too much.

I think RCM2 can work to a point, but there's also value in using CST nodes to "normalize" the camera source material instead, basically doing it all manually. (And I credit Joey D'Anna from MixingLight for this idea.) 

I'm the "NO LUTS" guy who would prefer to come up with a look with PowerGrades, since it gives you more control over any image problems. Of course, a Technical LUT or a Show LUT can work, and if the client insists on it, we'll use it. Custom LUTs can also work under the right conditions.

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Many movies are done with ACES, and the colors look very full and beautiful.
Teacher, do you use any default color space when you grade?
Teacher, do you always use CST for color conversion? Why not do color management directly in RCM.

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"Most" movies is in the eye of the beholder. There's lots and lots of different ways to work nowadays. I think even Netflix will allow facilities to use other kinds of color management as long as you deliver ACES in the end. And you can deliver ACES-compatible files with Red Color Management 2.

I do a lot of stuff manually, but much of what I do is just for Rec709. We are using RCM2, so I have the ability to change the pipeline if we wind up in HDR/Dolby Vision, but that still requires a trim pass. We've proven it works, so I'm confident it's a good way for us to handle sessions.

I often say, "the power of Resolve is that it gives you multiple ways to do the same thing." You have to make the decision which method is best for you. As long as the final color is right and the files are acceptable, everything is fine. 

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On 6/27/2021 at 9:41 AM, Marc Wielage said:

There's lots and lots of different ways to work nowadays.

There's lots of tutorials on YouTube  with titles like "Five Mistakes Amateur Colourists Make" and "The Pro Colourist Secret to  Beautiful Cinematic Images".

It's trying to sell the idea that there's a right way and all other ways are inferior/wrong.  I appreciate there's a certain amount of click-bait going on here, but looking at the number of 'likes' and general comments, a lot of people are being sucked into this way of thinking.

One of these 'secret-sauce' ideas is that by working in ACES, you'll automatically achieve the so-called cinematic look. It seems to me that every pro colourist that takes the time to comment on their workflow, will have a different way of achieving their goal.  It's about developing your own style and methods to achieve the results that clients want.

Unfortunately, many aspiring colourists don't want to hear this as it involves patience and a few years of 'skill-honing' (is that a word?) They want the industry secrets they think top colourists jealously guard.

I'm not suggesting that you can just grade in any haphazard manner. There's much that professional colourists can teach about being methodical  and efficient in your approach, but that doesn't have the wow factor that pulling out some fancy LUT that will do all the work for you.

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6 hours ago, Bruno Mansi said:

There's lots of tutorials on YouTube  with titles like "Five Mistakes Amateur Colourists Make" and "The Pro Colourist Secret to  Beautiful Cinematic Images".

It's trying to sell the idea that there's a right way and all other ways are inferior/wrong.  I appreciate there's a certain amount of click-bait going on here, but looking at the number of 'likes' and general comments, a lot of people are being sucked into this way of thinking.

One of these 'secret-sauce' ideas is that by working in ACES, you'll automatically achieve the so-called cinematic look. It seems to me that every pro colourist that takes the time to comment on their workflow, will have a different way of achieving their goal.  It's about developing your own style and methods to achieve the results that clients want.

Beautifully said, Bruno. I always say, "the beauty of Resolve is that there's often at least 4 or 5 different ways to get good results. The key is to use the one with which you're comfortable, and the one that works the fastest (for you). I never tell another colorist how to work, because if they get good results, if the client is happy, and if the check clears... then there is no problem.

It is possible to NOT work in ACES, but still deliver an ACES-compatible archival file at the end of the process if the client wants one. That's covered in the manual. 

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