Cinematic Color: From Your Monitor to the Big Screen

This paper presents an introduction to the color pipelines behind modern feature-film visual-effects and animation:

Authored by Jeremy Selan, and reviewed by the members of the VES Technology Committee including Rob Bredow, Dan Candela, Nick Cannon, Paul Debevec, Ray Feeney, Andy Hendrickson, Gautham Krishnamurti, Sam Richards, Jordan Soles, and Sebastian Sylwan.

The VES Technology Committee has assembled an expert panel that can be reached atves-tech-color@googlegroups.com with questions, comments and errata related to this document.

Topic Listing

  • Color Science Basics
  • Color Encoding, Color Space, Image States
  • Display-Referred Imagery
  • Scene-Referred Imagery
  • Color Correction, Color Space, “Log”
  • Motion-Picture Color Management
  • Digital Intermediate, Mastering, Delivery
  • Lighting, Rendering, Shading
  • Compositing
  • Texture and Matte Painting
  • Critical Inspection of Imagery
  • ACES
  • OpenColorIO
  • Lookup Tables (LUTs)
  • ASC-CDL
  • File Formats
  • DCI P3 and X’Y’Z’

External Links

Siggraph 2012 Course

This document originated as a companion to the Siggraph 2012 CourseCinematic Color: From Your Monitor to the Big Screen. Original course notes available for download: (pdf, 6.4 MB)

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