In many cases this can be the most efficient workflow, still flexible and producing the best quality. The basic idea behind Unicolor is that it provides lossless and reversible conversions between a list of color curves and gamuts.
- No LUTs involved, which can create quality issues. The processing precision is full FP32 math.
- Losssless and reversible
- You can grade in any curve and gamut you choose, using the "sandwich workflow" as follows:
First you convert your input media into the grading space/curve. If you used RAW media, frequently the 'cameraParams" effects of Mistika allow to convert straight to your preferred gamut/curve. (for example Arri Log C or any other you prefer )
If the cameraParams controlled codec does not provide the desired grading gamut/curve combination, you can set it to some common format (like P3 gamut + linear light curve) and then use an Unicolor instance to convert that common format into the desired grading gamut/curve. This is the lower part of the sandwich.
Past colour grading and other effects, you use an instance of Unicolor to convert from the chosen grading gamut/curve into the delivery gamut/curve - this is the upper part of the sandwich.
Pure ACES workflow:
Notice that Unicolour supports only spaces that can be described in math only as a gamut plus a curve. ACES does not fit into this description, plus described in math it is too complex so it requires the use of a LUT. Also, the ACES ODTs were designed to be output-only and do not work well in inverse mode.
But sometimes you may be requested to produce a pure ACES workflow. For example to produce identical result than other application that are also constrained to pure ACES specificatons. In this case the effects stack is pretty similar, but there will be some differences in order to complain with the ACES official workflow, with all its advantages and disadvantages. It would be as follows:
Do the extraction of each camera raw to ACES, typically by using the corresponding cameraParams effect set to ACES extraction, (if that is not available for your camera then do the extraction to the best supported standard and convert to ACES with an Unicolour effect). This step will also permit to equalise different cameras from different manufacturers as much as possible ( in a same lighting situation they should produce the same colours once they are converted to ACES , not counting lense and camera intrinsic differences like resolution, noise, etc).
The resulting image will be linear (as per the ACES standard), so it needs to be converted to a more suitable color space for color grading. The ACES official curve for this is ACES cc, so you will use the Unicolour effect to apply that curve
Apply the colour grading and normal effects
Apply ACES ODT effect, from ACES + ACES cc to the desired color space for the particular display.
Finally, if you want to produce a pure ACES master or a pure ACES version to collaborate with other ACES applications remove the ACES-ODT and put an Unicolour effect from ACES cc to ACES linear, so you can deliver in this format.
Notice that in this workflow , for deliveries as per the pure ACES specification, the upper Unicolor node converting from working space has been replaced by the Mistika ACES-ODT node. This node interpret the official ACES .ctl files from the different manufacturers. You can install additional .ctl files in the corresponding folder (ACES_V1.0).