Game Development Reference
THE UTILITY EFFECTS
As the name implies, the Utility effects are utilitarian in purpose.
Nothing showy or fl ashy here. These effects, in general, will be
more useful to those in more professional workfl ows, including
those working with fi lm, managing color spaces, and using HDR
color. The exception here is the Grow Bounds effect, which is use-
ful for all After Effects users. Interestingly enough, the Utility effect
category is the only effects category in After Effects that contains
visual effects that all work at 32 bits.
The Cineon Converter Effect
To understand the Cineon Converter effect, we fi rst need to
back up a little and look at the Cineon (CIN) fi le format. CIN fi les
are most commonly used as a fi le format for scanned fi lm. Let's
say that someone has shot a movie using a fi lm camera. This
fi lm can be taken to a production facility, where the fi lm can be
scanned and digitized. When it becomes a digital fi le, CIN will
often be the fi le format of choice.
Now, there are a lot of issues here with the color space of
fi lm (and the CIN format) and the color space of video that are
beyond the scope of this topic. But you do need to know that CIN
fi les have a different way of working with color than video does.
CIN understands color in the logarithmic color space, while video
exists in the linear color space. Or, stated more simply, the colors
in CIN fi les are condensed to allow a wider dynamic range. The
darks in the CIN fi le are brighter than the original fi lm, and the
highlights appear darker than the original. This explains why CIN
fi les often look washed out or blended with gray.
Note that CIN fi les are 10 bits of color per channel. This allows
for more colors than 8 bits per channel (the After Effects default)
will allow. To get the most out of the color space of CIN fi les, make
sure your After Effects project is in 32-bpc mode. You can put
your project into 32-bpc mode by holding the Alt(Win)/Opt(Mac)
key while clicking the 8-bpc button at the bottom of the Project
Should You Use the
in “most cases,”
you should not use the
Cineon Converter effect.
You should instead convert
the colors in CIN fi les by
using After Effects's color
Among other things,
this allows for better
compositing with CIN fi les.
We'll still cover the basics
of the format and the
effect here, for the sake of