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OCIO and ACES in Pixotope


ACES, or the Academy Color Encoding System, is an open color management and interchange system developed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and industry partners. It:

  • standardizes the color science used in projects of all types

  • gives the industry a standardized color management system that encompasses:

    • production

    • post-production

    • presentation

    • archiving

In an industry with dozens of different camera systems, multiple encoding options, different display devices, etc The Academy saw a need for a system like ACES to manage color in a precise yet straightforward way, no matter the camera or display being used.

Many software developers have tackled color management in their own applications, but none of those solutions are industry-wide and open. ACES is an industry-standard color management solution that anyone can use to manage the color pipeline of any project.

To learn more about ACES, follow the links below:

Pixotope’s OCIO config is based on the ACES 1.1 configuration.

ACES working Color Spaces: ACEScg vs ACEScc vs ACES2065-1

Use this rule of thumb when thinking about an ACES pipeline for media production:

For live rendering: ACEScg

  • Preferred working color space for Pixotope and live VP production.

  • Good for intermediate exchange between DCCs in VFX or animation pipelines

  • Using ACEScg in an internal pipeline reduces the color processing needed to work on shots in other DCCs

  • Fine for archival purposes internally for vfx and animation studios if it is being used for production of the final shots

  • Uses API1 primaries

Optional for log based color grading: ACEScc or ACEScct

  • Specifically developed to support legacy film grading workflows

  • Makes color grading tools feel much more like they do when working in a log space that many colorists and some comp artists prefer.

  • ACEScc is a pure log function, but ACEScct has a "toe" near black, to simulate the minimum density of photographic negative film, and the legacy DPX or Cineon log curve.

  • Intended for internal use within a software package - not intended to store image data to disk with.

  • Uses API1 primaries

For interchange: ACES 2065-1

  • Also known as ACES

  • Highly recommended for interchange between facilities

  • Good for archival purposes

  • Colorists may choose to use ACEScct or even ACEScg or ACES2065-1, or perhaps even the camera encoding a project was shot on. Always exchanging ACES2065-1 guarantees consistency

  • Uses AP0 primaries


OpenColorIO (OCIO) is a complete color management solution geared towards television and motion picture production with an emphasis on visual effects and computer graphics. OCIO provides a straightforward and consistent user experience across all supporting applications while allowing for sophisticated back-end configuration options suitable for high-end production usage. OCIO is compatible with the Academy Color Encoding Specification (ACES) and is LUT-format agnostic, supporting many popular formats.

OCIO is fully user-configurable, and all color management knowledge resides in the color transforms and human-readable configuration files.

Pixotope currently supports the OCIO 2.1 implementation.

Learn more about how to Make your own OCIO configuration

Learn more about → OpenColorIO

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