Grading on the timeline with ACES

setting up for a grade to come in and grade on the timeline using the IMAGE FX tab. all the VFX is ACES cg. I’m keeping the timeline with a CM to convert to rec 709 and then a top layer gap effect of a rec 709 CM as well. this seems to work and give me all the looks and outputs to QuickTime I need. only thing is the image node just is hard to use and makes everything burnt out. is it better that a the image mode goes before the CM node so your working on aces cg images. or lose the CM node on the clip and just allow the top gap fx to be the final conversion for output?? just trying to give the best image for the grader to grade on the timeline

If there is a way you can get the ACEScg footage converted to ACEScct upstream of the grade, the color tools will behave much more natrually. If it’s possible, I would also let the colorist handle the conversion to rec709 in the Image node rather than doing it as a layer, but that may not work if you need to deliver to other color spaces.

I’m sure I can do that - I was using the FX tools in green at the moment it goes CM into image. so I can change that to CM aces cg to aces ccT then the image node. then I have to have the top gap fx covering it back to rec 709 though. so I guess that would be source to 709.

actually I don’t need to deliver to anything other 709. so I can set the image node to have a 709 on the output?

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Yeah if you grade before the conversation from ACES to rec709 you should find that it behaves much better. In fact you might find it is hard to get any extreme burn out. The curve of the highlights in the ACES ODT should give you a very nice fall off.

I’m wondering what the two timeline CM conversations are doing? Just have the top one going from ACES to rec709.

Grade using the image node on ACEScg or ACEScct, up to you but the ACEScc and ACEScct were designed with grading in mind.


you need the top line when you export - otherwise it takes whatever it thinks is the colour space - well from a first clip type of thing. so putting a gap f on the top means that whenever I export its always I the right colour space. thanks for your help will try all of this

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This is how I’d approach it:

CM (green) > Image (green) > CM (gray)

  • CM green: Input Transform, set the working space to ACEScct
  • Image green: Set the controls for any master grade nodes to Log under the Image Type menu
  • CM gray: View Transform, set the View Transform to ACES 1.1 SDR-video (Rec.709 limited), Display set to Rec.709 video

If your source is tagged as ACEScg then you’ll wind up with lots of latitude for grading and each clip will be set to Rec.709 for output so you wouldn’t need an additional layer in your timeline to help manage that.

You’ll want to set your viewer to Context > Primary Track when working in the Image FX so you can see your grade in context of the ACES to Rec.709 conversion.


maybe I fail to see the problem, I like to grade on linear using image so here is my workflow:

make sure you use the aces preset for the view transforms:

Auto convert/input transform all clips to acesCG.

Put a view transform CM as a gapFX on top of the grade, from source to 709.

and you are done, you now see through the view transform in effects tab and through the gapfx in the timeline, both will look the same, so consitent viewing and nothing is blown out.

I preffer linear for grading almost just for the exposure slider…

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Yup totally agree with Finn, I much prefer grading in linear.

Here’s my simple setup for grading in Flame:

Maybe it’s helpful.


Just an option here if you don’t want to have that extra timeline layer: On export turn on “Use LUT” and choose View Transform to do the same rec709 conversion.

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Most of the color work I do is Alexa and I like the way Image node responds to it. On the occasion that I get RED or other footage I do an input transform to Alexa Wide Gammut, grade with that, and then View Transform it out to rec709.

Not the perfect solution but it works much the same as converting to ACEScg or cct.


I would go nuts grading and not having control after the rec709 conversion. The roll-off is mostly a huge blessing, but sometimes a tiny curse that can be dispelled by lowering the blacks in OutputGrade.

very helpful thanks for uploading that,. and what changes if you have aces cg workflow. I was trying to use the image node on the timeline just to make it feel more like a grading thing. in an aces workflow how do you set the image node so it only grades within rec 709 legals as the grade we just did looked alway n 709 but great in aces… all crushed and burnt out. so I guess we pushed it too much and 709 couldn’t cope

I tend to work on ACEScg using the rec709 viewing LUT.

So the grade that I make on my ACES footage looks exactly the same when I convert from ACES to rec709.


Hi. The conversion from ACES to REC 709 shouldn’t visibly change the image. Just checking a couple of things that might be the issue.

Do you have the project settings set to ACES 1.1:

And when converting from ACES to REC 709 are you using a Colour Management node with View Transform set as follows:

That is setup to convert from ACES CG, but the same would apply to ACES CC, you would just have to change the Tagged Colour Space input box accordingly.

Also were you in a 16bit floating point timeline, because if you were in say a 12bit timeline working in ACES CG, then it would look ok in that track, but if you had the conversion on the track above, the 12bit timeline would clip the data and make it look weird.

So if you are grading in ACES CG or ACES CC you should be able to perfectly convert to REC 709 post grading without any visual change.

As an aside, you mentioned “I was trying to use the image node on the timeline just to make it feel more like a grading thing.” But actually I find grading in BFX in the normal timeline much more like a node based Resolve workflow. It gives you much more flexibility than the effects tab, at least for me anyway.


Yea its the reason why most colorists dislike aces.

I dont like the default aces rec709 “look” either, so i usually use my own, which you can do too.

you just nake your own view transform and use that instead of the aces 709 :slight_smile:

Kind of resurrecting this thread.
I’ve been grading in ACES for quite a while now. Usually using Alexa Wide Gamut or RED IP so it normally shows as ACES_CG. I will add a Source Image Node and then a REC709 node to keep me sane. I always grade before any resize node so that if I need to export material, it grades the full resolution, not the timeline resolution.
I’ve played with the convert to aces_cc/image node/convert to rec709 workflow. I’m seeing a bit better color rendition of flesh tones on certain shots. But not seeing much else. I do grade in video mode.
Can anyone tell me what the advantage is, if there is one?

I guess that because you grade in ACES you can then target any number of different outputs, like rec709 or DCI-P3, using different ODTs.

Although I imagine that targeting cinema P3 would be a little more involved than just slapping on a different output transform.

Also I bet having a unified colour space to grade would be a lot better than jumping around log-c , red log etc.

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More than anything else that’s what I like about ACES.
For me it’s only REC709

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