2022 – new section and new articles on the horizon

Happy new 2022! In my WordPress site I have several topics that I started in 2021 but I was not able to finish. I am looking forward to present them hopefully in the near future.

The new topics are not directly related to ACES, that’s why I created a new section called “Exploring HDR displays” on this WordPress site.

One article, at least a first part, I am able to present today. The blurry red star on a cyan background. Since I read the blog from Troy Sobotka I got fascinated with this image. The top image shows how it should look and the second image shows how it looks far too often when you try to recreate this image for yourself.

Dig in into “Understanding pixel values and the EOTF“.


got a small update. With the new versions of the operation systems MacOS Monterey and iOS 15 I need to check again on which devices HDR is supported. There are some strange changes.
For example I could always show my demo files on the iPhone 11 Pro. Now I got a new iPhone 13 Pro and the same page does not work anymore.

I also got the new M1 MBP with an XDR display, so I decided to update the subdomain hdr.toodee.de with some more detailed information on which device and with which browser or app this page actually works as intended.

Check out the updated page on hdr.toodee.de.

in between projects

Blender 3.0 lighting tests, converting a finished drone footage trailer from SDR to HDR in FCPX and filming with the new iPhone 13Pro in the ProRes format.

Blender 3.0 entered the beta phase, so I thought it is time to update the Blender and ACES 1.2 page. I found a Blender lighting tutorial video on YouTube from FlippedNormals.com and this animated me to follow along with the Blender 3.0beta version.

A fun tutorial to follow along.

At the same time I was testing the latest version of the AMD RadeonProRender 3.3 for Blender as my 2020 iMac has a Radeon Pro graphics card.

I ended up rendering some stills of the sculpture head in Blender 3.0 with ACES 1.2. As the view transform I used sRGB.
The Radeon ProRender does not officially support Blender 3.0, so I used Blender 2.93.5 and Filmic to light the scenes.

My three renders in SDR.

The finished renders I imported into Resolve in ACES 1.3 mode and for the ODT I chose the HDR output ST-2084 1.000 (P3D65limited). My iMac does not show me a proper output on the UI viewer in Resolve, so I simply graded the stills to around 700 Nits peak brightness with the help of the scopes and checked the results on an iPadPro XDR.
For the SDR version, I switched to the ACES/sRGB output and started the color corrections from scratch.

The HDR version or the three renderings.
Why not keyframe the three light situations and create a light animation. Rendered with the AMD ProRender engine and with Cycles in ACEScg and the same light animation, but different shaders and light intensities.

And last but not least, the two render sequences using the OpenDRT (0.090b2 from Jed Smith) display rendering transform and some additional grading in FCPX.

A quick test with the OpenDRT instead of the ACES RRT&ODT.

And here is another little test that I was able to for a personal project of Florian Zachau from Sehsucht that he shot on his SKYDIO 2 drone. He sent me his finished edited and graded project as a UHD ProRes file, I gave it a shot and converted it in FCPX to HDR.

The camera source files and his graded master are done in SDR, but the overall images have already such a big contrast, so it was easy to stretch the sun and lights even further out and make them brighter. I tried to hide the sun disc a little bit more and desaturated areas around the sun. A bit of grain was added and the converted ProRes file handed back to Florian.

Sure, there are compression and other artifacts from pushing the material even further, but on a mobile screen the image looks just cool! Thanks to Florian to be able to add a bit of “spice” to his cool trailer video.

Amazing drone footage shot by Florian Zachau, edited and graded in Resolve.

For the last little project I did a walk alongside the Elbe in Hamburg and filming close to dawn on a sunny autumn day in November.

The shots were filmed just from the hand holding the phone in HD 1080p@60fps in ProRes. The 20 GB heavy clips I imported into FCPX and created a little edit in a HDR/WideGamut. The source files are shot in HLG mode, and I tried in FCPX to to a conversion to PQ, but there is not much more that I could pull out of that footage. So I uploaded the slightly graded film from a ProRes HLG master file.

iPhone 13 Pro ProRes footage shot in HLG and finished in HLG
The same edit, but converted to PQ in FCPX and finished with some additional grading steps.

holiday links

At the end of my holidays I like to share a list of links of pages and articles that I read, and some videos that I watched or re-watched to learn while relaxing in the south of Spain in my favorite city of Seville. Be aware, it is getting nerdy 🙂

Sometimes it might be helpful to eliminate color when I try to get a better understanding of it. That’s why I revisited an older HDR clip and created a black&white version of it.

Blender & ACES update

Blender 2.93 and ACES 1.2 – Update of the setup page

It was time to update the Blender & ACES page. The blender development is so fast and new versions are coming out more frequent now. I try to check old bugs and limitations from time to time. That’s why I rendered some images again with the new version and restructured the setup page for Blender & ACES.

Blender 2.93 and ACES 1.2
10s turntable render in HFR & HDR (60fps)
and the same clip from YouTube. This clip shows HDR only directly in the YouTube app for some reason.
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Photoshop & ACES

Photoshop and ACES are not easy to bring together. Photoshop is a display referred tool while the ACES framework uses a scene referred approach. On many projects I am using Photoshop for retouch and cleanup work of still images while the comp is happening in ACES with Nuke or Flame.

A convenient way is to use the Photoshop Proof Setup as a view transform while retouching log encoded images.

A short clip in HDR, graded from the original source in FCPX.
A small before and after dissolve of the example project of the second article.
And the same clip as a 9×16 version, also as a HDR version.

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Resolve Studio HDR tests

Why can’t I see a proper HDR preview on an iMac2020/MBP2018 UI screen? In FCPX this is possible.

For some time now I am testing with HDR content in FCPX and Resolve Studio. FCPX works best for me with Alexa LogC material in HDR/WideGamut projects. In Resolve I set the project to ACES 1.1 and use the ST-2084 (1.000Nits P3D65limited) ODT for the tests.

Seeing HDR content in FCPX and review the exported ProRes444 files works the same convenient as with SDR footage. What you see inside FCPX is the same as in the Quicktime player.

In Resolve Studio (both V16&V17beta) this is a different story. I can also get a HDR preview in the Resolve UI, but it is vastly to bright. I can’ judge anything here. The exported result as a ProRes 444 however looks very similar to the FCPX output. I am aware that I am comparing two different color management systems and different HDR tone mapping curves.

The following screenshots don’t help much, as they can’t show the HDR values, but the most noticeable difference can be spotted on the grey background of the CG car render, and the overall overblown car paint appearance.

FCPX HDR/WideGamut project: A Rec.2020 working colorspace and a Dolby PQ view transform with a HDR tone mapping to 1.000 nits maximum.
Resolve Studio ACES 1.1 project: A ACEScct working colorspace and a ST-2084 (1.000 Nits P3D65limited) ODT.

I posted in the Blackmagicdesign forum with no success. I am not sure if this is a bug or I am just missing a button somewhere. I would expect the HDR preview to work very similar in FCPX & Resolve.

Blender Sky Texture ACES test

Quick test of the new Blender 2.9 sky-shader “Nishita” in ACES on the updated the page Blender & ACES Limitations.

And a quick FCPX HDR render of the 10 seconds clip that I rendered.

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Here are some Quicklinks to the articles that are most important to me at the moment. Everything else you can find here by scrolling down or checking the menu in the upper right corner: Panicpost – commercial break

  • HDR.toodee.de – a little subdomain which features only HDR content – updated in January 2021
  • SDR next to HDR – my latest article related to HDR, where I try to explain the advantages of HDR content from a perspective of media professionals who did not see their content in HDR (yet), but might like it. – from January 2021
  • Checking the Colorchecker – a closer look at Colorcheckers.
    – from January 2021
HDR (If it is presented visibly a lot brighter on your smartphone display.)
SDR screenshot taken from the HDR master (with ACES / Rec.709 output transform)
HDR edit available from Vimeo in HD resolution.
HDR edit available from YouTube up to UHD resolution.
Another collection of night photos shot in Barcelona in HD & HDR with a demo logo.

The “lazy” compositor

Use the “winner” HDRI from the previous article and render a car with “no” compositing effort.

The previous article was already a bit long, so I split it up into two parts. Here it now the second part. I go over the preparation of the footage, render a car model and place it in the plate.

Blender Cycles rendering and more or less a simple A over B in Nuke.
Resolve HDR trim pass of the same image. Really shows the “ping” in the specular highlights.

HDR content disclaimer

Please continue with 2.4.4. Refine and Render.

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