Visual Effects Society
December 6, 2012

Visual Effects Society

LOS ANGELES — The Visual Effects Society Technology Committee ( has released its white paper titled “Cinematic Color: From Your Monitor to the Big Screen.”
The white paper, intended for computer graphic artists and software developers interested in color management, introduces techniques currently in use at major production facilities.

The document draws attention to challenges that are not covered in traditional color-management textbooks or online resources, and often passed along only by word of mouth, user forums or scripts copied between facilities.

The 54-page white paper contains text, diagrams, tables and images that address:

- Technical issues that can arise in handling texture painting, lighting, rendering, compositing and image display in the theater.

- Color science, color encoding and scene-referred and display-referred colorimetry; extending these concepts to their use in modern motion picture color management.

- Recent efforts on digital color standardization in the motion picture industry (CES and CDL), and how to experiment with these concepts for free using open-source software (OpenColorIO).

Jeffrey A. Okun, chair of the Visual Effects Society, comments, "The VES is proud to be publishing this paper on the science and workflow of color. Given how important this is to the industry at large, it’s a giant step forward in bringing all parties together on a unified understanding. The VFX Technology Committee has been working diligently on this white paper, and it’s exactly the kind of effort that artists can expect from the VES Technology Committee now and in the future – doing hard work to make a difference."

Rob Bredow, Visual Effects Supervisor, Sony Imageworks and VES Technology Committee chair, adds, "It has been a real pleasure to work with Jeremy Selan and the talented members of the VES Technology Committee to bring this paper to the VFX and Animation community. This paper truly represents state-of-the-art color science as it applies to production workflows from a pragmatic and accurate point of view. We hope the VFX community finds it to be a valuable reference. I want to thank the VES and the rest of the VES Technology Committee for their support of these efforts to improve the workflows of artists at studios around the world."

The white paper was authored by Jeremy Selan and reviewed by members of the VES Technology Committee, including Rob Bredow, Dan Candela, Nick Cannon, Ray Feeney, Andy Hendrickson, Gautham Krishnamurti, Sam Richards, Jordan Soles, and Sebastian Sylwan. 

The VES Technology Committee has assembled an expert panel that can be reached at for questions and comments related to the document.