Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ProEXR 1.9 beta

There have been some significant changes in the world of OpenEXR this year, so it's time to incorporate some of them into ProEXR. The changes are big enough that I felt it best to release 1.9 in beta form and leave ample time for testing and feedback. Download links and more details after the jump.

Monday, December 16, 2013

WebM and Theora plug-ins for Premiere (beta)

When people think about video in HTML5, they usually think H.264. But many browsers also support Theora (.ogv) and WebM, two video formats that have the advantage of being truly open, with no patent licensing fees required for the privilege of using them.

Theora and WebM actually share a common heritage in the VPX codecs created by On2 Technologies. On2 gave their VP3 codec to the Xiph.Org Foundation in 2001, while Google got VP8 when it acquired On2 in 2010. Now both codecs, once proprietary, are open source and freely available, attempting to unseat H.264 as the preferred web video format.

The only problem is that my favorite video editor, Adobe Premiere Pro, has no way of reading or writing these formats…until now. I've taken the open source encoders and built Premiere plug-ins around them (they also work in Adobe Media Encoder). The plug-ins themselves are open source as well, currently in a beta release. Find download links in the ReadMe on their respective GitHub pages:

The Theora repository also has a plug-in for using Ogg/Vorbis, Opus, and FLAC audio files in Premiere. Vorbis is a similarly free alternative to MP3 (Both Theora and WebM use it for audio compression), Opus is a new high-quality codec, and FLAC is the Free Lossless Audio Codec.

WebM is actively being developed by Google. There is talk of supporting alpha channels and lossless compression in the future. If they follow through, WebM could become a reasonable movie format for use in production.

Please download, experiment, and send feedback. And enjoy!

Update: the WebM plug-in is now released!

WebP plug-in for Photoshop (beta)

A side project of the Google's WebM open source video format is WebP, a still image format based on the VP8 codec. WebP supports both lossless and lossy compression and claims to do each better than PNG (lossless) and JPEG (lossy). WebP also supports an alpha channel.

I was naturally curious about this new format, so I've made a Photoshop plug-in to use it. Like WebP itself, the plug-in is open source and currently in beta release. Download links can be found by visiting my WebM project on GitHub.

There is an entirely seperate open source WebP plug-in available from Telegraphics if you want to try that too.

Update: In 2019 Google posted their own Photoshop plug-in, which includes a preview. Download it from the GitHub page.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

ProEXR 1.8

Eagle-eyed Adobe watchers who have read through the list of features in the next version of After Effects have seen that it will include version 1.8 of the ProEXR plug-ins. Yes, such a thing does exist, and I'm releasing it today. The next AE may not ship for a little while, but you can grab these plug-ins now and use them in whichever version you've got, all the way back to CS3.

This is a modest release, befitting a 0.1 version upgrade. The flashiest new feature is found in After Effects, something called channel caching. The quick explanation is that an EXR with many channels will read much faster if you turn it on (go to the Interpret Footage dialog and click the More Options button). More details in this blog post.

Version 1.8 also contains a year's worth of minor bug fixes, optimizations, and other improvements to all the plug-ins in ProEXR. And yet they are completely compatible with the previous versions, so fear not.

The update is free, as always. I recommend you upgrade ASAP.


How to read an OpenEXR file quickly

Over the past few years I've spent quite a bit of effort figuring out how to read OpenEXR files quickly, particularly files containing many channels. The short answer is that for maximum speed, all the channels in an EXR should be loaded using a single read operation. ProEXR for Photoshop has been doing this for a while; now with the channel cache, After Effects can do it too.

Continue reading for more than any sane person would ever want to know about the channel cache in AE.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DCI Converter

When I released a JPEG 2000 plug-in for Premiere that had an option to perform XYZ color space conversions for DCI, I managed to open a little can of worms.

My goal was to match the conversion done in After Effects when using the "DCDM X'Y'Z'(Gamma 2.6) 5900K (by Adobe)" profile, but other programs seem to perform this conversion differently. Rather than debate whether I was doing it right or wrong, I decided the best thing to do was make my code visible and open for commentary and include a document describing the steps I was taking. You can see it here on GitHub.

Because a snippet of color conversion code isn't very interesting by itself, the repository also includes a plug-in for After Effects and Premiere Pro (CS5 and above) that you can download below. It can also convert from XYZ back to RGB, so that will let you view your DCI files properly in Premiere. (If you use this plug-in to convert to XYZ in Premiere, make sure you turn off the XYZ conversion in j2k.)

Update: It has been called to my attention that a step was missing from my conversion process: XYZ normalization. Hooray for open source! You can learn about it in the ReadMe, but a new parameter has been added and I'm leaving it on by default. This means DCI Converter's default settings no longer exactly match Adobe's. I've also spread the change to j2k in Premiere.

Update: Been talking with Adobe, and it's becoming more clear that using the Rec. 709 response curve is not the right choice for most people. According to BT.1886, a professional HDTV broadcast monitor has a simple gamma 2.4. So if you approve the final look of your video on such a monitor, that's the transfer function you should be using. If you approved it on an sRGB computer monitor, than use that curve. For now I'm not going to change the plug-in's defaults, which would introduce some technical issues in AE. We'll still adhere to the original design goal of matching Adobe's profile even as we cast doubt upon it, but I suggest you at least try using gamma 2.4.

Version: 0.7
Date: 3 September 2014
Mac | Win