Intro to 32bpc in After Effects

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Intro to 32bpc in After Effects

A quick overview of some of the basics of working in 32 bit float (32bpc) inside of After Effects

32bit float | Zero to One, and Beyond | All the range you need

In this tutorial we take a look at a few concepts you should understand when working with 32bit float images in 32bpc mode in After Effects. We take a look at things like dynamic range, colour fidelity, motion blur, and realistic compositing.

If you have any comments or questions, please, feel free to ask!


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22 Responses to “Intro to 32bpc in After Effects”

  1. illd Says:


    this is a nice introduction to the 32-bit Mode in Ae. Thanks man. What I would like to now is what you think about a linearized working space and to enable linear blending in the projectsettings? I use it very often but somehow I only have good results with this when I turn colormanagement off inside AE…Is there something to take care of?

  2. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Hi there,

    I generally don’t work in linearized space in AE, even though, that’s technically the more correct way of working… The only time I work in a fully linearized workflow is when I’m working with film scans, and then, I’m generally working in Fusion.

    If you’re doing broadcast, and are not working with a team of 20 people, it’s probably ok to just work normally. The advantage to working in a linear colour space in a group setting is you know that everyone is working the same, so you can retain some consistency.

  3. Todd Kopriva Says:

    I just added a link to this tutorial in a comment on this page of After Effects Help:

    I think that people reading that page will benefit from coming to this tutorial of yours to see the visual examples that you provide, which do a good job of showing the differences between the various color depths.

  4. sample007 Says:

    wow, I’ve been using 8 bit mode for years. I never knew what I was missing. Great tutorial.

  5. conr4d Says:

    Great tutorial!
    But i have a question.
    You show these examples of using 32 bits in images that provides 14 bits? Or how much?
    Also if I have a footage which has 8 bpc (the most common) does it change anything if I color correct it in 32 bits?
    It won’t provide so much information as your example because it doesn’t have so much information
    And finally, if I work in 32 bpc how should i export it?

    Thank you for reply and for tutorial, really helpful!

  6. Alek Says:

    conr4d – I wanna know the exact same thing(s) as you – have you found answers yet?

  7. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Hey Alek and Con4d,

    If you’re doing some serious colour correction and manipulations of 8bit images in a 32 bit colour space, you will definately see advantages to working in 32 bits. The main advantage you get is that you won’t clip whites or blacks, if you happen to push colours over those values. You’re not going to have any magical new range in the image, but at least your manipulations will have more headroom to work with.

    If you’re going to export a 32bit image, the best way to do that is with a .exr file. Some TIFF formats also support 32bits, but it’s just safer to stick with EXR since it’s a standard file format that pretty much every application supports.

    Hope this helps!

  8. Alek Says:

    Hi Kert,
    thanks very much for your quick reply – it really helped!
    You mention exporting to EXR – what about if you’re exporting video?

  9. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Hey Alek,

    There’s no video format out there that supports 32bit floating point. The moment you want to compress to a quicktime, or some other AVI format, you’re going to clipping the data usually to 8-bit in the end. There are some codecs that support 10bit quicktimes, but I think they require special hardware (like blackmagic cards etc.)

  10. Alek Says:

    Thanks Kert – u da man!

  11. Daniel Says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! My question is actually from a different persepctive: I use 32 bits a lot in Nuke and Shake, but in After Effects I often find that many effects do not support 32bpc. I know there are workarounds (some are mentioned in the book “After Effects Studio Techniques”, but It’d be great to see as clear an explanation as the one you gave here.

  12. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Hey Daniel,

    I agree. There are a ton of filters in AE that don’t support 32bit, and it’s really a shame. Depending on the workflow of whatever project i’m working on, sometimes i’ll just render 16bit elements out of AE and comp them in Fusion, so I can work with them in 32 bit mode. Other times, the filters available in AE are enough to do the project. Most of the time, when you’re doing heavy composting work anyways, you’re not using too much more than simple tools, and the really fancy plugins don’t really come into play, so it’s not that big of a deal.

  13. Nelson Nunez Says:

    Kert, thank you for this tutorial, there isn’t too much info out there about this that presents it as clearly as you do.

    I’m going to check out your other tutorials!

  14. Michael Says:

    Nice Tut! I been currently working a lot in 32 bit mode and had a question in regards to the info palette/colors. Dont know if I read or heard it somewhere, but I thought while making color corrections and everything, that you should stay between the 0-1 range? Is that wrong? Can you go outside those ranges?

  15. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Hi Michael, By all means, you’re allowed to go outside the 0-1 range, but anything above 1.0 will be overbright, and you won’t be able to “see” it. All of the information will still be there, so no information gets clipped when it hits white, like it does when in 8 or 16 bit mode.

  16. roban Says:

    Hi Kert!! Thanks for all the great tutorials!! I have one question about 32 bit depth in Cinema 4d.. I render an 32 bit .exr image in Cinema 4d (13) , import it to after effects, but I don’t have the same result about the white and black color like in your video. Cinema 4d has a “fake” 32 bit depth?? I would really appreciate if you could help me with this.. Thanks!

  17. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Hum, i’m not sure what exactly could be going on there without looking at the files that C4D rendered. Did you make sure to change your AE project to 32 bit after importing the EXRs? Maybe there’s no overbright regions in your C4D render?

  18. roban Says:

    Hi! thanks for the fast answer! Yes, AE is on 32 bit…yes, it has bright areas, it’s the depth pass… I have an .exr file prom Maya, with depth pass (32 bit), I import it to AE and modify it with levels because of the outside 0-1 range… I’m trying to do this with Cinema 4d but I can’t achieve the outside 0-1 range… Thanks!

  19. Simon Holland Says:

    Yo! Ok, so i tinkered with this and got some acceptable results. I say tinker because i had no idea what the hell i was doing, if it is logical or whatever. but i Precomposed everything -Threw Colour Profile converter onto it (Changed Output profile to HDTV and intent to Perceptual) and chucked on HDR COmpander for good luck. I exported in Quicktime Animation because that is what I am used to and hey – this is gonna end up on youtube anyway next to viral cat videos. But hopefully something I did makes sense and will work for you. Good Luck!

  20. Renato Says:

    I have this question…If I work in photoshop with raw images, do I have to set anyway the project in 32 float point bit too? thank you…on my ipad is impossible to see this video…do you have an youtube channel?

  21. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says: – Also, RAW only works in 8 and 16bit from what I remember. If you want to work in float after that, you can set your project to 32bit

  22. Stephen Says:

    Great tutorial and very informative thank you. Can you suggest alternatives to using curves in 32bpc as this effect and preset doesn’t work the same it appears. For example I have an optical flare I want to crunch down the glow and bloom. Normally I would use curves to do this but effects don’t work. Any alternatives you can suggest.

    I really appreciate the time if you have to answer this.


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