DaVinci Resolve to After Effects Workflow - ALL 3 Methods

By integrating specific workflows, you can seamlessly transition between DaVinci Resolve and After Effects, maximizing the strengths of both platforms without compromising on quality or creative vision. This approach offers efficiency, flexibility, and maintains the integrity of your projects throughout the post-production process.

February 2, 2024
DaVinci Resolve to After Effects Workflow - ALL 3 Methods
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How To Work Between After Effects & DaVinci Resolve Simultaneously

Both After Effects & DaVinci have their own exclusive benefits (not to mention drawbacks), but say for instance, if you like the interface of DaVinci for editing and color correction, yet prefer the robust compositing capabilities of After Effects, you're faced with a challenge. How do you seamlessly integrate the two for a smooth workflow?

The Challenge:

  • Transferring intricate timelines and edits from DaVinci Resolve to After Effects without compromising on quality or losing data.

The Solution:

  • Implementing specific workflows that allow for a seamless transition between the two software, ensuring that your creative vision is not hindered by technical limitations.

Why It's Important:

  • Efficiency: No need to redo edits or effects when switching between platforms.
  • Flexibility: Leverage the strengths of both software without being restricted to one.
  • Quality: Maintain the integrity of your footage and edits throughout the post-production process.

What Can Be Achieved:

  • Integrated Color Management: Using systems like ACES, ensure consistent color representation across both platforms.
  • Smooth Transitions: Move between editing, color correction, and compositing without hiccups.
  • Enhanced Creativity: With the barriers between the two software removed, focus solely on bringing your vision to life.

Method 1: XML Export and Import

In DaVinci Resolve, after you've finished your edits, you'll need to export your timeline to bring it into After Effects. To do this:

  1. Navigate to the 'File' menu at the top left corner.
  2. From the dropdown, select 'Export' and then 'XML...'.
  3. A dialog box will appear. Here, choose your desired settings and save the XML file to a location you can easily access.

Importing XML into After EffectsNow, let's move to After Effects:

  1. Open After Effects and ensure you're in the 'Project' panel. If you can't see it, go to 'Window' in the top menu and ensure 'Project' is checked.
  2. Right-click in the blank space within the 'Project' panel.
  3. Choose 'Import' and then 'File...'.
  4. Navigate to the location where you saved the XML file from DaVinci Resolve and select it.
  5. After Effects will process the XML and your timeline from DaVinci Resolve should appear in the 'Project' panel.

Think of the XML file as a translator. It's like when you speak English and someone else speaks Spanish, you'd need a translator to understand each other. The XML file is that translator between DaVinci Resolve and After Effects.

Method 2: Render and Import with XML

Before you can bring your footage into After Effects, you need to render it out from DaVinci Resolve:

  1. In DaVinci Resolve, go to the 'Deliver' tab located at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Choose your desired render settings. For our purpose, a lossless format like 'DNxHR/DNxHD' is recommended.
  3. Click 'Add to Render Queue', then click 'Start Render'.

Exporting the XML FileJust like in Method 1, you'll need an XML file:

  1. Navigate to the 'File' menu.
  2. Choose 'Export' and then 'XML...'.
  3. Save the XML file in the same location as your rendered footage.

Importing Rendered Footage and XML into After EffectsBack in After Effects:

  1. In the 'Project' panel, right-click and choose 'Import' then 'File...'.
  2. First, import the rendered footage.
  3. Repeat the import process for the XML file.

This method ensures you have both the visual and data components. It's like baking a cake (the rendered footage) and then using a recipe (the XML) to decorate it in a specific way.

Method 3: ACES Pipeline Integration

The Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) is a high-quality color management system. Think of it as a universal language for colors. Just as musicians around the world use the same notes to create music, visual artists use ACES to ensure consistency in color.

Setting Up ACES in DaVinci Resolve

  1. In DaVinci Resolve, navigate to the 'Project Settings' located at the bottom right.
  2. Under 'Color Management', set the 'Color Science' to 'ACEScct'.
  3. Choose your desired ACES version and set your Input and Output Transforms.

Integrating After Effects and Resolve using ACESIn After Effects:

  1. Go to 'File', then 'Project Settings'.
  2. Under 'Color', set the 'Working Space' to match the ACES Output Transform you chose in DaVinci Resolve.
  3. Check the box that says 'Linearize Working Space'.

This setup ensures that the colors you see in DaVinci Resolve match what you see in After Effects. It's like ensuring two instruments are tuned the same way so they sound harmonious together.