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Linear Workflow - The Whole Shebang!

By Daniel Dye
| Your Rating:
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| 7 Comments
| Comments 7
Date Added: 25th June 2012
Software used:
3ds Max, V-Ray, mental ray, Misc

1552_tid_fig03b.jpg
Fig.03b - Affect Color Selector: Enabled. Colors are displayed with a gamma of 2.2. This means the colors you select will match the colors in the final render when gamma corrected to 2.2.

1552_tid_fig03c.jpg
Fig.03c - Affect Material Editor: Disabled. Materials are displayed as Gamma 1.0, which makes correctly changing parameters difficult.

1552_tid_fig03d.jpg
Fig.03d - Affect Material Editor: Enabled. Materials are displayed as Gamma 2.2, correctly showing how the material will look once your final output is corrected to 2.2 Gamma.

4. Input Gamma: 2.2. Tells 3ds Max what gamma is already applied to images you are importing (such as texture maps). If you leave it on 1.0 you have to override the gamma for every diffuse image when loading the images through Bitmap, but it's much less work to set Input Gamma to 2.2 and only have to change normal, displacement, bump and HDR images to a gamma of 1.0 on import. Do keep in mind though that some formats such as TGA may have gamma settings that 3ds Max will read on import (Fig.04a - 04c).

1552_tid_fig04a.jpg
Fig.04a - Input Gamma: 1.0. 3ds Max assumes the gamma of the original imported image is 1.0, so applies a gamma of 2.2 unless you manually override the gamma to 2.2 on each texture you import. This results in an incorrect "double gamma" effect. The render on the right was done using Input Gamma: 1.0 and the resulting render (which has 1.0 gamma) was gamma corrected to 2.2 for final output. As you can see, this results in bright, washed-out textures.

1552_tid_fig04b.jpg
Fig.04b - Input Gamma: 2.2. This tells 3ds Max that the imported images have a gamma of 2.2, so no correction is done for the preview (because of our other settings telling 3ds Max to display with a gamma of 2.2). Behind the scenes though, 3ds Max is changing the gamma to 1.0 to allow for correct rendering. The render on the right was done using Input Gamma: 2.2 and the resulting render (which has 1.0 gamma) was gamma corrected to 2.2 for final output. This results in a correct render.


1552_tid_fig04c.jpg
Fig.04c - Here is a close up, split screen of the two renders above. Input Gamma: 1.0 on the left and Input Gamma: 2.2 on the right, both rendered with a 1.0 gamma and then gamma corrected to 2.2 for final output. You can see the brightness and contrast differences in the textures. This can be more evident depending on the texture.

5. Output Gamma: 1.0. This tells 3ds Max to save the rendered image with a gamma of 1.0. By doing this, we will have access to the full tonal range during compositing (Fig.05a - 05b).

1552_tid_fig05a.jpg
Fig.05a - Output Gamma: 2.2. This is the render exactly as it is saved out, without any gamma correction. While this image is correct, gamma 2.2 has been baked in which will limit us with tonal range when it comes to compositing.





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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 280107, pid: 0) Sali on Tue, 10 June 2014 8:45am
I'm looking for explanation about linear workflow from 3ds max goes to AE. And here I am. Thanks for your clear guide. But I want ask, how about setting up gamma on image editor such as Photoshop? Usually we made texture with 3d painting in Photoshop, and still have to adjusting texture color/brightess to get something we want in 3ds max renderer. Big thanks anyway.
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(ID: 261519, pid: 0) Mikhail on Mon, 17 March 2014 11:19pm
well, I can't agree with author about lwf in MRay.. the thing is that you should to turn off the exposure control to get an image without any camera responce. In globals you can use gamma 2.2 in each tab, but save your rendered images with gamma override 1.0 (and no exposure conrols!). Also, you need to be sure to set 32bit(Float) in mrFrame buffer (in this case you will have a correct Z and WPP passes). Also there is a quite long process with images input as a backround plate and\or reflection maps (if you load 32bits HDR images so you should load it with gamma 1.0. If you load LDR images, like jpg and so - load it with gamma 2.2)..
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(ID: 193354, pid: 0) Derek Bentley on Sat, 20 April 2013 4:21pm
Where is Figure 01? It seems to be missing... So we use Gamma 2.2 for Display and 1.0 for output? Does Gamma output affect VRay GI Maps like the Light Cache, and Irradiance Map?
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(ID: 188175, pid: 0) Anlleoking on Thu, 21 March 2013 9:38am
Dear Daniel Dye Thank you for the tutorial.May I translate it to Chinese so people in our country could understand it. I want to post it in my blog with your name.Thank you anyway. Best regards Anlleo King
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(ID: 128987, pid: 0) Demonpepper on Thu, 28 June 2012 7:22am
should we need to calibrate out cpu/monitor before doing this LWF.
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(ID: 128657, pid: 0) Wilsimar on Wed, 27 June 2012 5:26am
thanks. very usefull.
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(ID: 128537, pid: 0) Ruveron Philippe on Tue, 26 June 2012 1:31pm
Very clear and interesting. Thanks for the guide.
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