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.
Fig.03c – Affect Material Editor: Disabled. Materials are displayed as Gamma 1.0, which makes correctly changing parameters difficult.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.