Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Color management in Maya, part of Up and Running with mental ray in Maya.
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- Given that the handling of both incoming and outgoing gamma options has, in recent years, been greatly simplified in Maya, by virtue of the Color Management Systems that have been introduced and due to the fact that those Color Management settings are saved within Maya's scene files, you shouldn't run into any gamma related discrepancies with the scene files for this course. Given the possibility, however, depending on how we have our copy of Maya setup, that we may run into a number of problems whilst creating scene files of our own, particularly so if we don't typically make use of Maya's Color Management System.
I would like to take a few minutes in this video to just point out the Color Management settings that we have used in creating the scene files for this course and then simply leave that information with you to use or disregard as you see fit. The first thing worth noting, although somewhat obvious from what I have so far said, is the fact that we are working with the Color Management System in Maya enabled for this course. Unless we have some very specific pipeline reasons for not doing so, this is probably the safest and most predictable way in which to work.
In my honest opinion, when working with photo real renderers such as mental ray, VRay, Maxwell and the like, Color or, more critically, Gamma Management tools such as those now found in Maya are essential if we are to get predictable and believable final rendered results. To enable Color Management for our current Maya scene, we will need, using plain old Maya 2015 as we are here, to open up the Render Settings dialogue and in the Color Management roll out found in the Common tab, put a check in the Color Management option.
If, however, we are using Maya 2015 with Extension 1 installed, we will need to open up the Application Preferences Editor and after selecting the Color Management option in the left hand column, put a check in the Enable Color Management box. Now, to be honest, in terms of setting things up as we have them in the scene files for this course, we are pretty much finished because for most typical rendering workflows, the Maya defaults, once Color Management has been enabled, work pretty well. As is true in the real world, the rendering space or where the light and color calculations are made works linearly giving us a Default Output Profile of Linear sRGB, whereas the Default Input Color Profile, so the assumed color profile for incoming bitmaps, is set to sRGB.
Meaning that Maya is now setup to linearize or degamma all incoming bitmaps so that when color calculations made in linear space or applied to them, everything will come out in the render just as it should. Of course, we do need to keep in mind the fact that any floating point or HTRI files that we add to our scenes may need to be setup locally to use the Linear sRGB input type. The only other part of the equation we need to tweak a little here are the Render View settings. If I just open up the Render View window, open up the Display menu and click the Color Management option.
We need, over in the Attribute Editor, to set the Image Color Profile option to Linear sRGB. Essentially letting Maya know that all incoming pixel data to the Render View will be in a linear format. Finally, we can leave the Display Color Profile set to sRGB, as this will give us a correct-looking mid tone adjusted image inside the Render View window. Now, of course, for studios and even freelancers with more specific and specialized color management meeds, the system here in Maya does offer lots of room for maneuvering and setup, but even with this straightforward and default settings in place, we will find ourselves in a much better situation from which to make full use of the power, not just of mental ray, but that found in any of the photorealistic renderers that we may choose to work with.
Remember, in order to work with the downloadable exercise files for this course, you don't have to worry about performing any of the setup that we have pointed out here as everything should already be correctly saved and setup within the Maya scene files themselves.
- Workflow recommendations
- Controlling the physical sun and sky lighting systems
- Applying an exposure shader
- Using Final Gather
- Working with Diffuse, Refractive, Reflective, and Translucent materials
- Working with MILA materials
- Controlling render quality with image sampling
- Creating a motion blur effect
- Working with displacement mapping
- Using proxies