Easy Linear Workflow in Maya Tutorial
The idea of Linear workflow (LWF) has been around for quite a long time, as it started out as a discussion among people who were thinking about the mathematics of CG rendering. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that it became obvious to alot of users that the scenes they have lit and rendered for many years, was set up in a physically incorrect way. Anyone that studies how a computer monitor works and how it outputs images, will realize that something between input and output is being done in order for our eyes to perceive the image the way we see it. This topic can be quite exotic depending on how deep you go, and I will refer you to some links at the bottom if you want to know more.
In this video tutorial I will show you all you need to do to start using Linear Workflow in Maya, and the method I’m about to show is the method “officially supported” by Autodesk. If you don’t want to sit through the whole video which will also cover bit depth, combining LWF and Physical Sun & Sky + IBL usage, check the short summary below.
A summary of how to set up a proper Linear Workflow within Maya:
- Enable Color Management under Common in the Mental Ray global settings. (Input: sRGB – Output: Linear sRGB)
- Right click in the Render View –Display –Color Management: Set Image Color Profile to Linear sRGB, while keeping Display Color Profile as sRGB.
- Also when right clicking in the Render View, make sure the display is set to show 32-bit floating point HDR.
- In the Mental Ray globals, go to Quality and open up Frambuffer at the bottom. Switch to at least RGBA 16-bit.
- (Optional) Render to .EXR format using 32-bit float as your framebuffer type. 32-bit is required for some passes anyway, and the depth allows great editing capabilities in post-production.
Before you start:
- Always start a new project by doing the above steps. Never start lighting your scene before you have enabled your linear workflow, simply because you will have to redo all the lights when you find out that you have been lighting too aggressively to compensate for the image appearing “too dark”.