Using color management in your scene


Using this feature, you can control the color profile associated with inputs to and outputs from the rendering process. Certain scene elements can have color profile information attached to them, namely, file textures, render passes, mental ray textures, and mental ray file output passes. Additionally, you can specify the color profile used for internal rendering color calculations.


This feature is currently only supported for the mental ray for Maya renderer.

You can enable color management through the Render Settings: Common tab and select your default input and output color profile. In order for color management to work, you must select Enable Color Management in the Common tab of your Render Settings window. Simply selecting a color profile under the scene elements or creating a colorProfile node in the Hypershade does not enable color management.


Enabling color management can increase processing time.

You can associate color profiles with different elements:

To apply color management to your scene

  1. Open the Render Settings window and select the Common tab.
  2. Select the Enable Color Management option. The color profile attributes become active.
  3. Select a Default Input Profile from the drop-down list. This is the default color profile for file texture / mentalrayTexture nodes.
  4. Select a Default Output Profile from the drop-down list. This is the default color profile for writing render passes or images to disk.
  5. Select the render pass node for which you want to enable color management.

    The same procedure can be used to associate a color profile with other scene elements such as a file texture. Simply replace renderPass node with your scene element.

  6. In the render pass Attribute Editor, use the Color Profile drop-down list to select the color profile to use when writing the render pass to disk.

    There are two sections available in the Color Profile drop-down list.

    Under the first section, there is a list of built-in color profiles. Under the second section, there is a list of any existing color profile nodes that are currently in your scene.

    • If you first select an existing colorProfile node, then change your mind and select a built-in color profile instead, the colorProfile node still exists in your scene. It is simply disconnected from your scene element.
    • If you select the default option under the list of built-in color profiles, Maya will use the Default Output Profile setting (for render pass or mentalrayOutputPass nodes) or the Default Input Profile setting (for file texture / mentalrayTexture nodes) that you selected under the Render Settings: Common tab.

Creating a color profile node

Color profile nodes are useful when you want to apply the same setting to multiple targets, for example, if the same color profile applies to multiple textures. This way, you can create a node, customize it and associate it with several scene elements.


All colorProfile nodes that you have created are visible through the Hypershade, under the Utilities tab.

To create a colorProfile node (method 1)

  1. Select the File texture to which you want to connect a color profile node.
  2. In the FileAttribute Editor, click the colorProfile node icon.

    A colorProfile node is created and connected to the File node that you have selected. The colorProfile node appears in the Attribute Editor along with its associated File node and you can edit its attributes.


The same procedure can be used to create a colorProfile node and connect it to other scene elements such as render passes. Select the applicable scene element in step 1.

To create a colorProfile node (method 2)

  1. Open the Hypershade window.
  2. Under the Maya > Utilities section of the Create tab, click Color Profile.
  3. Select the scene element to which you want to connect your colorProfile node.
  4. the colorProfile node and select Apply to Selection.

    Using this method, you can connect your colorProfile node to multiple scene elements in one step. For example, you can use a MEL script to select all of your render passes, then the colorProfile node and select Apply to Selection to connect your colorProfile node to all of your passes.


The colorProfile node and up to 10 of its connected scene elements are displayed in the Attribute Editor at one time. If your colorProfile node is connected to more than 10 scene elements, you can access these additional scene elements using the Hypergraph.

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