Maya 2017 Arnold colour management and dynamic range


After some time of rendering with Blender Cycles, I decided to give Arnold a shot, since it’s integrated into Maya and also has a nice realtime preview.
What I fear though is this video from Blender Guru, where Andrew explains how Blender’s dynamic range is very bad by defulat and how filmic blender takes care of that. I can vouch that filmic blender really is an awesome tool. However, he also says that a lot of rendering engines get this colour management wrong.

I know about linear workflow, that I have to correct basically my coloured textures. But is that it? Is Arnold’s dynamic range fine, so will I still get blown out scenes even if I use linear workflow? Or what’s Arnold’s dynamic range compared to filmic blender’s?
Thanks in advance.


Arnold renders linear. That means if you output to a appropriate format like exr, you will get the whole dynamic range, everything else can and should be done in post. So if you create a sun with an intensity of 1000000, the result will be 1000000 if you look directly into the sun.
All photograpic exposure tools are only a shortcut to see the mapped result directly during rendering. You do not have an photographic exposure tool like this in Arnold as much as I know.


Thanks for the heads up.
In Blender this meant that I can increase the light’s intensity VERY much before losing information and getting a blown-out scene. Also when using stronger lights, the illuminated objects’ colours get desaturated.
So you say a linear workflow could do the trick?


If you save the images in a appropriate format, you do not loose any information. The step where you loose information is when you convert the high dynamic range image into a low dynamic range image to see it properly. This can be the render view (quite limited) or a compositing or image editing program which is able to handle images with high dynamic range.


Hi agiro,

Well… after MentalRay is not anymore in MaYa 2017 and I ger forced to moved again to MaYa 2017 I had a look int Arnold.

Which is great, but you need to prepare your scene correctly.
It with help us to help you to understand what your settings are doing and if you can share with us a couple of screens will be great.

Because I need to learn another render engine I decide to go back and use another one than MentalRay and when I was playing with Arnold I found a little bit tricky how to setup your scene to be render with Arnold.

As haggi said using the exr extension is a perfect choice.

Jst share a couple of screenshots to see your settings.


Great questions Agiro. I was wondering the same thing.

Did you ever get the answer to this?



I recommend this page here to get more in depth info about color management.