For those of you who like to use a linear workflow in Maya, you might notice that once you apply a lens shader (mental ray) or an overall gamma setting (vray) to your scene with gamma 2.2, while your gamma-corrected textures might look great, your image planes will be washed out. This is a pain when you’re trying to use a plate as a reference for lighting your scenes. There is a way to gamma correct image planes, but the setup takes a few more steps and it’s somewhat counter-intuitive. Thanks, Maya!

The first thing to do once you attach an image plane to the camera is to switch the “Type” attribute from “image” to “texture.” Once you do this, you can attach a regular File node to the texture, and set up your image sequence attributes on the file node if you are using a sequence.

The next step is to connect the file node to a gammaCorrect node… create a gammaCorrect node, set the gamma in all three channels to 0.454 (or whatever the inverse of your current gamma is if you’re not correcting to 2.2) and then connect the outColor of the file node to the “value” of the gammaCorrect node.

The last step is the tricky part. Try connecting the output of the gammaCorrect node to the imagePlane node… where does it go in the Connection Editor? Maya decided that you, the user, should be sheltered from this most dangerous input, and it’s been hidden by default. Turn on “show hidden” on the right side of the Connection Editor, and then connect the outValue of the gammaCorrect node to the “texture” input of the imagePlane.

I don’t really understand why this has to be so difficult in Maya, but the same could be said about a lot of this program.

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