When trying to light a scene in 3d, people often find themselves in a situation where their scenes will look too dark. The most natural thing to do is to add more light to the scene, but if you're not working linearly this probably won't do you much good.

In this tutorial we will cover the topics of Linear workflow and Gamma correction. We will take a look at why your renders might look dark and blown out, and how having a linear workflow will help you avoid washed out textures, giving the light in your scene more depth.

Without gamma correction

With gamma correction

Because of its seemingly complicated nature it deters a lot of people, and not just beginners. It's important to understand as it will help you achieve more realistic lighting in your scenes.

Remember that linear workflow is simply a way of working, a philosophy in a sense. It's by no means the only way to do things, but it does have a great effect on how you approach lighting your scenes. I tends to benefit people who do interior scenes a lot, but makes it easier to light your scenes no matter what you are doing. This tutorial is not software specific but focuses on the principles of linear workflow and gamma correction.

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For your convenience we've compiled a list of notes for this tutorial

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Linear workflow and gamma correction are two separate things, but we use them in conjunction.
Gamma 2.2 (most images online will have this value, also synonymous with sRGB)
Linearize (Normalizing an image, giving it a gamma value of 1.0) Internal processes of 3d applications are already
Linear Power Law Curve (The technical name for a gamma curve) 
Linear workflow (This refers to a rendering workflow)
Gamma correction (Just a term for when gamma is applied to offset a gamma value)
Gamma 0.4545 (Inverse value for a gamma of 2.2)
Floating point images (images like EXR and HDRI, these are always linear)

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial. For more head back to theTutorials Section