There are two Exposure controls: In the Film section of the Render Tab and the Color Management section of the Scene Tab. The effects of changing the Exposure in Color Management can be seen in both the Cycles preview and in the final render. Changes to Exposure in the Render tab seem to only affect the final render.

Other than this, are there any practical differences? In what situation would one prefer to use the Render Exposure instead of the Color Management Exposure control?


1 Answer 1


There is a subtle difference between the "Film" exposure setting and the CM panel exposure setting that may elude many folks.

The "Film" version, while functionally equivalent to the CM version (IE 2^EV_adjustment * scene_referred_render_value), is applied on the data. In the colour management panel, on the other hand, it is applied purely on the view.

If you are rendering out to display referred imaging encodes, such as JPEG, TIFF, etc., in all instances the impact will appear identical as the data is baked into the display referred format, with all view transforms.

However, if you save as a proper image pipeline format such as EXR, you will see the difference. In the case of the Film variant, the exposure adjustment ends up baked into the EXR's scene referred data. In the colour management variant however, being only on the View, the EXR will bear the original scene referred values as present in the direct render. If you save both versions, only in the latter will the data be saved at its original exposure value, while the former will actually adjust the encoded data.

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    $\begingroup$ Exactly. One easy way to see the difference is the following: look at an already rendered image. The color management exposure will change its apparent brightness, since this affects the view. The film exposure will not change its brightness, since the image is already rendered, it is too late to change the data. $\endgroup$
    – lbalazscs
    Dec 30, 2016 at 23:27

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