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So you render your image in cycles, and then go to save it, then in the bottom left corner is options, and both ticked are save as copy and save as render, and I'm wondering what "save as render" does?

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Save as Render will apply the Display Transform set on the Color Management section.

enter image description here

enter image description here

Without the Display Transform the image saved will be saved unprocessed, maintaining the Scene Referred Values, up to the inherent limits of the file format chosen.

For images that require linear values (or non-color-data) leave that box unchecked. (For example when saving normal or depth maps)

Images meant to be saved as Display Referred can be saved as render, so that all color transformations are applied and baked into the picture.

As an example, see how this two images produced with the same scene have different values depending on how they were saved:

enter image description here

There are some notable exceptions to this rule as follows:

  • The DPX format is unfortunately hard coded to always store a Blender specific transfer curve. It skirts around OCIO in unreliable ways.
  • The EXR format will always store the internal reference buffer as float or half float. Even with the check box selected, EXRs will not bake any colour transforms, desired or not.
  • Most other file formats follow the above rule of thumb for display referred formats.
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  • $\begingroup$ So if I render a image of simply a Glossy Red cube, will "save as render" affect the image any different from saving it un-ticked? I had saved a important diagram both ways, and lost the ticked-box one, and am hoping the not save as render one is the same EXACT image I would have got if the box was ticked. $\endgroup$ – Friendly Person 44 Aug 25 '16 at 23:53
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    $\begingroup$ EXR will always bypass the view transform and effectively dump the internal buffer float representation. $\endgroup$ – troy_s Aug 26 '16 at 1:14

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