Color difference in saved images vs Render View

I've noticed that when an image is saved (let's say as a PNG for example), the color doesn't look as vibrant as it does in Blender's Render View.

For comparison, here is an image created by saving as a PNG:

And here is the same scene, but captured as a screen shot in macOS (also PNG):

In case you can't see the difference on your display, here's an animated GIF (only 256 colors):

Color Management settings in the .blend are set to their defaults.

According to the Blender Manual it seems that Blender uses a custom linear color space when rendering(?).

When viewing the Document Profile of the two images in Photoshop they are listed as follows:

• screen shot: "Display (8bpc)"
• saved image: "sRGB IEC61966-2.1 (8bpc)"

It makes sense that having different color spaces results in different appearances. Although both "looks" can be portrayed in either of the two color spaces. In other words, whether converting to sRGB or converting to Display there is still a visible difference between them. I suppose this is because color data gets lost in the process and simply converting the color space doesn't mean the original color data will come back. But I guess I'm surprised at how visible the difference is, and I wonder, which one is more accurate, or truer to Blender's linear color space? Because it appears that taking a screen shot gives a representation closer to Blender's Render View - or maybe this beautiful display is deceiving me.

Is there a way to save an image from Blender and maintain the "look" of the result I'm seeing in the Render View?

I have a feeling somebody is going to say "that's just how color spaces work" and tell me to play with the Color Management settings... but even if that is the answer I would appreciate getting some clarity on this matter. Thanks.

• What program was used for saving screenshot? Does it use the same color profile as Blender does? Probably it edits the image according to the display correction profile set up in Photoshop. See blender.stackexchange.com/questions/28284/… – Mr Zak Jan 11 '18 at 16:04
• – user1853 Jan 11 '18 at 16:23
• There are two pieces to make this work. One is knowing what color space your images are and what color space your monitor is using. The second is using the correct view transform that allows you to display your work properly. – user1853 Jan 11 '18 at 16:34
• @MrZak Since the screen shot was saved within macOS, the program used to save it would be Grab.app. It does not use the same color profile that Blender does when rendering. It uses Display (that's how it's listed in the files saved with it). Blender renders in scene_linear which is its own format, and saves images in sRGB. That's what I know so far. (And thanks for the link... I'm still combing through.) – Mentalist Jan 11 '18 at 16:39
• @cegaton Thank you for the link to that very interesting answer! Would you mind elaborating on "using the correct view transform"? – Mentalist Jan 11 '18 at 16:44

I have a feeling somebody is going to say "that's just how color spaces work" and tell me to play with the Color Management settings... but even if that is the answer I would appreciate getting some clarity on this matter. Thanks.

If you ever catch someone saying this, kick them. There is very little that could be further from the truth.

Sadly, your question cannot be effectively answered without further information. You mentioned that you are on MacOS, which means that your display could be quite different from the assumptions that most folks would make here. Most importantly, if you are on an Apple device that is from 2015 onward, your colours are going to be entirely wrong. That's right, Blender doesn't support Apple devices via the default installation.

The fastest way to get WYSIWYG is to properly tag your image with the Microsoft / HP sRGB ICC profile.

The following command should attach a profile with the help of the ImageMagick tool:

convert source.tif +profile MY_PROFILE_PATH/whatever-profile.icc destination.tiff


If you offer up further information, it can help to completely solve your problem here.