Get Started with Color Management

Color management gives you the advantages of a scene-linear workflow, while still showing a preview that is appropriate for your display in the viewport and Render View. The default color management system is OpenColorIO v2 (OCIO v2).


For background information about OCIO, visit

Set up color management

  1. Open the Color Management Preferences and make sure that color management is enabled.

    Normally, color management is enabled by default for new scenes, but you can change this behavior in the New Scene Options.

  2. If your project uses a specific OCIO configuration, set OCIO Config Path to the full path and file name on disk.
    Note: If you experience delays related to color management when starting Maya, make sure that the OCIO configuration file has an environment section. It does not matter if the section is empty, for example:

    If you have set the OCIO environment variable to the name and path of a configuration file before starting Maya, then OCIO Config Path is read-only.

  3. Set Rendering Space to the working color space to use for rendering. See Choose a rendering space.
  4. Make sure that Display is appropriate for your display device.
  5. Set View to the best preview for your project. See Choose a view for previewing.
  6. In Input Color Space Rules, optionally set up rules to assign color spaces to textures. As a minimum, you should set the Default rule to assign the color space used by most of your image inputs. You can add additional rules based on your file naming conventions. See Define rules to assign color spaces for input files.

    The color space determined by the rules will be used by default as the initial setting for new 2D File textures and other image inputs. You can still change each one individually as described in Specify the color space for textures and other image inputs.

  7. If you are applying color management to an existing scenes that already has materials, textures, or lights, see Apply color management to existing scenes.
  8. See Important settings for color management for some viewing and rendering settings that you might need to make.
Note: You should not enable color management when baking texture colors with the Turtle plug-in. If you do, the viewport preview will be inaccurate.

Add color-managed image inputs

When you add 2D File textures and other image inputs to your scene, you need to specify their input Color Space if it is different from the one assigned by the rules. See Specify the color space for textures and other image inputs for more information.

Preview the scene

As you work, the view and display transforms provide a preview of the final colors in the viewport and Render View. However, you can temporarily toggle the view and display transforms off or choose a different view for diagnostic or other purposes. See Preview color-managed scenes.

For playblasts, the Apply Output Transform to Playblast option applies the selected transform to convert from the rendering space. Normally this option should be on, to allow the result to be played with devices or viewing software that do not apply the appropriate view transform to scene-linear images.

Render the scene

When you render the scene, you have the option of baking in an output transform, depending on whether you are rendering a preview or rendering images for further processing like compositing. See Render color-managed scenes.

Legacy color management features

The defaultViewColorManager node is still available in scenes for compatibility. However, its options are not used.