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Strange problem with rendered images suddenly having dull bright area.

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Chris Lambright
Strange problem with rendered images suddenly having dull bright area.
on Nov 13, 2012 at 2:06:02 am

Being new to Maya, I'm having a problem that I'm at a loss to know how to fix. Up until a few days ago, what I saw in the Render View window was what I got when I Batch Rendered a scene or image. Now suddenly, they're different. Though the Render View image still looks crisp, with nice darks, lights, and colors, when I Batch Render the scene the result seems to be dull and flat in the brighter ranges.

I don’t think I changed anything, not knowingly, but I reset rendering preferences to the defaults since it seems to happen in the rendered output. However, things still come flat and dull in areas of the scene where there should be a good range of brights and darks (colors in the scene end up dull also, presumably because you need the brightness ranges to see them.) I took one of the rendered frames into Photoshop and checked “Levels” and everything seems to be shifted toward the darks (the histogram shows peaks all to the left, then flatlines and stops halfway to the right, showing nothing in what should be the bright region.) I think that explains why I'm getting this problem, but I’m mystified about why it would suddenly start happening.

The scene I'm rendering is dark at the beginning, and then quickly brightens, which is when the flatness become obvious. See the attached sample where grass and trees begin to catch strong light. The top shows what I’m getting, the lower half is what it should look like (after I balanced the levels in Photoshop for the sample.) As I said, for weeks it's been fine, but one morning...dull.

Anyone have an idea what’s causing this or what I might have enabled by mistake (or disabled.) I hadn't had color management on, but even with it on it gives the same result.

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