Linear Gamma Workflow in Fusion

Of course you can work in linear gamma in Fusion. In fact, Fusion expects images to be linear. If you simply load an sRGB image and start working on it, you’re doing it wrong.

This is part of a series of articles dealing with color workflows in Fusion. Other parts:
Linear Gamma Workflow Part 2 and Rendering rec709.

The Problem

Now, it’s been two years since Nuke has set the industry standard for an intuitive linear compositing workflow and Fusion has done nothing to keep up. (update: it’s 2014 so it’s 4 years now and Fusion 7 hasn’t improved the situation…) Why do people still ask in forums if Fusion can work linear or how to set up an sRGB LUT? Because while Fusion’s LUT engine is much more powerful than Nuke’s, its corresponding interface leaves a lot to be desired (to put it politely). While in Nuke you have to consciously do things to break its linear workflow, you have to know what you’re doing to work linear in Fusion. And even then, you’re gonna trip over its LUT GUI all the time. There’s probably a reason why even in eyeon’s official YouTube videos the LUT button is disabled.

The Solution

So here’s the deal. You want to view your images in sRGB or rec709 color space, you want to have access to a gamma slider to quickly check your black levels and all of this should be saved in a convenient default for all your comps.

  1. Download these GPU-accelerated viewshaders:
  2. Unzip them into your Fuses directory, usually something like C:\Users\Public\Documents\eyeon\Fusion\Fuses\
  3. Restart Fusion and click the triangle next to a viewer’s LUT button. Choose sRGB or rec709.
  4. Enable the LUT by pressing the LUT button.
  5. Right-click a viewer, then select Settings… -> Save Defaults

Now all you need to do is convert all non-linear images by adding a Gamut tool after the Loader, set its source color space (if unsure, choose sRGB) and make sure the Remove Gamma option is checked (which it should be by default). Done. Oh, the footage should be in float16 or float32 of course. If you’re loading jpegs, make sure the Loader is converting this for you.

You can choose LUT -> Edit… to bring up gain and gamma controls like in Nuke. These settings will be forgotten once you switch to another LUT but they are meant for temporary image checks anyways, so that’s not much of a problem. (update: Fusion 7 or later finally remembers these LUT sliders)

These GUI issues aside, Fusion actually provides an excellent API for writing GPU-accelerated tools. As these viewshaders demonstrate, you can use the CG shader language inside a LUA script (.fuse files). Here are two additional examples that I whipped up in about an hour:

Fusion also allows you to use OpenCL inside LUA which enables you to write custom tools that execute at lightning speed on your graphics card and are compiled on the fly.

A lot of example code comes with Fusion or can be found on vfxpedia. The guys at Anatomical Travelogue have also published the source of some of their plugins and I’m currently putting the finishing touches onto a GPU-accelerated corner pin plugin, the source of which can be found on the pigsfly forum. It took me a couple of days to write, but most of the time wasn’t spent on fiddling with the API or with OpenCL but trying to get accustomed to the matrix math involved.


Just to complete this topic, here’s the way you’d set up an sRGB LUT in Fusion without my CG shaders. You need to activate the Gamut View LUT, choose LUT -> Edit and set its output to sRGB and “Add Gamma”. If you switch to another LUT and back to Gamut View, you’ll have to repeat these steps. Bummer. Moreover, this won’t give you a convenient gain/gamma slider like Nuke has.

For this, you would have to activate the GainGamma Fuse first. Then, in the viewer’s context menu go to LUT… -> Add New -> Gamut View LUT. You can now save this combination of shaders as a LUT chain in the context menu’s LUT… section or as a default for the viewport by choosing Settings… -> Save Defaults. You can do the same for rec709 and toggle between both setups using the context menu. The LUT button’s popup menu won’t help you anymore.

Now download those shaders instead and spare yourself the trouble 🙂

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