Color Manager for LightWave 3D

Color Manager module
LightWave 3D 2015 & 2018-2020 Intel Win64 Layout Node Plugin
coded by Denis Pontonnier
Supervised by Gerardo Estrada




Description :

This module helps you to manage colors of a scene loaded in Layout,
he does not decide on any strategy for you, this depends of your sources
and the desired quality of the final rendering
but should broad the possibilities.


Extract the plugin in the directory of your choice.
Open Layout, add the ColorManagerNode_x64 plugin.

For enhanced post-proccessing setup, you need to have the DP Filter 2018 module installed:



Usage :

Main premise behind CM workflows is identifying multiple color spaces and transformations
of input swatch colors and images (input- and output-referred) and convert them into a common
working color space (scene-referred) and after rendering, deploy the necessary color conversions
and color transformations to emulate any given visual production (output- and display-referred).

The Color Manager module offers a main node working in all node editors with color input,
primarily intended to transform and convert color images.
This can be done globally through Color Manager Scene Master or locally with Color Manager
node within any node editor. Both approaches could be mixed.

For basic definitions, expanding your knowledges, consult this excellent webpage:
CG CINEMATOGRAPHY by Christophe Brejon/

Global approach: In Image Editor add the Color Manager filter and select the corresponding type
of target. Add Color Manager Scene Master in Master plugins window and set up there the transfer
curve transformation and color conversion for each corresponding target.
Local approach: In Image Editor add the Image Filter Node Editor first, then add Render Buffer
node and connect Color buffer to the node from Color Manager tab. Global approach is recommended
in this context.

In a second part it includes several filters/plugins for transforming images and colors
anywhere in the Layout, as 'pre' or 'post' process, these filters are all controlled
as targets by the Color Manager Scene Master plugin.


Local approach: Open the Image Filter Node Editor, add the node from Color Manager tab.
Use a RenderBuffer node (Buffers tab) to plug the color in the Color Manager node
and plug the color output to the color input of the root node. In this context several color
transformations and color conversions can be concatenated.
Global approach: Add Color Manager filter in Processing tab of Efects window. In Color Manager Scene
Master set up the color conversion and transfer curve transformation for output. Local approach is
recommended in this context.


Color Manager Parameters:


Color Profile LCMS Transformations based on ICC Profiles
Transfer Curve similar to Lightwave Color Space management. these are alternative choice in the main CM node and can be combined in a nodal setup with several numbers of CM nodes.

Filter targets couple both modes in the master system, but in a different order for pre or post processes:

in pre-process targets,
"Transfer Curve"->"Profile Transformation"

in post-process targets,
"Profile Transformation"->"Transfer Curve".


Color Profile Mode

- Source and Destination type:
for setting the input and output profile.

Profile File
Built-in Profile
Gamut Profile
Custom Gamut Profile

- Rendering Intent:
four standard color replacement schemes specified by the International Color Consortium (ICC).

Relative Colorimetric
Absolute Colorimetric

- Chromatic Adaptation: Sets adaptation state for absolute colorimetric intent from 0.0, not adapted to 1.0, complete adaptation,

- Don't Transform: inhibit color management.

- Black Point Compensation:

(BPC) controls whether to adjust for differences in black points when converting
colors between color spaces. When Black Point Compensation is enabled,
color transforms map white to white and luminance of black to luminance of black.
The black point compensation feature does work better in conjunction
with relative colorimetric intent.
Perceptual intent should make no difference, although it may affect some (wrong) profiles.

-Clip Negative Values: clamped negative Color output




Profile types:

Profile File Gets the color space used by the given profile, using the ICC v4 framework.

Built-in Profile
and several Wide Gamut color models.

Gamut Profile profile build internally with primaries and white point and a gamma of 1.0.
"ACES AP0","ACES AP1","Adobe RGB",..."ARRI WideGamut","DaVinci WideGamut",

Custom Gamut Profile CS file must be formated like this:

// xRed yRed xGreen yGreen xBlue yBlue xWhite yWhite (gamma should be rec.709)
colorsystem: 0.7085 0.2935 0.1902 0.7754 0.1292 0.0471 0.3457 0.3585


Rendering Intent:

Rendering intent options determine how source colors are adjusted in destination gamut.
i.e.: colors that fall inside the destination gamut may remain unchanged, or
they may be adjusted to preserve the original appearance when translated to a smaller destination gamut.

The result of choosing a rendering intent depends on the pictorical content of an image
and on the profiles used to specify color spaces. Some profiles don't support all
rendering intents and therefore, the results will be identical to the one supported.

When specifying a rendering intent, you can choose to use black point compensation.
Black point compensation preserves shadow details in the image by mapping the tonal
range of the source to the destination profile to avoid shadow tones being clipped.

The following rendering intents are available:

Attempts to compress the source gamut into tghe destination gamut by preserving the
visual relationship between colors so itís perceived as natural to the human eye, even
though the color values themselves may change. This intent is suitable for images with
many of out-of-gamut colors and when it is not required to exactly maintain image
colorimetry. The exact colour rendering of the perceptual intent is vendor specific.

Relative Colorimetric
Compares the white of the source color space to the white of the destination color space
and shifts all colors accordingly. Out-of-gamut colors are shifted to the closest
reproducible color in the destination color space. This rendering intent preserves
more of the original colors in an image than Perceptual.
Colorimetric rendering intents are the ones supported by matrix-based profiles and this
rendering intent is the one used by default in Color Manager node.

Attempts to produce vivid colors in an image at the expense of color accuracy by mapping
most saturated colors first regardless hues and lightness relationships. This rendering
intent is suitable for images where bright saturated colors are more important than the
exact relationship between colors. It's suitable also for gamut expansion of colors.

Absolute Colorimetric
Attempts to reproduce the source white exactly in the destination space and leaves colors
that fall inside the destination gamut unchanged. Out-of-gamut colors are clipped. No
scaling of colors to the destination white point is performed. This intent aims to maintain
color accuracy at the expense of preserving relationships between colors. It is used together
with Chromatic Adaptation state for proofing colors.



Soft Proofing: A proofing transform can emulate the colors that would appear as the image
were rendered on a specific device.

Black Ink Simulation: to see if the shadow detail in your source image will hold up in print.

Paper Color Simulation: to show the effects of the difference between your monitor's white
level and the (usually) less-bright paper.

- Proofing file: ICC Profile file, the emulated profile.

- Out Of Gamut Alarm: mark out-out-gamut colors on Proofing transforms with the selected
"Alarm Color"



Color Manager is based on Little Color Management System (LCMS2 version 2.13) by Marti Maria Saguer.
ICC specification 4.3 compatible with unbounded ICC profiles.
The full license is included at the end of this readme file.


Transfer Curve Mode

- Input and Output Transfer Curves: "Linear","sRGB","Rec709","Cineon", "L-Curve","Gamma" and others...

- Gamma: set it for "Gamma" Curve, as input it will be inversed.

- Black (nits): "Black Point" for BT.1886.
Note: if a Gamma curve is selected, BT.1886 has always a zero Black Point (pure gamma 2.4),
except in the main CM node, if a "Black" nodal input is provided.

- White (nits): "Nominal White" for HLG BT2100, PQ ST.2084, "Media White" for BT.1886
keeping the correct ratio between white and black points of normalized output,
or "White Peak" for PQ or HLG OOTF.





Color Manager Scene Master:

Basically Color Manager Master works on the fly, you can add color transformation in the scene, saving anything, neither scene nor objects,
most of them can be removed easily, but some must be removed manually (color channels, post-filters).
Since Color Manager is an alternative way to transform colors,
we can disable the global LW Color Space settings from the Master panel.

Of course these plugins can be saved in a scene and objects, but we recommend to save them with a different name, and keep the original backups.

Select a Target, setup Transfer Curve and Profile Transformation if needed,
(for parameters documentation, see above).


Image Filter Targets:
Texture Images
Background Images
Linear Images
Custom 1
Custom 2
Custom 3

Swatch nodes
Nodal Surfaces
Nodal Lights

Backdrop/environment and Channel Modifier
RGB Channels & Backdrop


Pixel and Image Filter
VPR Display



All Target setups can be saved in a Preset file, fully or partially reloaded
or even reloaded from a saved CM Master of a scene file.
the settings of one Target can be copied and pasted in another Target,
this copy is kept in memory, if a preset is loaded.


Main commands are described in the Color Swatch node description.

The following plugins are controlled by the master plugin through target settings, without CM Master plugin or by default or after target reset, all plugins stay in bypass mode.

The first targets for pre-processing, apply profile transformation, after Transfer Curves.

CM Filter plugin
add it manually to colored images intended to be transformed in a
pre-process before being mapped in a texture, as background, or in a customized way.
The Target can be set manually or by Key Word detection in the image name:using '_'
as separator (i.e: leave_diffuse.png).

"Color" "color" "Col" "col"
"Diffuse" "diffuse" "Diff" "diff"
"Texture" "texture" "Text" "text"

"Background" "background" "BG" "bg" "BackGD" "backgd"

"Linear" "linear" "Lin" "lin"

"Custom1" "custom1" "Cust1" "cust1"

"Custom2" "custom2" "Cust2" "cust2"

"Custom1" "custom3" "Cust3" "cust3"

Note that images used for:
displacement, normals, bump, roughness, specular, transparency, translucency, sheen,
luminous, metallic, anisotropic, clearcoat, refraction, tramittance distance, occlusion,
bump height, flatness, subsurface weights and distances, scattering and absorbtion,
distance falloffs, refraction dispersion, shadow transparency, asymmetry, step size,
separate U/V values, glossiness, reflection and refraction blurs, opacity, vector-maps
and vector-gradients, position/direction/rotation maps and any vertex map.
should be ignored, no color transformation, do not add a CM filter for them.

The individual LW Color Space settings of the images must stay or reset as "Default".

CM Swatch node
add it for filling the color input of a node or filtering a nodal
color connection, for Surface or Light node editors, but as separate targets.
As input, no need to set the color in its panel it detects the color already set in the node,
but at rendering time, i.e VPR display, then it is still possible to adjust the color
manually in the panel of the node.

Swatch node preview may be inaccurate with unbounded transformed color.

Command Buttons:

The master plugin has an Add Color Swatch To Surfaces commands for adding CM Swatch
automatically and remove them as well, with an option for Optimizing Color Manager
Swatch Nodes Placement.
It is recommended to use Color Texture layers in a Color Layer node, but even
in a Layer node, a mix of procedural and image layer may be complicated or impossible to
setup correctly for color transformation, since images are intended to be filtered in the
Image Editor.

The Add Color Swatch To Lights command add Swatch nodes around the root node,
pre-existent nodes are filtered, nodes with a mapped image are ignored,
except their BG color input.
Note that in native Environment Light, Backdrop overwrites nodal settings, but backdrop
should be already filtered.

CM Backdrop/Environment plugin
for filtering Background, Gradient Color and Sky Environment,
do not add it to Probe or Image Texturing, which should be filtered in the Image Editor,
or reorder it properly, if those effects need to be mixed.

CM Channel Modifier plugin
for filtering Color with envelopes, it shares the same target setup than
Backdrop except when it is applied to a Light Color as an alternative to CM Swatch node setup.
Channel plugin can be used where there's no node editor, for effects like Fog.
Note for light color, CM Channel should be removed before the envelope (shift/Click)
or the original color will be definitively modified...


Both following targets for post-processing, apply Transfer Curves after profile transformation.

CM Display Pixel Filter
post-process for VPR (only available in LW2020).

CM Image Filter
post-process for applying a color transformation to the final render.


Filter in the Image Editor

Swatch nodes

Channel Modifier

Backdrop, Pixel and Image Filter



Download Color Manager:

For Lightwave 3D 2018.

Download (Win64)
(updated 08/14/22)
Download (Mac UB 64-bit)
(updated 08/14/22)


For Lightwave 3D 2015,
with these limitations,
no Master Color Swatch command and no VPR Dsplay Target.

Download (Win64)
(updated 08/14/22
Download (Mac UB 64-bit)
(updated 08/14/22



ICC Profile files ressources:



An example of an advanced setup by Gerardo Estrada,
with this BoxRoom LW 2020 scene,
base model and textures courtesy by NestaEric.

Scene Color Manager setup
- Rec.2100/2020 working colorspace for HLG output:

1. Download at Dropbox (117 Mo),

Same scene with LW ColorSpace setup
- "correct" sRGB preset as reference:

2. Download at Dropbox (112 Mo),




These plugins are freeware but donations are appreciated, thanks.








Copyright © 2022 Denis Pontonnier.