Author Archives: Mark Segasby

About Mark Segasby

Mark Segasby is the Co-Founder and CEO of Lightmap. His background as a first class product designer and visualization artist led to the development of HDR Light Studio lighting software in 2009. Since then he has been working with 3D artists and designers around the world, helping them light their shots faster and with more creative control. Because HDR Light Studio works with all leading 3D software and renderers, Mark has gained considerable knowledge and experience of the rendering industry, being up to date with all the latest developments through Lightmap’s partnerships with the companies in this field. He is on a mission to teach 3D artists the importance of lighting as a key ingredient in the success of their imagery.

The HDR Light Studio Tea Pot – For Real!

Earlier this year my friend Mark, from Goodman Precision Engineering, offered to machine the HDR Light Studio tea pot out of a solid block of aluminum. The tea pot is the default model loaded in the HDR Light Studio. It is essentially a sphere with the bottom chopped off, making it an ideal shape to see the whole HDRI map in the reflection. It’s become a bit of an icon for us.

After a few weeks from sending the CAD file over, we got an exciting package in the post. The end result is amazing. It’s so weird to see something you have been looking at almost every day for the last 7 years, on your computer screen, now in front of you on your desk, for real! The team did an amazing job! The tea pot now takes pride of place in our meeting room. Thanks so much Mark!!! Here are images/videos of the process and the final result.


The final result – totally stunning! Continue reading

Cinema 4D Artist: Irinel Papuc

IPD3D - Daily Render

I’m a long time admirer of Irinel Papuc’s renders, many of which are posted at the Octane Render Facebook Group. I like how each render is about solving a particular challenge, be it trying out a new special effect/process or perfecting a material. I can see how doing these experiments, out side of the day to day workload, will really increase the skills you have at your disposal.

So it was great news to hear that many of those images were also lit with HDR Light Studio. This was the excuse I needed to get in touch with Irinel and find out more. Continue reading

Feature Focus: Converting images to .tx files

HDR Light Studio 5 has seen the biggest set of changes we have ever made in the software. Some of those changes can at first seem like a step backwards for our existing users. The way version 5 handles loading image files is a good example.

We had a customer recently report that when a photographer client comes into the studio to art direct the lighting on CGI shots, then it is taking too long to load the huge HDRI maps he brings with him into HDR Light Studio 5, and that HDR Light Studio 4 was much faster.

We decided this subject was worthy of an article to explain the difference between version 4 and 5 in this respect, and check these load times for ourselves. Continue reading

Feature Focus: Render View

Render View

At first glance, the Render View in HDR Light Studio can appear inferior to most modern renderers. First impressions can be deceptive. Let’s find out why the Render View is actually very smart and is making our users more productive than ever.

Tuned to the task in hand
First off, let’s remember the Render View is highly tuned to provide a fast and fluid interface for placing your lights and providing instant visual feedback on the lighting effect on the loaded scene. It’s not a final frame renderer!

The Render View is optimized to light a fixed camera view. Reflections will move position on your 3D model if the camera is moved, so it’s important to choose the camera views you want to light before loading your scene into HDR Light Studio. Your cameras will be imported into HDR Light Studio when using Alembic, FBX or Collada file formats.

Hogging the CPU
In HDR Light Studio 4, the Render View (LiveLight) behaved the same as other progressive ray-tracers. The rendering would start and collect more samples over time to improve the image quality/accuracy. But when the HDRI lighting is changed, the rendering would begin again from scratch using the new HDRI map. The end result: The renderer hogged the CPU and the render quality remained low for all lot of the time whilst lighting the shot.

LiveLight

A Smarter Approach
In HDR Light Studio 5 the Render View is smarter. At a small sacrifice to its speed of collecting samples, once rendering begins, changes to the HDRI lighting do not require the renderer to re-start because the image based lighting is cached. Therefore once the Render View has reached the desired sample level it no longer hogs the CPU and you will always be lighting a high quality view.

Render View

These advantages are less apparent with small simple scenes. But when a larger scene is being lit, it makes a really big difference.

The new Render View in HDR Light Studio 5 is good news for those using our Connections to 3D apps. The Render View can be used at the same time as your 3D apps interactive renderer without hogging the CPU resources. The end result is faster more responsive rendering in your main 3D software.

Additionally, HDR Light Studio 5 can be used on a very modest specification computer, with RAM being the only limiting factor in being able to load and light larger models. Because the render view is not invalidated with each lighting change, the longer the view collects samples, the higher quality render you are lighting. This makes HDR Light Studio responsive even on a 2 core computer.

No special graphics card or drivers are required as the Render View is CPU based only. So HDR Light Studio also plays very nicely with GPU renderers and is not competing for GPU resources.

Feature Focus: Canvas Zooming

Just one of the many new features in HDR Light Studio 5 is the ability to zoom into the HDRI design. Older versions of HDR Light Studio had a fixed size HDR canvas and only displayed the entire HDRI map. You couldn’t make the canvas any bigger or zoom into details.

In HDR Light Studio 5 you can zoom into any area of the map and see just how much detail and quality is contained within the image based light sources that come with the software. Here is a great example, see the detail contained within the bulb, both the dynamic range and resolution. You would never know it had that level of detail unless you zoomed in.

Canvas Zoom - Fine Detail

 

 

 

Octane for MODO beta has begun!

Octane for MODO

The Octane Render for MODO beta has now begun.

I took Octane for a spin in MODO and was delighted to discover that HDR Light Studio worked out of the box because Octane can use the MODO environment for its environment lighting too! Yay! I was able to use LightPaint in the MODO viewport to place lights and see the lighting update in an instant in Octane. I have a pretty decent consumer grade graphics card (GTX780) and it was soooo fast!! I was able to take my existing watch demo scene setup for the MODO renderer, and add the Octane materials all within half an hour…. without reading the manual too. So the integration is very intuitive and easy to use, and I found myself really having some fun using it. The quality of the image I was creating was really great and depth of field noise resolved really fast. I’m looking forward to having another play, maybe with a car model next time.

The beauty of HDR Light Studio is that your lighting will work with any renderer as it’s all coming from a HDRI map – it’s the only truly portable lighting format. As new renderers come to MODO we look forward to supporting them too!

Do check out Octane for MODO at the Otoy website: http://render.otoy.com/shop/modo_plugin.php

 

 

HDR Light Studio for MODO – Product Shot Lighting Tutorial

We have just released an in depth ‘product shot’ lighting tutorial for ‘HDR Light Studio for MODO’ by Mark Segasby, co-inventor of HDR Light Studio software.

See how easily you can light your product shots using HDR Light Studio in MODO rather than traditional 3D lights and bounce cards. This demo is over 30 minutes long and does go into a lot of detail about the lighting process and techniques possible using HDR Light Studio.

As the HDR Light Studio interface is the same whichever partner software it is used with, this tutorial is useful for any HDR Light Studio user, whichever 3D software they use. Happy Lighting!

We also produced a tutorial for lighting animated product shots also, where additional considerations need to be made about the lighting over time.

Here’s a few shots lit with that technique:

Continue reading

MARI / MODO / HDR Light Studio – Sneak Peek

MOMA MARI HDRLS

We couldn’t wait to give you a sneak peek of some cool stuff we have been assisting develop.

Jacobo Barreiro has been working on a project called MOMA (Jacobo is both an amazing 3D artist and is highly technical too, he is too talented/clever and it’s just not fair!). The MOMA code creates a connection to the MODO renderer for either MARI or MAYA. For this article we are concentrating on the MARI connection and some HDR Light Studio goodness that’s been added in there too. Continue reading

Studio Lighting Techniques with HDRI Maps

Studio lighting with IBL

Image based lighting (IBL) using a HDRI map created with HDR Light Studio is particularly suited to perfectly lighting a single object or small collection of objects.

Here we show a variety of scene set-up approaches in your main 3D software/renderer and talk about their advantages and disadvantages. The example we use here is the Stanford Dragon with a small chrome ball. Continue reading