Category Archives: Lighting Demos, Tutorials and Tips

Tutorial: Mixing the Maps

In this tutorial we will use HDR Light Studio 5 to combine two HDRI maps, using the floor area of one, and the sky area of another, mixing them with a soft blend at the horizon. We will then add a gradient across the whole map acting as a color filter.

1. Delete the Default Gradient Background light

2. Create a Picture Background and load a HDRI map

mix_the_maps_01

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Automotive CGI Studio Lighting Demo

Automotive Studio Lighting Demo

Maciek Ptaszynski has produced this fantastic ‘Automotive Studio Lighting’ Demonstration Video using HDR Light Studio 5, standalone. The final result above looks gorgeous.

Watch the video below to see Maciek light this shot from scratch, building up the lighting one light at a time in HDR Light Studio. The final shot is rendered in Maxwell Render.

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:

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RenderMan – Physically Plausible Tutorial

Physically Plausible Pig

Out now at RenderMan University, The Piggy Bank Breakdown.
A
Maya, RenderMan and HDR Light Studio tutorial for the fast creation of physically plausible results.

This five part “How To” will show the workflows involved in shading and lighting a hypothetical CGI job for the advertising industry, an industry notorious for tough deadlines and fast turnarounds. During these lessons we will explore techniques to quickly create photorealistic images with image based lighting, as we take a simple model and use interactive ray-traced re-rendering to deliver rapid iterations for look development. These lessons will focus on using the physically plausible shading system in RenderMan Studio to achieve our final polished result.

Click here to visit RenderMan University and see the tutorial

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

Simple shots benefit from perfect HDR lighting

A potential customer asked us if HDR Light Studio could help light his products to replace the expensive and time consuming photography they needed to do for their catalog. So we asked for an example model and had a play. This little video shows the step by step buildup of a studio lighting HDRI map created with HDR Light Studio. Even a very simple project like this can benefit hugely from creating a perfect custom HDRI map. HDR Light Studio is not just for cars and mobile phones!

Only a custom HDRI map made with HDR Light Studio can bring out the best in the subject matter like this by allowing infinite levels of adjustment to control the shot. If you purchase off the shelf maps or use found HDRI maps – then you will have to spend time testing out a lot of maps to find one that is anywhere near suitable. When you purchase HDR Light Studio you are in fact buying every HDRI map you will ever need to light amazing images. No more searching and testing!

The lighting was built up as follows:
1. Large soft box on the left
2. Large soft box on the right side that was a little less bright than the first
3. Place a dark area from the view point behind the soft boxes – this is where the camera is
4. Place a brighter area behind the product so it sits on the pure white background better
5. Add a hot spot on the top of the left hand soft box to create a nice highlight on the wood
6. Do the same on the right
7. Place one final soft light behind the scene to reflect in the top surface of the wood and lift this area a little
That’s it – just 7 well placed lights in total!

LightPaint is coming!

An amazing new set of features is coming to the next update of HDR Light Studio, version 3.5. We call it LightPaint. New tools to allow the user to place and select lights directly on the 3D rendered view. Objects can be lit with lightning speed and a level of precision simply not possible before – it’s a fun and fast way to light a scene. Of course at all times everything it totally adjustable, that’s the great thing about HDR Light Studio… it’s non-destructive and resolution independent. At all times the user is not painting pixels, rather designing a complex lighting rig built in a system designed for that sole purpose. So lighting colors, size, and brightness can all be adjust easily on the fly with instant feedback on the 3D model.

But it doesn’t stop there… remember HDR Light Studio is a powerful system for adjusting existing HDRI maps. So you can place adjustments to exposure, color and saturation just as easily – with fine control over the fall-off of the effect. So if a part of the model looks a little dark, click on that area to make it brighter, cool! It’s so simple, even your granny can use it, or your 5 year old! But the quality of results is simply outstanding – perfect illumination and reflections. Once you have used LivePaint, there’s no going back and it’s coming to Windows, Mac and Linux real soon! HDR Light Studio 3.5 is a free update for version 3 customers!

Here’s a quick demo!

KeyShot 3 – HDRI Contrast Confusion?

Don’t get caught out by subtle changes between KeyShot 2 and KeyShot 3 when using the HDR Light Studio plug-in, or in fact any HDRI map.

You’ll notice that the Environment settings tab now has a ‘Contrast’ setting which has replaced the old Gamma slider found in KeyShot v2. If you create a new scene in KeyShot 3 this Contrast setting is set to 2.5. I changed this back to 1 straight away to ensure the HDRI lighting information was going to be used accurately, without any contrast adjustments being made which would alter the relative brightness of each light. But I quickly found out that my lighting was just not working as expected and looked terrible. It turns out the setting of 2.5 was in fact correct and is the equivalent to the old environment gamma setting of 1. Continue reading

Precision 3D Retouching

HDR Light Studio can be used for more than just studio lighting creation. With the introduction of HDRI backgrounds and the LiveLight real-time preview in version 2.0, users can now use HDR Light Studio to enhance existing HDRI environments with additional lighting and see the effects on their 3D model in real-time. The results are a new process we call 3D retouching. Continue reading

Size and Distance in HDRI Maps

Let’s take some time to understand how the size of objects is represented in a HDRI environment. The most common type of HDR image format used for lighting in CG rendering is the Equirectangular format. This rectangular image format has a ratio of 2:1 and when mapped onto a sphere it correctly represents the viewpoint looking around a full 360 degrees in all directions from a point in space. These images can be created in a number of ways, but for the purposes of this discussion, lets imagine they are being captured with a Spheron camera system.

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