Category Archives: Lighting Demos, Tutorials and Tips

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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

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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

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Holomatix SprayTrace 1.5.20 adds support for LightPaint

SprayTrace supports LightPaint

Users of HDR Light Studio 4, by Lightmap Ltd, can now take advantage of native LightPaint support from directly within the SprayTrace 1.5.20 viewport. It’s the ultimate combination of Maya plug-ins for those looking to quickly and easily light their Mental Ray shots to perfection. It’s like a fully rendered version of LiveLight in a live connection with Maya!

Continue reading

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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

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Studio Lighting Techniques with HDRI Maps

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.

Studio lighting with IBL

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

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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!

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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!

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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

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