Category Archives: Lighting Demos, Tutorials and Tips

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

Learn how the size of objects is represented in a HDRI environment.

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.

Continue reading


What is HDR Light Studio?

HDR Light Studio™ is a dedicated tool for creating lighting. It connects to your 3D software providing a fast and easy way to light your 3D images. Real-time and interactive – simply ‘drag and drop’ lights onto your 3D model.

Lighting designs can easily and quickly be adjusted within this resolution independent tool. HDRI maps can be output as fast low-res previews through to high quality production output- in either .HDR or .EXR file formats.