Lightmap brings HDR Light Studio to Blender

New real-time connection plug-in makes the powerful lighting toolkit used by leading design and automotive studios available to Blender users worldwide

8 September 2020 – Today, Lightmap released its new Blender connection for HDR Light Studio, making the artist-friendly real-time lighting toolkit available to users of the open-source 3D design and rendering software. The plug-in creates a live link between HDR Light Studio and Blender, helping automotive, visualization and entertainment artists to create accurate photorealistic lighting set-ups more quickly, intuitively and creatively.

HDR Light Studio enables artists to create custom HDRI-based set-ups that mimic real-world lighting without the need to place 3D lights by hand, through time-saving features like LightPaint, which lets users position highlights on a model simply by clicking on its surface.

“The improvement in speed that HDR Light Studio provides is immense,” said motion designer Gizmo Beardon, “Manually moving light objects and tweaking settings in Blender takes time. It's nice to be able to focus only on the lighting.”

HDR Light Studio connected to Blender
HDR Light Studio connected to Blender

The new connection makes the lighting tools used in production by firms like Porsche, Sony and Framestore available to individual Blender users for the first time.

“I found HDR Light Studio a long time ago, and always wanted to use it for my Blender projects,” says automotive artist Daniel Vesterbaek, who recently adopted the new connection in his work. “Lighting used to feel cumbersome, and there was a lot of guesswork involved in how reflections would look. HDR Light Studio enables me to generate high-quality lighting more intuitively.”

The Blender connection is the first to take advantage of HDR Light Studio's new API (added in HDR Light Studio's Xenon Drop 1 release) and is used to establish a real-time connection between the two applications.

“We are very excited to launch this new add-on linking HDR Light Studio with Blender,” said Lightmap CEO and 3D product designer Mark Segasby. “Thanks to our new API and the responsiveness of Blender itself, the integration is incredibly fast. I have found it a joy to learn and use Blender and its Cycles render engine.”

Blender renders lit with HDR Light Studio during beta testing
Blender renders lit with HDR Light Studio during beta testing

Key benefits of HDR Light Studio for Blender users include:

  • Create photorealistic HDRI-based Blender lighting set-ups interactively
  • Drag and drop preset 2D and 3D lights mimicking real-world light types like soft boxes
  • LightPaint system positions highlights and reflections by clicking directly on a model
  • New Blender connection shows the results in the Blender viewport in real time
  • Create your own synthetic HDRIs or edit photographic HDRI maps
  • Customize HDRIs with masks, gradients and layers
  • Procedural sky system for lighting outdoor scenes
  • Save light rigs as presets to use in other projects
  • Fast and responsive, even with large production scenes
  • Supports industry standards like OpenColorIO and Alembic

For more information, visit the Blender connection's product page. To help new users get started, Lightmap has produced a series of detailed Blender lighting tutorials, which can be completed using the free demo edition of HDR Light Studio.

HDR Light Studio tutorials for Blender
HDR Light Studio tutorials for Blender

Pricing and Availability

The new Blender connection is compatible with Xenon, the latest version of HDR Light Studio released today. The Blender connection is a free addition for existing HDR Light Studio customers with active Subscriptions or Maintenance - download it today.

If your Maintenance has expired there is a MAINTENANCE SALE until 30th September 2020. A 25% discount on maintenance is automatically applied to your basket at checkout. Renew your maintenance here.

HDR Light Studio is available for Windows, Linux and macOS. Subscriptions start at $140/year for Indie artists with annual revenue under $100,000, which includes the connections for Blender, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, LightWave 3D, Maxwell Studio, Maya, Modo, OctaneRender Standalone, Rhino and SOLIDWORKS Visualize. For full details visit the HDR Light Studio pricing page.



About Lightmap and HDR Light Studio

Founded by 3D product designer Mark Segasby and his brother-in-law, game developer Simon C. Smith, Lightmap created HDR Light Studio to address artists' needs for real-time lighting tools. Since its release in 2009, the software has been adopted by users ranging from individual 3D artists to automotive and product manufacturers like Porsche and Sony and visual effects studios like Framestore, and is supported by live links to 14 major DCC, CAD and visualization applications.

For more information about Lightmap's ongoing mission to provide the most advanced software on the market for authoring HDRI-based lighting set-ups, visit