Lighting Software for Automotive CGI

Published: 6th December 2016

HDR Light Studio software is best known and widely used in the automotive market. Every car is different and needs precise placement of lighting to compliment the design of the vehicle. HDR Light Studio provides a precise and fast route to a perfectly lit automotive CGI shot.

PK3D Studio

Mini Cooper by PK3D Studio

Cars are very shiny, combining a range of reflective materials. In fact, the only non-shiny part of a car is probably the tires. When viewing a car – you are actually viewing a world of reflections within every surface. When a professional car photographer makes an image of a car, his main task is to control the reflections seen in the cars surfaces. The lighting process actually is more concerned about reflections.

Harniman Photo Shoot

In real life photography, lighting a car takes a long time. It requires a lot of trial and error, placing sheets or white boards around the car and pointing light at these objects, or at the studio walls, to create the right shape and brightness reflections in the shot. Every car has its own unique personality, with its sculpted surfaces pointing in different directions. There is no standard lighting setup to make a car look good, not if you want to make it look really good. This is why it takes so long to shoot a car properly. The photographer needs to understand the form of the car and how the lighting can work with this form to enhance it and bring out the beauty in the panels of the car.

Audi A3 - Beast | Design & CGI

Audi A3 by Beast | Design & CGI

But what about making computer generated images of cars? Well for those seeking visual perfection, you need a way to perfectly control the reflections seen in the car. As with studio photography, this process needs to be interactive, placing one light at a time to get the desired results, and allowing time to experiment to find the sweet spots. Lighting cars is an art form!

Nissan Terrano_Happy Finish Asia - Derek Dsouza

Nissan Terrano by Happy Finish Asia – Derek Dsouza

Enter HDR Light Studio
Automotive photographers producing CGI imagery love using HDR Light Studio lighting with their 3D software. It lets them replicate the lighting process from the studio by allowing placement of a wide range of lighting effects that are seen in the body of the car. Lights can be placed far faster than a real shoot. With the ‘LightPaint’ feature, lights can be placed in the right position in an instant by clicking directly on the 3D model. This is a revolution for lighting cars. Users can literally place highlights where they are needed.


Camry by Electric Art

“It changes the way we work in that it makes us focus on lighting more, and create subtle refined lighting effects that would be painstaking to create otherwise.” Bruce Bigelow, Electric Art

Automotive CGI Lighting

HDR Light Studio has established itself as an industry standard approach to lighting cars with the majority of car manufacturers world-wide using HDR Light Studio. We have a long list of automotive imaging professionals that rely on HDR Light Studio each day to light car shots, including photographers, retouching houses and ad agencies.

HDR Light Studio is used with leading 3D software used in Automotive Visualization:
3ds Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, MODO, VRED and DeltaGen

This entry was posted in Industries and tagged Automotive Visualization, CGI, HDR Light Studio.