Published: 1st March 2016 | Updated: 29th October 2021
1st March 2016 – Today, Lightmap announced the immediate availability of HDR Light Studio version 5.3. This new release adds ‘Area Lights’ to its feature set, allowing users to interactively create and control both HDRI Map and set of Area Lights with the same ‘artist friendly’ ease of use that has made HDR Light Studio a favourite lighting tool with professional 3D artists world-wide.
The ‘Maya’ Connection is the first to take advantage of the new Area Lights feature, supporting all leading renderers: MentalRay, V-Ray, Maxwell, Arnold, Octane, Redshift, RenderMan and Iray for Maya.
3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Modo and Nuke/Octane Connections will be updated soon to support the new area lights feature.
“We are very excited about the HDR Light Studio 5.3 release. The ability to control both the environment map and area lights using one unified lighting workflow is a totally unique approach and a significant evolution of our software. In fact it’s the biggest update we have ever made” says Mark Segasby, Lightmap CEO. “Our customers love how fast they can block out lighting and adjust it using HDR Light Studio’s interactive HDRI map, and how fast this renders. By adding the ability to promote a light from the HDRI map into 3D, users can use all of HDR Light Studio’s controls and content to light details on their models too.”
Left: Area Lights in the Maya scene Right: Area Lights lighting effect
Left: Just the HDRI map lighting Right: Area Lights and HDRI map lighting together
Area Light – Key Features:
• A Natural Evolution – Area lights have been added with the same intuitive controls and ease of use as you would expect from HDR Light Studio. A single tick box promotes a light from the HDRI map into a 3D area light. Lights can be moved back and forth between the HDRI map and 3D space with ease.
• LightPaint – Area Lights can be positioned ‘in shot’ by clicking on the 3D model in the Render View using one of the LightPaint modes: Reflection, Illumination, Rim.
• Smart Dolly – Controls both the distance and size of the area light, using scaling algorithms specific to the LightPaint mode used to place the light. For example, if the area light is positioned using Illumination mode, Smart Dolly scales the light to maintain the illumination intensity whatever distance the light is from the model. This eliminates the constant back and forth between distance and scale settings, instead allowing the user to concentrate on the visual effect they want with using minimal controls.
• Maya Connection – When using HDR Light Studio via the Maya Connection, the Area Lights are created on the fly in Maya, instantly building the correct shader network for the chosen Renderer. Area lights are always in sync with HDR Light Studio. Start a Maya IPR session to see a live preview of the lighting effect as you work in HDR Light Studio.
• A Light Touch – HDR Light Studio controls only the essential core settings for an area light, i.e. The RGBA image data mapped to the light surface, light size and position, falloff method and visibility to camera. Additional area light settings can still be set within Maya and are not altered by HDR Light Studio.
• Portable Lighting – The lighting design is completely independent of the 3D software/renderer and can be moved between 3D software/renderers.
• Pipeline Friendly – A Maya scene containing HDR Light Studio lights can be opened and rendered by any other user without the HDR Light Studio Connection installed or licensed. This makes the solution ideal for larger studios where a subset of artists use HDR Light Studio.
HDR Light Studio 5.3 also includes additional new features: Convert existing lights to Uber Lights, Continuous updates in the Render View when moving lights, and an updated License Management dialog providing users with comprehensive information about currently installed licenses. Plus added support for Iray for Maya, SOLIDWORKS Visualize, MODO 902, and a large number of improvements and fixes.
Pricing and Availability
Existing customers within their maintenance or subscription period can download this update today from www.lightmap.co.uk.
HDR Light Studio 5.3 is available on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux through the Lightmap website (www.lightmap.co.uk) and its authorized resellers. Pricing starts at £695 / $995 / €945 for permanent licenses, and £295 / $445 / €395 for annual subscriptions.