I don’t know how useful this HDRI will be to anyone, but it’s a fun one to have anyway :)
Licensed as CC0 (basically public domain, do whatever you want with it :)
This was shot in the Blender Institute in Amsterdam, just after the Blender Conference 2016. The Monday after the conference was reserved for a sort of open-day at the Institute, hoards of people could come and see what goes on there and spend the day chatting about all things Blender. This was of course a bit later in the evening when most people had already gone home, with just a few devout acolytes and the institute staff remaining.
More photos from the conference if you’re interested.
There was a partial solar eclipse on the 1st of September, and I figured that’s not the sort of opportunity you want to pass up :)
Last week I went down to Cape Town with Rico Cilliers to shoot some HDRIs. What started as an idea for a tiny charity bundle turned into a week-long trip which left me with 30 new potential HDRIs and a respect for wobbly rocks on the beach.
HDRIs are everywhere these days. If you’ve got a half-decent camera, a tripod and some software you can even make them yourself.
But just like creating art in Blender, being able to do it at all is not the same as being able to do it well.
So, after I created my first crappy HDRI and discovered how challenging it could be, I decided to embark on a quest. I wanted to create the perfect high dynamic range environment map that would give you perfectly accurate and realistic lighting as if you had teleported your CG scene to the actual location of the photo itself.
In truth, this is an unending quest, but I’ve made some fair progress over the years. So without further ado, let me explain…
What Makes a Good HDRI
Just like art, the quality of an HDRI can be a subjective thing, but I think we can all agree that there are a few fundamental attributes that define (although not exclusively) how useful or accurate an HDRI is.
Let’s begin with what is, to me, the most important aspect of any HDR image that you intend to use for lighting.
Want more free HDRIs? Check out my new dedicated website: HDRI Haven
I searched long and hard for a way to create these magical images that light your scenes for you, and I never once found any article or mention of the process in any of the Blender forums. Every time I saw a render using image based lighting (IBL), the artist had always found it on some website (and was usually accompanied by a complaint about how Blender doesn’t give you nice hard shadows).
I’m no expert in this matter, but due to the lack of information that can be found easily, I’d like to share the little that I do know with you.
So in this guide I’ll show you the basics, but it’s up to you and the rest of the community to find out by experience what is good or bad practice and when to ignore everything you’ve ever been taught.