HDRI Lighting

Starting out this project, I looked into compositing an object into an image. It was recommended by my peers to try out HDRI lighting.

Arnold for Maya Tutorial – Image based Lighting  (Accessed 14.11.16)

Speaking of peers, I have to credit Becca Blair for showing me the resources to actually pull off HDRI lighting. She initially shown me this tutorial which was very helpful to figure out what HDRI lighting is and the basic settings to capture this effect.

Another resource I  found to be very helpful was the Solid Angle website. It has an array of information on Arnold, this was able to help me investigate why my initial images where appearing blurry.

Below is my first success which using an HDRI map and a sky dome. I really like the way that just using a lambert I was able to get various warm and cool tones from the image; despite the object looking a tad grainy.

HDRI lighting practice.jpg

I then wanted to investigate how I could implement my own photographs, converting them into a HDRI map.  I first tried converting my images into HDR images online, this has a somewhat degree of success. I was able to get tones into an image however as the image wasn’t sized and formatted to go around  a sphere. It was a bit of a failure!!

I tried my best to use other images to create a nice backplate, adding ambient occlusion. However it didn’t look great as the object doesn’t looked apart of the image but literally as if  I have placed the cube on top. I know the major issue with this image is that the resources used aren’t correct.


A failed Attempt

Looking into making my own HDR images I found a few resources;

The below website goes through the process as if you were taking HDRI manually. It’s not lots of detail how to recreate HDR images but its a good start to finding out more.

“HDR techniques allow us to capture all the information in the lightest areas and every bit of the darkest areas of a scene. In some cases, an HDR photograph can capture more emotion and have much more wow factor than a normal photo. Since it captures a closer representation to what we can actually perceive, it has the ability to make some people feel as though they were there – like they can reach out and touch it.” – Monkey?, Why, Past Statistics, and World Map. “HDR Tutorial – High Dynamic Range Photography”. Blamethemonkey.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

I was then able to get a more detailed article on creating your own map which actually goes through the process step by step. Through this I learn that to make my own it requires a tripod and various exposures as it’s about the lighting in the image. To get the darkest bits and the lightest bit, I need to adjust exposure to capture this range. There was a lot of information in the article which could go on for an entire blog post!

With the images I found that creating my own map maybe too much and decided to try again with free maps and backplates on this site. Below are the results which I am very happy with as they feel more believable than trying to use my own images.

Overall I am gonna move on with manually lighting my scene as I feel like that I would learn  lot more about different render passes. Also with the time given and the limitations of equipment, my budget wouldn’t cover trying to do my own HDR images.


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