3D free HDRI files

Strata 3D CX now supports Lightdome HDRI (though I haven't been using it yet...still in the beginner stage.) Thanks for posting those links.


Power User
Erik said:
Please download these ONLY if you have a use for them and know how to use them and have a 3D app that can make use of them!
:rofl: Erik, I am one of those "download packrats" you just saved diskspace for! I have 280 G of HD, and probably have at least a couple of those filled with apps, filters, actions, and graphic files of who knows what all that I download from threads like this one, and since I'm in the middle of other things, never install, or even get back to! I was all set to download HDRI files, even tho' I had no idea what the heck they were. If they're posted on PSG, and posted by the likes of you, Keeper, Spectre, Stroker or the like, well...gotta have it, 'cause it must be worth having!%} ;) %}
What a nice, generous cheerleader. 8))

Thanks for the link Erik. I think I'll be hogging the bandwidth later on into the small hours. Nearly 60MB on 56k dial-up. [confused]
The wires will be glowing in the dark.

MsOz, you are just like me, a Magpie collecting totally useless shiny things.
An old Scottish saying is that if you keep something for seven years you will eventually find a use for it.
The problem is remembering where the heck you stored it. :rofl:
Al: Which is why one should stay married for at least seven years and a day.

Madeline: these are images that have a far greater lightness range than normal. Indeed: sunlight is much brighter than the lightest value your monitor can show, and these images extend the normal range.
They are used in some 3D applications as reflection maps.

To know more: do a search for either hdri or Paul Debevec
Erik said:
...They are used in some 3D applications as reflection maps.
Not entirely accurate. HDRI Radiance maps are used as a light source, not reflection maps. An HDRI image is used in place of conventional lighting to give a 3D scene a more believable light range by using "real" lights from the suroundings.


Power User
Yes, you are correct Thonk.

This is actually what HDRI is all about (a quote from a web site);

High Dynamic Range Image - Traditional image formats can only represent a limited range of intensity values for each pixel (most commonly 0 to 255 for each of the red, green and blue channels). This is sufficient for representing an image to be displayed on a computer screen, but does not allow the full range of light intensity which is present in the real world to be represented. High dynamic range image formats allow a much greater range of intensity values by using floating point values. It is then possible to represent images which contain the sort of variation in intensity which is found in the real world, without loss of precision. In order to display such images on current computer screens some form of tone mapping would be used. Apart from the advantage of being able to preserve the full intensity range until the point of display, the ability to store very high intensity values in an image format also allows such images to be used for lighting purposes; this technique is known as image based lighting (IBL) and can produce extremely realistic lighting effects in rendered images.
Here's an example (very quickly done) to show how a radiance map (HDRI) can enrich a 3D environment.

I've been a 3D animator for the last 11 years and have loved the warmth and realism HDRI can bring to a scene.

Thanks for the demo. Six pictures are worth a thousand words. ;) Have you a sense of the additional rendering time for an image using HDRI?

Additionally, there was a longish discussion on the Adobe Phothshop for Mac forum a while ago which addressed the issue of PS support for HDRI images. Unless I read something into the thread which wasn't there, Chris Cox indicated that the state of PS development includes viewing such support in the future but presently the HDRI standards aren't defined enough (there are too many different formats) for the engineers to consider including it immediately.
Well, render times do have a lot to do with what technique you utilize to light a scene. Although, HDR combined with Radiosity is the ultimate way to go for realistic lighting (using no lights...I love that fact), it is a lot more time consuming than say [render time wise], a few dozen spotlights set up in a light array to get a similar effect. The closest you can get to HDR lit scenes is most likely Area lighting combined with Radiosity...but, the render times on that can be excrutiatingly long depending on scene elements.
I personally prefer to use HDR for everything these days with a few lights set up for Specular and/or caustic effects. It all comes down too how much time ya got and what look your going for...hyper-real or "standard".

I've noticed most of the folks using 3D in this group use Max or the like, I personally have used Lightwave for the better part of 9 years and the original 3D Studio (pre-max...and, it was DOS based...nasty) before that. So, how long they take to render in Max, or a comparable program is not in my personal knowledge, but I'd be curious to know myself. I've used Soft|Image in the past, and Maya more recently, but I always find myself migrating back to Lightwave. Best package out of the box if you ask me.

I'm very new to the Guru site, danced around it a few times over the years but never really came in and said hello, I'm glad I didn't get my legs cut off for disagreeing with a regular. :)
Oh, I forgot.... for that simple little 3 minute scene, most lights rendered out at about 10 seconds or less with 5 passes, the HDR took 2 minutes. But I think you'd agree the extra length is worth it for a single frame. Over the course of say, a full length feature, I'm sure I'd use more conventional lighting, but for a still, I go all out. :perfect:

As for PS and HDR, sorry, still not compatable.
Thonk said:
I've noticed most of the folks using 3D in this group use Max or the like
No, most of us actually use Cinema 4D and from what I read at CGTalk is that lots of LW people are switching to XSI or C4D. Must have to do with the new R9 release which is just incredible if you ask me. I do know that Stroker uses Max.
Oh well, these are just tools in the hands of a capable artist or a clumsy beginner like me, who cares as long as we have fun! :D

Btw, keep sharing your expertise, I can use all the info I can get! :perfect:
C4D is not a bad program, has a lot of nice features, but the only reason I could think of a LW artist would switch over to it would be it's learning curve is vastly smaller. One of the main reasons [besides game development] a lot of others use Max...ease of use.

XSI on the other hand, I never really cared for it's start-up requirements (back when it was still just Soft|Image you had to have no less than 1600 x 1200 screen rez to even start it up), but it's modeling and animation features were wonderful.

Maya...well, what can I say, it does it all....but the renderer was crap the last time I had a chance to use it (version 4).

With LW8's release, the new features [mostly the soft and hard body dynamics] are a godsend. It now has the built in dynamics products like Maya and XSI have had for years and it's a vast improvement.

When it comes to 3D packages, it all boils down to, what you can afford and what you are most comfortable with learning curve wise. The higher end products are definetely not for the beginner, they'll make you pull your hair out more often than not. :(|

I think I chose LW for the sole reason, out of the box (no plug-ins or external programs needed) the renderer was the best in the business alongside Pixar's Renderman. To this day, I'd still chose it for the same reason, even though Maya and XSI have Mental Ray's renderer. Again, all comes down to what your most comfortable with using.

I'd like to see some of your recent C4D work though JoeD, so please, by all means toss me a link or two or post here in the 3D forum section so I can take a gander. Perhaps we can start a "model-off" with anyone who wishes to jump in do the same exact scene in any program they wish too, just to be able to see what each is capable of. Perhaps critique each entry so that we can all learn form each other and grow as an artist.
I am particularly impressed by Timothy Albees work on Ghost Warrior,no make that amazed its quite an acheivment for 6 months and 2 computers,my hats off to him :perfect: Am also a fan of Nicholas Boughen and Leigh Van Der Byl is a friend of mine,so I have a bit of a soft spot for LW {am a C4D user} but I think Modo is going to blow everyones doors off for modelling and workflow.

Would be nice if C4D had some better CA tools {Mocca 2 is a start} and animation needs work also,but now that the big CA tools have gone to Discreet and Alias respectively its going to be hard for mid range apps to keep up in that area.Personally if XSI had a Mac version I could be tempted by essentials myself :)