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HDR Image Based Lighting in Blender in 60 Seconds

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Screencast


Advantages of Using HDR Images

Realistic Lighting and Shadows

HDR Images can be used as a light source to illuminate a CG scene. These images have higher range of luminance levels, therefore they give accurate lighting and cast believable shadows.

Reflections

Metallic and glossy materials created in 3D, need something to reflect. Using panoramic HDR Images as environment map, glossy materials gets a world around them to reflect.

Fast Setup

Instead of setting up lights individually and manually, you can achieve better and realistic results by lighting the entire scene with help of a single HDR image.

How to Use HDR Images in Blender

In the World settings and in the Surface panel, click Use Nodes. In Color option select Environment Texture. For more details, see the screencast above.

Free HDR Images

You can download free HDR Images from HDRI Haven, a place with 100% free HDRIs, available to everyone with no account or sign-up required.