Painting HDRI Maps for 3D Environments

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  06 June 2013
Painting HDRI Maps for 3D Environments

Hi! I am not unfamiliar with previously utilizing HDR light probes for lighting purposes (within Maya specifically). A new set of HDRI shaders has recently been released for the Unity game engine, and I'm eager to start trying them out. However, I want to create my own HDRI maps for this, without resorting to photographing a reflective sphere in my front yard. Is there any existing software or technique to "paint" these sorts of images/maps? I know photoshop can process 32 bit raw images, and I've used it to do this in the past, but can I use it to build them (HDRI maps) as well? It would be wonderful if I could simply paint out the areas and values for light emission on top of say... an existing skybox?
  06 June 2013
I'm pretty sure you can. Although I imagine picking the right value may not be very intuitive.
  07 July 2013
You can

You can paint "lights" in Photoshop. Additionally, I've used a software called HDR Light Studio which is pretty great for creating HDR Environment scenes, at least for product illustrations (that's my main use case).

  07 July 2013
Have you looked into HDR Light Studio? Its great for creating/editing HDRI maps.
  07 July 2013
dmiller knows what hes talking about.

i believe that either in nuke or photoshop or mari or mudbox... would allow you to paint in 32 bit mode and get the floating space values.. you can photostich these things manually or you can use programs like HDRlightstudio. if you need more environment lighting you could always do something creative like take an optical flare (32bit) and stitch it into an HDR of choice.
  07 July 2013
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