Creating HDRI Environments for 3D Lighting in Photoshop and Maya


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Course overview

In this series of tutorials we will learn how to create HDRI environments for 3D lighting and use them in Maya and V-Ray to light a 3D asset. 

Throughout the training we will cover the whole lighting process and creating a complete shot from scratch. We will start shooting HDRI on set and we will finish the final shot in NUKE, integrating a 3D asset in a real environment. 

By the end of this tutorial you will be able to shot your own HDRI panoramas and create 3D light rigs to light your own projects.

Topics covered

  • Introduction to HDRI.
  • What HDRI is?
  • When and why should we use them in CG?
  • How HDRI works?
  • Equipment used to shot HDRI images.
  • What do we need to shot HDRI?
  • Affordable options vs professional options.
  • Extra accessories.
  • Accessories required to gather information in the set.
  • Shooting HDRI images to be used as main lighting/reflection sources in a 3D package.
  • Planning the shot.
  • Tools which can help us to control the natural light.
  • Writing a shooting diagram.
  • Camera settings.
  • Shooting bracketing sequences.
  • Shooting color and lighting references.
  • Check the images before leaving the set.
  • Shooting the plate to integrate our 3D assets and gather color and lighting references.
  • Planning the shot.
  • Place tracking markers if needed.
  • Shooting.
  • Shooting color and lighting references.
  • Check images before leaving the set.
  • Processing all the information gathered in the set.
  • Organize all the material using Adobe Bridge.
  • Create a backup for the original material.
  • Create the HDRI panorama in ptgui to be used in the 3D package.
  • Use PtGui to stitch all the bracketed images to create a high resolution panorama.
  • Tone mapping?
  • Organize all the material created in this process.
  • Create a lightrig based on the HDRI in Maya and Vray using the color chart and chrome/diffuse spheres.
  • Setting V­Ray preferences.
  • Setting a linear workflow.
  • Import the HDRI created in the shot.
  • Divide the HDRI in different layers. (Lighting, reflection, background).
  • Create diffuse and chrome balls and color chart to match the real ones shooted.
  • Compensate the lighting difference using Maya, Nuke and some maths.
  • Asset look­dev.
  • Import the asset.
  • Create a complex shading setup for the character.
  • Import footage and 3D camera.
  • Create a Maya scene with the plate shooted.
  • Import a 3D camera generated in Nuke using camera tracking methods.
  • Place the HDRI in the right position according with the plate.
  • Add additional lights if needed.
  • Make artistic decisions and evaluate if additional lights are required to complete the lookof the shot.
  • Create render passes and establish render settings.
  • Setting the outputs needed for the shot.
  • Setting up the final production render qualities.
  • Rendering out.
  • Slap comp in Nuke.
  • Create a basic Nuke template to test the render outputs.
  • Evaluate different kind of compositions.
  • Color grading
  • Use Nuke to color correct the Vray renders.
  • Apply a global color grading to complete the final look of the shot.
  • Adding atmosphere.
  • Add additional elements like smoke, fog, etc.
  • Add camera film attributes like noise, grain and shakes.
  • Final touches.
  • Rendering the comp and generating the final video output.

Software used

­ Maya
Mari (maybe)