Highly Cinematic Time-Lapse HDRI Sky Domes

I’m proud to reveal to you my latest HDRI sky product, which is as far as I know, the first commercially available Time-Lapse HDRI Sky Dome collection. My name is Jay Weston, I’ve been the principal photographer at Hyperfocal Design for 12 years. I’ve worked hard over the past year developing these 10 unique skies, and I’ve pushed my knowledge and skills, along with the quality in these HDRIs to another level.

Currently, the market is flooded with free and subpar HDRI maps and skies. An HDRI sky dome or environment is supposed to make your lighting quick and simple, and produce realistic lighting, fast. But unfortunately, that’s pretty rare – it’s not easy to create great HDRIs. It’s an especially big problem when you want to wow your client, create something epic looking, with realistic lighting (arguably one of the most important parts of a great render) AND you’re on a deadline! You buy one of these ‘other’ HDRIs then have to go about adding your own sun-light, or adjust gamma, and then because you adjusted gamma, you now have to alter saturation, and on and on.

Don’t waste any more time with dull, hastily shot HDRs. With these Time-Lapse HDRIs you won’t find any clamped suns, you won’t have to paint them in yourself, you wont have to adjust gamma or setup your own lighting. Just load the HDR into your scene, choose the intensity level and alignment, and you have yourself a highly realistic, image-based-lighting solution that will blow away your clients. Add to the fact that these are truly unique, story-telling, *animated* time-lapse skies, and your work will really stand out.

hdri compared to mdr


These time-lapse HDRI sky domes feature:

  • 9500x4750px lat/long
  • True, unclamped HDR, up to 16EV for bright midday skies
  • Linear 1.0 Gamma
  • Color Corrected with the Spydercheckr(™) Pro
  • Up to 1200 frames per time-lapse, in EXR Piz Wavelet format
  • Completely clean and clear horizon lines in all directions


“We used the Sunset2Dusk time-lapse – Shot looks great! My clients happy which means I’m happy.”
– Chris Townsend, Lucid Image


These HDRIs are a true 1-step IBL lighting solution because I captured them using thick neutral density filters and bracketed right down to expose the disc of the sun itself. This time-lapse product was no small undertaking however, so I followed the work of one of the best – Paul Debevec. When I first saw his Parthenon animation 10 years ago I was blown away, and I’ve wanted to recreate it ever since. I studied his original HDR time-lapse sky project and implemented everything I could. His original frames came from an old Canon 1ds, so the resolution was on the low side of usable, but thanks to the new Nikon D800’s 36MP sensor, my frames are a much higher 9500px. Paul was also held back by CF card storage and laptop transfer times, so was limited to 1 HDRI frame per minute, whereas I’ve managed to reduce that down to 1 every 8 seconds for some slower moving time-lapses. 10 years can make a difference in hardware!

Ready to check out some time-lapses? See All of Hyperfocal's Time-Lapse HDRI Sky Domes.

To further assist me in creating this collection I enlisted the help of a film special effects supervisor, Lorne Kwechansky at Mr X. who has worked on films like Pompeii and Robocop. He quite honestly led me through a bit of a minefield, checked that my work was accurate, and showed me the ropes on Nuke to produce work that I could not have achieved on my own.

So I have those guys to thank, along with all my testers, most of all Timothy Back at ArchAngel Visual. He used the skies in a real architectural visualisation production environment and confirmed they were usable with the Arch Vis industry’s most used combination of software, 3dsMax and V-Ray. He also created this very handy tutorial on using them in VRay 3.0. Check out Tim’s animation below that uses Sunset2Dusk01 as a background and for IBL:


Time-Lapse skies can do so much for an animation – they can take otherwise completely static shots and make them look interesting and full of wonder. They can transform the lighting from an afternoon to twilight to moon-lit, showing off an environment or architecture in multiple lighting scenarios. Most of all, they introduce a sense of the dramatic, of awe, inspiration, and the epic passage of time. This footage was built for drama and emotion, to watch history unfold and see the future race ahead.

“…the sequence has now been composed into a 600 frame animation for a delighted client. And a happy studio.”
– Gordon Brown, Wireframe3D

Of course, each and every frame can be used in still IBL renders as well, giving you a huge amount of choice of exact sky and lighting conditions. Do you want a completely unobscured sun for crisp shadows? Or behind just a bit of light cloud, for some feathered shadows? How high do you want the sun in the sky? Choose the sky conditions you like.

Here’s another example by Reino Zuppur with an animation of the Great Wall of China, going for a bit of a stop-motion effect. It uses FullDayCloudy01, rendering 1 in every 10 frames from the time-lapse with a super low frame rate:



I’m confident that you will find the footage I’ve captured to be some of the best quality HDRI captures you’ve used – not only that, they are animated, there are 100’s (up to 1200) of frames per time-lapse! Even if you don’t require HDRI for image based lighting, these EXRs will allow you maximum flexibility in exposure selection and editing in true 32bit linear gamma.

These time-lapse HDRI files are monnnnstrous! 55gb on the high end, but I’ve teamed up with Continuata to offer a super high reliability, error tolerant download solution so you won’t have to mess around downloading and re-downloading every time your internet drops out. If you live somewhere without unlimited high speed internet (I know the feeling, I’m in Australia!), then I’ll ship you a USB with the time-lapse ready to go – they even work straight off the drive if you want to save HDD space.

I honestly can’t wait to see what you can do with them – You can find the 10 time-lapses below (or on the top left menu) available for purchase starting at $229 USD each, or you can get the lot as a bundle. I’m so confident you’ll love these time-lapse HDRIs that I offer our 100%, no questions asked, money back guarantee, so you can buy with complete confidence:

Time-Lapse HDRI Sky Domes Bundle

All 10 of Hyperfocal Design’s Time-Lapse HDRI Sky Domes (view them all here).

Royalty free licensing. Read the EULA.

$2400.00 USD

$979.00 USD

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satisfaction guaranteed

If for any reason you aren’t satisfied with your purchase, you may return
them at any time for a refund (minus USB/Shipping/Download fees).


Time-Lapse HDRI Sky Domes

Click the titles to be taken to that time-lapse’s product page.
If you have any further questions, consult the FAQ.

Afternoon to Night 01

Afternoon Cloudy 01

Afternoon Slow 01

Day Cloudy 01

Day Stormy 01

Full Day Cloudy 01

Half Day Cloudy 01


Sunset to Dusk 01

Twilight to Night 01

If you haven’t tried our HDRIs before I’d like to invite you to download these free samples from Afternoon2Night01, the second longest time-lapse on offer, 863 frames worth: