- Industry-first, un-clamped, High dynamic range, up to 16 stops. We use dark Kodak Wratten and Hoya neutral density filters to properly capture the sun’s range, enabling crisp shadows and highlights in image based lighting. Read about the difference between HDR and “MDR” images.
- Photographed skies. Apart from a rare 1 or 2 images, every one of our 1000’s of skies is photographed in the real world in South Australia, giving you the maximum realism in your CGI renders.
- Only the best equipment. As technology moves from generation to generation, we always choose the best lenses and cameras. We currently shoot with a D800E, 360 Precision tripod heads and Nikon and Sigma’s professional range of lenses.
- Clean and clear horizon lines (no trees/buildings/hills). Use in any setting without fear of distracting mid/background elements.
- Carefully scrutinized and cleaned of dust, insects, birds and seams. Then checked again, and again!
- For super realistic image-based lighting, reflections, and backgrounds
- Various times of day and weather conditions, from blue skies to stormy sunsets
- Technical: EXR/HDR format, lat/long spherical, up to 14,000 x 7,000px, sun aligned to center.
Jump straight into trialing our HDRI skies by downloading a free sample here. Make sure you read the included readme, and use either brute force, unbiased or high importance sampling rendering techniques in your image based lighting solution.
If you’re using V-Ray 3 and 3dsMax with our skies, Tim Back wrote a tutorial here.
Buy with complete confidence. We offer a lifetime, no questions asked money back guarantee because our products are the best in the industry.
HDRI Sky Collections:
Use the top menu to view all of our collections, or choose from our most popular ones below. Buying in bundles is the most cost-efficient way to build your library.
20 of our very popular range of sunsets.
12 Very high dynamic range, very high resolution skies.
HDRI Skies Vol 1
A balanced selection of 24 images.
12 of our best selling sky maps.
Time-Lapse HDRI Sky Domes
- EXR image sequences up to 1200 frames long (15-40 seconds long @ 30fps)
- 9500 x 4750px in lat/long format
- Color calibrated
- “Full”, high dynamic range (not clamped!)
- Choose from fast, day length time-lapses, or slow moving afternoons and sunsets
“You can never have enough HDR libraries, but now a days, what makes a good HDR is not only its technical quality but its artistic merit as well. The HDRI skies from Hyperfocal Design shows great technique, high res, great dynamic range, and high quality photography, with a wonderful aesthetic eye that will offer the users a great lighting resource.”
– Christopher Nichols, Author of Global Illumination: Exteriors and Interiors from The Gnomon Workshop
Image Courtesy Archangel Visual
High Dynamic Range Skies
Each HDRI Sky can add instant, super realistic lighting to 3D scenes. Achieve accurate reflections and a dynamic background that reacts realistically with semi-opaque surfaces such as tinted glass or atmospheric effects such as dust and smoke. Each image contains a range of exposure values from extremely underexposed to overexposed, allowing artists to choose precisely the exposure or “shutter speed” required.
Hyperfocal Design recently popularized the phrase “un-clamped HDRI” in a post on CGArchitect.com. One of the most important aspects of an HDRI is its “dynamic range” or put more simply, its brightness. When photographing HDR images, special care must be taken to capture the sun accurately. If done incorrectly, the photographer will fail to capture the sun’s actual brightness, resulting in dim, dull and inaccurate lighting results that leave your renders looking flat and lifeless. It can look a lot like clouds have just passed in front of the sun, however, it is still in full view.
When the sun is clamped, you also lose any color information from the sun, which typically has a slight yellow hue. When clamped, the sun will always be a white/greyscale value, further adding to the lifeless lighting achieved. With a dim sun, the surrounding blue sky “takes over” the lighting of your scene, creating a blue end result, like a blue spotlight shines into your entire scene. This can look fine for a twilight shot, but is completely incorrect when trying to emulate a mid-day sun.
Furthermore, clamping will reduce the contrast in your scene, leading to fuzzy or completely non-existent shadows.
All this leads to artists having to add in a fake sun, or mess around with contrast and gamma settings, which then leads to adjustments needing to be made with image saturation, and it never ends. After all of this, the end result is still nowhere near as good as an HDRI shot accurately in the first place.
How do we achieve un-clamped HDRIs? The solution requires proper bracketing (a large number of photographs that are taken of the sun, ranging from 1/8000 to 1 second) and optimal f-stop settings, as well as very specialized and super-dark neutral density filters that either fit over the lens or that are slotted into the rear of the lens as a gel filter. Special color corrections are then required, as these filters typically aren’t perfectly neutral. We use purpose-made color charts that we shoot with the filter on, and then create a color balancing solution which is then applied back onto the original sky images.
If you’d like to learn more about our industry-first, un-clamped HDRI sky domes, you can read more on our blog.
Our most accurately shot skies so far are our Moments collections, and our Time-Lapse Skies, followed by our V-HDRI and Magic Hours Collections.
Clear Horizons in All Directions
For the ultimate in 1-Step workflow and flexibility, our skies feature absolutely no foreground, midground or background elements of any kind, so you never have to spend your precious time removing them when you could be perfecting your work. This means our skies will work in real-time interactive games, or any situation you can imagine, including ocean-based scenes, with no fear of a rogue tree or hill ruining your scene.
We shoot from cliff tops in South Australia to ensure the longest views in all directions, which also has the added effect of creating stunning cloud formations as cold ocean air moves over warm (sometimes extremely hot!) land.
Check out the CGI, IBL render above to see how clean and clear our horizons are.
Our skies use only the best quality digital optics for crisp, clean images. We don’t use mirror balls or distorted, low-quality fisheye lenses. Due to the huge resolutions achieved, these images are amongst the only HDRIs available that can be used for background images and reflections as well as lighting. They provide maximum flexibility for your virtual camera and scene, allowing long zooms and extreme detail in reflection close-ups.
Our lenses are cleaned meticulously between every single shot, as are our DSLR sensors, using special static creating sensor brushes to catch any dust that’s accumulated between shoots. If somehow any dust still comes through, we will catch it during our 3-pass viewing of the final image to ensure you’ll never have to clone out a dust speck, bird or insect. We are truly OCD about quality.
“The sunset HDRIs are simply gorgeous, I now use them on all my architectural viz stuff. It makes the lighting so much more simple!”
– Matt Lester, 3DViz
Money Back Guarantee
Hyperfocal Design has been operating since 2002 and is the top choice for visual effects, architectural visualization and games development studios around the world. Because we offer the best quality products, we are confident in offering our famous, life-time, 100% money back guarantee. No questions asked. Read more about our refund policy here.
Need to ask a question about our products? Contact us.