Time-Lapse HDRI skies, 9 months in… they’re finally ready!

How time passes eh?

Well that went past in the blink of an eye! I certainly didn’t plan on these taking so long, but here we are! Looking back I’m glad I postponed so many times, as each time I did so, we realized a problem or improvement that I couldn’t quite look past, and that would have resulted in a sub par end result. They would have come out 6 months earlier which would have been nice, but I didn’t want to spend all this time, money and effort making these time-lapses and not be happy with them!

How many did I shoot?

So how many time-lapses can you shoot in 9 months? Well I would say I actually shot about two dozen, but threw out the first 6-8 as they were mostly me getting used to the new setup, and I’d also planned on slightly clamping the HDRIs in order to get a reduced lens streaking/flare effect by using f3.5 on my lens. A few emails later though and it was clear that testers said no to that idea, so I chucked them all out except for the Sunset2Dusk01 time-lapse which has been requested a lot since Tim Back’s original time-lapse animation:

I was a little torn between offering this one as it doesn’t quite match my now rather high bar in terms of proper HDRI capture. The only real issue with it is that the sun is slightly clamped during the first few seconds, but I have made it clear on that product page what the technical differences are, so I’m happy. It certainly produced a great result for Tim and other customers as well, so up it goes on the store!

I ended up with only 5 time-lapses (so far) to offer. So what happened to the rest?

  1. Bad weather/rain mostly. But also:
  2. Boring skies
  3. “Samey” skies
  4. Salt on the lens/bugs on the lens
  5. Human error!

What kinda skies did I end up with?

For the first round of 5, the break down is:

  1. Afternoon to Night (mid speed, 3pm-10pm ish)
  2. Afternoon Slow (as slow as possible, 1200 frames!)
  3. Full Day (morning to sunset)
  4. Half Day (midday to sunset)
  5. Sunset to Dusk (one of the original ones, slightly clamped, but still pretty nice)

You can see videos for all of them now on the time-lapse HDRI sky page.

So I’m happy with these as the first round, having a mix of fast and slow skies, plus one that includes the day to night transition (that was a tricky one!).

I’d say my favorites are the Afternoon to Night and Afternoon Slow ones, because of the lighting changes in the first, and the nice slow movement and lack of flickering in both. The full day one is great and I’m really happy with it, but some people will be turned off by the flickering (though interestingly a few people have said they think it looks cool or realistic). I think it will depend a lot on your tastes, plus also the scene itself, the materials, composition, etc. For example, a scene with nothing but sky in it will feature zero flickering(!). Read more about flickering here.

When can you get them?

I’m offering them to my newsletter subscribers only on the 20th, but they will soon become available to all on the 26th of May. You can get them individually or as a bundle of all 5. They’ll sell for between $229 and $289, with the bundle essentially being 4 for the price of 5.


As I mentioned last post, a second time-lapse sample set is now up, so if you’d like to check out the Afternoon2Night01 samples, you can subscribe to the newsletter below, which will also get you into the subscriber only sale on the 20th as well. They’ll be discounted for subscribers that week for 10% off, which is actually the first “sale” I’ve ever done in 12 years. I don’t believe in sales, but I wanted to give my subscribers a thank-you for following along. They won’t be on sale again ever!

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