HDR Sets – Review, of sorts

06. Crop

Audi S5

So, the other day I was browsing Max Underground as usual when this post caught my eye. Seeing as I often waste spend my time creating renders of cars I like, I am always on the look out for great HDRs I can use. As you will see below HDR Sets products are second to none.

First off, this is what you get with one of their sets:

  • Highres 360° HDR for reflection ( I also used this for lighting ).
  • 360° HDR for Lighting
  • A series of Highres HDR backplates.
  • FBX file (other formats as well)  with matched cameras and a sphere with the correct orientation of the HDR.
  • sIBL compatibility.

As you can see above these guys are definitely 3d guys or they at least understand what artists need. After reading about all of this I was pretty excited to see they have a couple of free HDR Sets you can download and test. So naturally thats exactly what I did.

S5 Max Scene

Creating my test image

OK, so my test image took me about 5 mins to setup, 20mins to render (@3k) and another 10-15mins in post, less than an hour all up. This is mostly because these HDR Sets make it that easy. Now I should say I did not use sIBL to set up my scene as I have never used it before (something I should probably check out), I just went old school and simple, chuck a dome light in there…

Below are the steps I took:

  1. Create a new max file and import HDR Sets cameras.
  2. Create a ground plane.
  3. Create a V-Ray Dome light and load the HDR as V-Ray HDRI.
  4. Chuck a material on the ground plane and camera map the backplate on to it.
  5. Merge in a car, position it.
  6. Test render.
  7. The test render looked great but I was not getting hard shadows off the HDR (was not expecting too), so I took it into Fusion and upped the gain on the sun to about 25000.
  8. Test render, hard shadows, looks sick.
  9. Render High-Res.
  10. Post processing, comp the rendered car over the HDR backplate add some colour correction. You can see a breakdown of the post process below.

That workflow is blazingly fast and exactly what you would like when purchasing any kind of assets for your work. As a commercial artist this workflow is very bankable.

 Final Thoughts

In short these HDRs are the best I have used. The thing I love most about them is the HDR backplates, it makes it much easier to comp your renders and get a consistent treatment across both your render and background when grading them.  The fact the backplates are already camera matched is just a bonus. There other products out there that are similar, Moofe has an awesome and more extensive selection of HDRs, they also include backplates which are pretty easy to camera match due the 1m² cube that is in the image. To be honest though the single biggest upside for me was the fact that HDR Sets cost  40€ – 80€ and they are not rights managed which makes life easier.

HDR Sets will definitely be my first port of call when looking for HDRs moving forward. I highly recommend them.

Custom Audi S5

Custom Audi S5

 

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