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Dome Light and HDRI

4.2_Dome Light-HDRI

0:05 Our lighting in the last lesson looked pretty good with just the default SketchUp sun settings but let’s say we want more a more specific look and feel...

0:14 like something you see in the real world where context, clouds, sun position, etc all combine to create a unique lighting environment.

0:24 To do that we’ll need an HDRI and 'Dome Light'.

0:28 A quick definition here that HDRI stands for ‘High Dynamic Range Image’ which differs from a standard jpeg or bitmap by storing both color and sun or light brightness information

0:43 Thus resulting in more realistic lighting and shadows.

0:47 An HDRI is also spherical so it not only provides light information but its matching environmental image that shows up as both a background in the model and in our reflections

1:01 All of this ultimately enhancing the realism of the render.

1:06 Let’s go ahead and add an HDRI to our model now.

1:10 Let’s go ahead and add an HDRI to our model now.

1:10 Start by finding the ‘Dome Light’ icon in the lighting toolbar and just place it anywhere within view of the camera.

1:20 Then under the ‘Lights’ tab in the 'Asset Editor', we can see both our default sun light and our new 'Dome light'.

1:29 Since we want to see the effect of the more realistic HDRI lighting, let’s go ahead and disable the default sun.

1:37 Note that most HDRIs typically render a bit dark and require that you bump their intensity up.

1:44 I’ll leave this one as is for now but keep that in mind and we’ll revisit this topic shortly.

1:51 I’ll go ahead start another render…and now I can see the new sky background as well as different lighting and shadows.

2:04 Next, I’ll select ‘Use Transform’ – which means that if I rotate the dome light component in the model, the embedded 360 spherical HDRI image will rotate in sync with it.

2:17 This is important as both our light and background image will change simultaneously depending on our rotation angle.

2:28 Our view is starting to look a little bit better now…especially with the sun directly behind like this.

2:35 But let’s see if we can find something that looks even better.

2:40 So let’s find a new HDRI to try.

2:44 There’s plenty of good paid, donationware, and free resources online where you can find the exact environment background and light quality you want.

2:54 I’ve gone ahead and done the legwork for this step and provided you with a couple HDRIs in your exercise files.

3:04 With our dome light selected, click on ‘Color/Texture HDR’ icon…and browse to the HDRI folder…

3:19 and choose the ‘Sunrise_4K’ file.

3:29 Then re-render…

3:35 And it’s looking really dark…like I mentioned earlier.

3:39 So let's try bumping the intensity up so something like 75.

3:44 It might have to be higher or lower depending on your preference but this looks pretty good for right now.

3:52 And since we enabled ‘Use Transform’, let’s rotate the 'Dome Light' so that the arrow points straight at the cabin.

4:03 Here we should have the sun behind and slightly to the right of where we are getting a really nice quality of light and shadows coming in and hitting the interior wall and ceiling...

4:17 along with this really cool diagonal across the paving area.