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HDR Light Studio - Documentation

The HDR Light Studio connection creates area lights that are compatible with Cycles, Eevee, RenderMan and Octane. On this page you will find out how area lights behave across different renderers and what are their limitations.

HDR Light Studio Area Light Type Setting (Cycles & Eevee only)

We provide 2 types of area light 'construction' that you can choose from when rendering in Cycles and Eevee. At any time you can switch the type of area lights being created by HDR Light Studio and they will be rebuilt on the fly - so feel free to experiment and switch them during your lighting session and see how they look.

You can also switch between Cycles and Eevee at any time as the lighting is compatible with both, but you will see there are some limitations described below.

Renderer: Cycles
HDR Light Studio - Area Light Type: Mesh Emitter

blender_ui_mesh_cycles

Below you can see what to expect when using our Mesh Emitter lights with Cycles. There is an RGBA HDR texture used on a mesh plane that has a shader network emitting from one side. The light is solid and can be seen by the camera. It is opaque apart from the areas where alpha is used - there it is totally invisible with full alpha.

The light can be seen in reflections and emits light from the front.
The back side of the light will be seen as a black rectangle.

blender_cycles_mesh_lights

Below is the node network HDR Light Studio creates for each HDR Light Studio 'Mesh Emitter'. It's pretty complex in order to create the physically plausible lighting result you see above.

blender_shader_network_meshlight

memo_small Please Note: When making Mesh Emitter lights, Blender will go into edit mode for the light we create. If you come to work on the scene after lighting in HDR Light Studio, you will need to switch back to Object mode.

Renderer: Cycles
HDR Light Studio - Area Light Type: Blender Area Light

Figure 4: Area light with type 'Blender Area Light' and rendered in Cycles

Figure 4: Area light with type 'Blender Area Light' and rendered in Cycles

Below you can see what to expect when using our Blender Area Lights with Cycles. There is an RGB HDR texture used on a Blender area light. The light can not be seen by the camera. The area light emits light and the HDR texture can be seen in reflections. The light is translucent and not solid. The back of the light is invisible.

blender_cycles_area_lights

Below is the node network HDR Light Studio creates for each HDR Light Studio 'Blender Area Light'. It's quite simple.

blender_shader_network_arealight

Renderer: Eevee
HDR Light Studio - Area Light Type: Mesh Emitter

blender_ui_mesh_eevee

The light is set up the same as the Mesh Emitter shown with Cycles above, we don't change the shader network when changing between Cycles and Eevee.

Below you can see what to expect when using our Mesh Emitters with Eevee. There is an RGBA HDR texture used on a mesh plane that has a shader network emitting from one side. The light is solid and can be seen by the camera. It is opaque apart from the areas where alpha is used - where it is totally invisible.

The light can be seen in reflections by enabling 'Screen Space Reflections' on the Eevee render settings.
The back side of the light will be seen as a black rectangle.

Importantly, the light does not emit light in Eevee, like a Blender Area Light does. The only way to get lighting from this type of light setup in Eevee is to bake Indirect Lighting. But this is time consuming to calculate and really this is meant for indirect light bouncing effects for added realism, not as a way to get your primary direct lighting.

blender_eevee_mesh_lights

memo_small Please Note: When making Mesh Emitter lights, Blender will go into edit mode for the light we create. If you come to work on the scene after lighting in HDR Light Studio, you will need to switch back to Object mode.

memo_small Screen based reflections in Eevee: If an area light front face is not visible in the view, it will not show in reflections when using Eevee. This is how Eevee screen based reflections work at the moment.

Renderer: Eevee
HDR Light Studio - Area Light Type: Blender Area Light

Figure 5: Blender Area Light rendered in Cycles

Figure 5: Blender Area Light rendered in Cycles

Below you can see what to expect when using our Blender Area Lights with Eevee.

HDR Light Studio controls this light by sharing Color and Power values to use on the lights settings, so the shaders and texture is actually ignored by Eevee at the moment.

blender_eevee_area_controls

HDR Light Studio calculates the average color and brightness from our area light HDR texture which provides a reasonable match for lighting purposes. But you are limited to seeing the shape of the Blender Area Light in the reflections and not the texture. This light type does emit light and shadows in Eevee.

blender_eevee_area_lights

electric-light-bulb_small When using these area lights, when the light is far away, we have seen artifacts with the shadows. If you increase the Clip Start setting on the area light in Blender this seems to fix problems with the shadows.

Renderer: RenderMan

RenderMan

Below you can see what to expect when using RenderMan Area Lights (PxrRectLight) with HDR Light Studio.
•   There is an RGB HDR texture used on a PxrRectLight.
•   The light can be seen by the camera. However, Cam Visibility setting in HDR Light Studio can be checked to hide it from the camera.
•   The area light emits light from the front and the HDR texture can be seen in reflections.
•   The light is translucent and not solid.
•   The back of the light is invisible.

RenderMan_AreaLight

Below is the node network HDR Light Studio creates for each RenderMan Area Light (PxrRectLight). It's quite simple.

RenderMan_shader

Renderer: Octane

Octane_renderer

Below you can see what to expect when using Octane Area Lights with HDR Light Studio. There is an RGBA HDR texture used on an Octane Area Light that has a shader network emitting from one side. The light is solid and can be seen by the camera. It is opaque and where alpha is used the area reflects the color of the scene. 

The light can be seen in reflections and emits light from the front.
The back side of the light will be opaque.

Octane_AreaLight copy

Below is the node network HDR Light Studio creates for each Octane Area Light.

Octane_shader

 

 

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