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VRay Interior HDRI Lighting

Use HDRI Like a PRO!

VRay Interior HDRI Lighting to add a unique ambiance to your interior scenes.

Here are the most IMPORTANT CONTROLLERS to an easy way for setting up and test HDRI Maps:

To light our interior scene, we’re just going to use a VRayDome light with multiplier of 1. In this case we won’t actually need to add a VRaySun alongside our HDRI. For this tutorial I’ve Peter Guthrie’s excellent sky HDRI maps.

Since we won’t be able to see the outside sky in our scene, we’ll toggle the invisibility for our VRay light. The light from our HDRI now gives us soft bounced lighting and shadows for a pleasing ambiance. To increase the strength of the sun, change the inverse gamma to 0.7. Use a ‘very low’ Irradiance Map preset with a Light Cache of 800 for testing. Set it to exponential color mapping and a noise threshold of 0.008. You can experiment with the Overall and Render multiplier for HDRI Map to get the right light intensity.

Just know that the Overall and Render mult. get multiplied by each other to get the final intensity which will be used while rendering.

Sometimes you don’t get enough light to enter our interior space. There is a trick you can use to further illuminate the scene while also boosting the ambiance. Place a new rectangular VrayLight outside the main windows. Give it a strong multiplier of about 300. Set its color to the dominant color of the HDRI light.

And for post processing, I’ve brought them into Photoshop. I’ve applied some Auto Curves, Levels and Contrast adjustments as basic color correction. Play around with Color Balance and Hue/Saturation to make the image more appealing and correct the white balance.

This is just the basics, we dive into much deeper lighting rigs for interior spaces in our VRay Portfolio Workshop

HDRI Maps can come from different artists or sources, some make them stronger, some less. So don’t be surprised to discover that the same setting will not work for every HDRI. It always needs to have some tweaking and in most cases, additional lights!

Inverse gamma – is one of the most important parameter of the VRayHDRI shader, which should be used to increase the strength of shadows present in the scene. Since it’s an inverse parameter, lowering the value below 1.0 actually increases the gamma/contrast of the image. The sun becomes brighter and the shadows become darker and stronger.

Rendering regions to test the right spots of lighting interpolation is the key to move faster to rendering final image without errors.

And last, make sure to position your HDRI map towards one of the main openings/windows, otherwise you will get flat image with no shadows. This is especially important from a photographic point of view, since shadows cast at an angle give the image proper depth.

Oh and don’t forget to turn the spherical option on – like I almost forgot :-/ but spotted right away.

If you want to master your interior – make sure to practice – If you need assistance – We’re here to HELP!

Hope you’ve liked this tutorial, share it!

Talk soon,
Alex

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