Setup an HDRI image with Arnold Skydome light

Have you ever created a scene and experienced the below image? Darkness…

This occurs when you do not have a light source and can be very frustrating for first time 3DS Max users.

When creating lighting for your scene, one of the easiest ways to setup a light source with a background is probably an HDRI environment. With the Arnold renderer you are able to attach an HDRI map to the Skydome light.

to create the Skydome light, you create an Arnold light and then go to your modify panel and change it from the default Quad to Skydome.

Once this has been created you will attach the HDRI image by navigating down to the colour / intensity panel and select texture and map the HDRI environment in the Maps – General – Bitmap portion of the material/map browser.

Once this has been done the image should look like the below. Much better than the first render we did and we have not even applied any realistic images!

Modifying the HDRI image is similar to modifying objects in 3DS Max because it is attached to a light which is in fact seen as an object.

If I select the light and use the rotate modifier, I am able to create a render that is different to theinitial one as the light source has been rotated to a different position.

In the previous images we have just used the HDRI as a light source as we had no need for an image background, but if you want to showcase the HDRI image as a background all you will need to do is select the Light Shape Visible tick box.

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