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Quick Tip: Basic HDRI Creation Inside Cinema 4D

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In this quick tip you'll learn how to create a basic high dynamic range image in Cinema 4D. Jamie Faulkner will walk you through the process of creating simple geometry and how to strategically place these objects to create your own truly unique HDRI's. These of course can later be used in any 3d application for both custom lighting and reflections.


Today you will be learning how to create your own studio HDRI's inside of cinema 4d using a few basic functions, HDRI's are used in 3d programs to create realistic reflections and bring amazing lighting to your scenes.

Step 1

First we need to insert a sphere into the scene, leave it exactly where and give it a radius of 50.


Step 2

Now we need to create a basic material for our sphere, so create a new material and turn off the "Color" and the "Specular" options. Enable the "Reflection" tab and leave the settings as default.

Tutorial basic HDRI creation inside of cinema 4d

Step 3

Now we shall get on to creating our lights. Our lights will be simple so we'll be creating a material just for luminance. We'll disable the "Color" and "Specular" options like before, but Enable "Luminance" and set the Luminance "Brightness" to 220% to give us a bright light for the HDRI file (which will give us a dark but cool looking scene.) If you want it brighter, just go back and change the Luminance Brightness to something a bit higher.

Tutorial basic HDRI creation inside of cinema 4d

Step 4

We need to create some simple shapes to apply our luminance material to, so we'll just create eight Planes. Create a single Plane with a Width of 25 and a Height of 400, and set the Orientation to +Z like so.

Tutorial basic HDRI creation inside of cinema 4d

Step 5

Now that you have the plane object, copy and paste it one at a time moving it on the "X" axis, 35cm at a time. Repeat this process until you have eight planes lined up. Then select the planes, Right Click and select "Group Objects", name this group 'Strips'. Now Apply the luminance material to the 'strips' and apply the reflection material to the sphere. Move the 'strips' back on the Z axis 800cm, so you end up with something like this.

Tutorial basic HDRI creation inside of cinema 4d

Step 6

Now create some more basic shapes (like a Disc object.) Make the Outer Radius 25 and put it into a "Cloner" object, set the mode to "Radial" and change the plane from XY to XZ. Change the "Count" to 10 and the "Radius" to 150. Move the Cloner object above the sphere quite high. Then apply the the luminance material to the Cloner object. And you should have something like this.

Tutorial basic HDRI creation inside of cinema 4d

Step 7

Now create more objects which you can apply the luminance material to, such as a Sphere or more Planes (or just copy and past the Planes you already created) and position them around the Sphere. You should end up with something like this. It doesn't have to be exact, as the objects will just be reflections and lights.

Tutorial basic HDRI creation inside of cinema 4d

Step 8

We now need to Right click on the original Sphere (with the reflection material), and go to Cinema 4d Tags>Bake Texture. Click on the "Bake Texture" tag of the Sphere and Copy the settings shown in the image below to your bake tag. But change the "Filename" to whatever you like, mine is saved to the desktop as 'HDRI'.

Tutorial basic HDRI creation inside of cinema 4d

Step 9

Now go to the "Options" tab and check the "Reflection" box only. The sphere will be the source of HDRI, so the reflections that it sees in our set up will be what we see in the HDRI file. Now that all the settings are done you can click "Bake". Wait for the image to render and you should end up with something like I have in the image below. This is now a HDRI file and will be saved to the location you chose.

Tutorial basic HDRI creation inside of cinema 4d

Step 10

Now that you have your HDRI file, you can use it in your own scenes just by making a new scene. Add a Floor and Sky and turn ON "Global Illumination" (in the Render Settings,) and you should have a nice reflective studio HDRI scene. Thank you for reading and I hope this tutorial will help you.

Tutorial basic HDRI creation inside of cinema 4d

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