Real vs. Fake HDRI

HDRI Stands for “High Dynamic Range Image”. Which basically means that images can have darker and brighter spots than images with a normal Dynamic Range.
Which makes them more detailed and Life like than normal Images.
Especially for Environment Textures, this can make a big difference.

Rendering of a DinosaurRendering of a Dinosaur

Usually those files end with .hdr or .exr.

Where to Download Environment Textures

The Website I use the most to Download Environment Textures is Poly haven.
The website has a big range of free and high quality Environment Textures.
My favorite Environment Texture is Small Hangar 01. I think it can be really helpful for shading.
Also, feel free to check out the Article Best Resources for 3D Artists, in which you can find alternative sites.

Setting up Environment Textures in Blender

Setting up an Environment Texture is pretty easy.

Not matter if you are using Cycles or Eevee just switch to the World Properties Tab and click on the Dot on the left side of Color. Then, just select Environment Texture (or press “E” on the Keyboard) and Click on Open to Open your Image file.

Modify an Environment Texture

If you switch to the Shade Editor and over there switch from Object to World you can modify the Image as well as the orientation of the image inside Blender like with a Normal texture.

Common Modification for Enviroment Textures

Screenshot of Blender with Node Setup to modify the Hue, Saturation and Value of the Environment Texture.
Change HSV

With a Hue Saturation Value Node between the Image ad the Background Node, you can change those values.

Screenshot of Blender with Node Setup to modify the Brightness and Contrast of the Environment Texture.
Change Brightness and Contrast

With the Bright/Contrast Node between The Image and Background Node you can change the brightness and contrast.

Supplementing Environment Textures

The Launch spot for Onlyfy one was the last project, in which I used an HDRI as my base for the lightning and supplemented it in this case with a simple Plane with a blue diffuse Material.

This makes the bottom of the laptop reflect the blue color, which helps, to make the object seem more integrated in the Background.

Screenshot of Blender in which a Camera Points at a Laptop beneath the Laptop is a blue colored Plane

There are all kind f things you can do, like adding an extra light to emphasize something. Or create a shadow to make something less visible.

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