Options Menu

Box Icons Scale: This value adjusts the size of the preview in the panel

Popup icons scale: This value adjusts the size of the preview in the popup search

Detail: For convenience, this option has been added, you can choose the resolution of the shadows, from the lowest to the best. It will have a fairly immediate impact on the shadows. This will only take effect using Eevee render, as Cycles don’t need this.

Popup Label: This if active, will show the name of the preview in the popup window

PDF Manual: Clicking this button will lead you to this manual

Check for update: Search automatically if there is a new version available. (It will not be installed automatically)

Save: Batch from Folder

Here is the last Save option which allows you to make multiple “Batch” saves.
If you have many HDR or EXR files, put them all in a folder, make sure that there are no other files of a
different type in the folder where you will put them, then you will have a similar folder
(In this example of EXR only) format similar to HDR
In this example I will use EXR files downloaded from hdrmaps.com, they are exr type background files,
they are free under license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ and are available at this
link: https://hdrmaps.com/freebies

Example of Batch save

Computer Folder:

CHOOSE THE SOURCE FOLDER: Pressing the small folder on the right, you will have to choose the folder of origin of the HDR or EXR backgrounds, all the files of this type contained in the folder of origin will be saved in the category selected in HDRi Maker (In the “User” section).

BATCH SAVE: When you have selected the source folder, you can press this button to perform the multiple save (Batch save) of the backgrounds from your computer in the folder you have chosen

ATTENTION for this operation, I suggest to create a new category “Provisional” and to sort the saved backgrounds later. The choice is yours, remember that if the checkbox “Overwrite if the name exists” is active, if a background contained in the chosen category has the same name, it will be overwritten and you will lose the previously present background. Evaluate which settings are right for you.

During this operation, you can view the progress of saving the backgrounds:
You can cancel the operation simply by holding down the “ESC” key, the backgrounds saved up to that point will remain saved

Once finished, press the “Delete batch scene” button

Save: Panorama 360°

Introduction:


This option allows you to save a 360 degree photo (Render), so if you have a particularly interesting 3D scene, you can save it as a background, and use it as any HDR in your library.
This step needs some attention, as it would be better to understand what it does and how it works exactly. The rendering will be carried out exclusively with the Cycles engine, as it is the only one at the moment
that can carry out this operation, and in any case it is clearly superior in terms of quality compared to Eevee render.

You can choose whether or not to use the denoise and which type of denoise, 3 options are available:

No Denoise will be applied to the render
Classic Cycle denoise
Compositor denoise node will automatically be applied to the render

CUSTOM SIZE: When active you can manually enter the size (integer), i.e. if you enter 4, the image will be saved in 4k (4096×2048), with the advantage that by any number you enter, the ratio will be set automatically keeping the proportion. This means that you can also enter other numbers not available in the existing 1/2/4/8 /16k list

1/2/4/8 /16K list: If “Custom size” is disabled, you can quickly choose between the preset formats.

GPU/CPU MENU: You can choose whether to render the background with the CPU or the GPU, if by any chance the GPU run “Out of memory” the add-on will automatically switch to CPU mode. Be careful not to overdo it with huge formats, as the memory used will increase exponentially!

SAMPLES: The more the number of samples, the more you will have a better image, but the rendering time will be higher, so pay attention, you can test the potential of your computer yourself. We recommend using the “denoise compositor” from the menu to reduce the noise, and to save rendering time.

ADD 360 CAM ON CURSOR: Place a sphere on the cursor, which in turn will be the position of the 360 camera, which in turn will take a photo (Rendering) you can see the 360 sphere in that photo:

Once you added a “Camera 360” the menu will have new functions:

PANORAMA SAVE: This button will start the rendering, nothing you will have to do, everything is already set up to create an HDR background, you just have to wait for the operation to finish.

360 CAM ON CURSOR: You will be able to move the sphere 360 on the cursor, (Available only if you have already added the sphere in the previous step)

FIND CAMERA: If for some reason you no longer find the “Camera” (Sphere 360), this button will move the view to the sphere

Make sure that the sphere does not touch any object, otherwise the portion of the object will probably be made invisible (Clipping), so keep a correct distance, as if you had a real 360 camera (A little bigger for safety reasons)

Now you can close the Rendering window

Now in the HDRi Maker panel, you will see a message and a button that was not there before. This was created for security reasons, since the preview is rendered in a separate scene. In this case the scene has remained in memory, so do not worry about anything and press “Delete batch scene” to return everything to normality.

Your 360 degree background from your 3D model is now saved in your library. You can use it as you wish.

Note:
The format of the saved background is HDR, if you want to export this background, you will need to add the background to the scene, and simply go under
the “Save menu” and press the “Export image” button, then choose the destination folder and the name, and press “Export”

Save: Current Background

Introduction:


With this option you can save any type of background, even a procedural type background
This type of saving simply requires entering a name. In the background, in the “HDR Name” box, then press “Save background” the operation will take a few seconds, depending on the complexity of the background, and the size of any background image .


Remember to add a category (If you haven’t already done so), otherwise the background cannot be saved anywhere.

Once a background is saved, a new Preview will also be created, this is editable at any time.
A “Redraw preview” menu has been created, available only by selecting the “User” section:

The saved background will be shown in the preview, so you can change the light, color, rotation, tilt angle of the preview. It takes a few seconds (Depending on the power of your computer)

LIGHT REDRAW: Light intensity of the preview

SATURATION REDRAW: Preview saturation (0 = black and white)

CAMERA TILT: Inclination of the horizon

CAMERA UP/DOWN: Raise or lower the camera angle

CAMERA TURN: Left and right rotation of the camera

REDRAW PREVIEW: After your choices, pressing this button, the preview will be redrawn in a few seconds.

Cat Management Menu:

MOVE CURRENT BACKGROUND TO ANOTHER CAT: This section allows you to move the background currently displayed in the preview to another category, so you will have 2 lists: On the left the category of origin and on the right the category of destination. When you are sure, press the “Move” button and it will be immediately moved to the destination category (the one on the right)

RENAME BACKGROUND/CATEGORY: Allows you to rename previously saved Category and / or Backgrounds to another name

SAFETY DELETE: From this small protected menu, you can delete categories and backgrounds from your User section. When you press one of these buttons, an additional popup menu will ask you for confirmation, this to avoid an accidental error by deleting something importan

You will be able to confirm the removal of what you have chosen to Popup Delete menu:

Save Menu

Note: the menu varies according to the chosen library and “Save type”

Default:

User:

Here is everything you need to know to
Save and Create your 360 backgrounds

EXPORT IMAGE: If the background currently in use was created with HDRi Maker, and has a background image, this image can be exported. Useful for example if you have lost the image files you used to create a “User” type background

SAVE TYPE: You can choose the type of save you want to make, there are 3 types available:

CURRENT BACKGROUND: Allows you to save the wallpaper currently in use. Useful if you have imported a background on the fly with the “Import” button. See the manual in the section where the interface is explained

PANORAMA 360: You can create a 360 background of your 3D model, for example, the interior of a house, or anything else, this allows you to save an HDR completely derived from a 360 photo (Render) of your model.

BATCH FROM FOLDER: This option is very useful for saving many backgrounds all at once. Then Each background contained in the folder indicated (More on that later will explain better) will be saved in a category at will. (The folder is good practice that only contains files of type HDR or EXR so as not to create confusion when saving

SAVE BACKGROUND: This button will change its name based on the option chosen, but the function will always be the same, ie “Save”. So later we will see how.

OVERWRITE IF THE NAME EXIST: If a background is already present in your library, and this box is active, it will be overwrit ten if the names match. If disabled, the names will take on an extension like: MY_Background_001 MY_Background_002. I suggest you leave it inactive, only on necessity if you need to overwrite a background, then activate it.

SAVE TO CAT: If no category has been created yet, an “Empty” message will be displayed. You will need to create a new category, and it will be displayed here. (In this case go ahead and I’ll explain how to do it)

HDR NAME: In this box you will need to add the name of the Background you want to save.

ADD CAT AND RELATIVE BOX: Here you can add new categories, just enter the name and press the add button, the category will automatically be available in the list. You can add them whenever you want, at least one category is required to save the background.


Water Effect

If you choose “Water Effect” from the “Shadow catcher type”
the new controls will appear

WATER TYPE: You can choose to use either
STATIC water (like a lake / pool / sea) or
FLOW (Like a river) The water is already animated, just start the animation on Blender (Play Button)

WATER SCALE: Wave scale size

WAVE SPEED: Water speed (This can change according to “Wave scale” and “Wave detail”)

WAVE DETAIL: Adds detail to the wave simulation

WAVE STRENGTH: Increases or decreases the height (Simulated) of the waves.

If you choose the “FLOW” simulation you can also choose the direction of the water flow.

All controls: adjust range, fade shadow, reflection etc. can be set to improve water quality.

S.C. Layout

SWITCH CYCLES /EEVEE: This is a toggle button, it allows you to quickly switch between Cycles and Eevee. It seemed very convenient during various tests in the programming phase, so we decided to add it.

ADD SHADOW CATCHER: To add the shadow catcher, make sure you have added a “Plane” in Blender, and that it is selected

SHADOW CATCHER TYPES: This menu allows you to choose the type of Shadow catcher

SYMPLE + REFLECTION: It allows you to create shadow + reflection

REFLECTION + NORMAL: It allows you to create shadow + reflection + Normal map, useful for simulating surface bumps

WATER EFFECT: This allows you to simulate animated water, if the background is, for example, a sea, you could simulate waves, and reflections and shadows (Fully automatic)

Once added the “Shadow Catcher” the Menu will
open with new controllers

REMOVE SHADOW CATCHER: This will remove the material and any other object of the Shadow Catcher simulation, therefore, also the light probe which is used automatically for the simulation of the reflections in Eevee.

SHADOW COLOR: Change the color of the shadow (Black is the best, we kept the choice to test what users think)

ADJUST RANGE: Very important! This value (especially for the simulation in Eevee render) is a value that allows you to adjust the shadow, since it does not exist natively in Blender, a system has been added as easy as possible, so if you don’t see any shadow, or the plane it is black, make sure you have Synchronized the sun (In the previous pages it was explained how) and that you are in render mode. By adjusting this value, you will find the right compromise to obtain a shadow of an object.

REFLECTION slider: This allows you to adjust the reflection value, 0 = no reflection

ROUGHNESS: This value only works if you have set the reflection to more than 0, so it allows you to adjust the surface roughness

REFLECTION PROBE SIZE: This is the control of the size of the reflection simulation plane, it is useful in Eevee render, to set the size of the Probe box (Not available in Cycles as it is not necessary

You can see probe box in this image

ADD DISPLACE: If you press this button you can simulate something like a soil, sand or the like.
The plane will automatically divide into 4096 polygons, that can be later decreased or increase

REFLECTION FADE: This value allows you to soften the gap between the shadow catcher, and the background, it is useful for blending the water and the reflections on the edge of the plane to which you have applied the shadow catcher

Square, Circle: It allows you to choose what type of gradient to create on
your “Shadow catcher” surface whether circular or square.

Here are some examples on a plane:

Square with min Reflection fade
Square with max Reflection fade
Circle with min Reflection fade
Circle with max Reflection fade

Example of Shadow catcher with displacement:

Shadow Catcher Displace

Once the “Add displace” button is pressed, new controls will be shown

REMOVE DISPLACE: Completely removes all displacement effects from the selected plane. The subdivision will also be reset to “0”

SUBDIVIDE/UNSUBDIVIDE: Useful if you want to increase or decrease the number of polygons on the plane. Remember that too high a subdivision number causes Blender to slow down exponentiallly

SHOW WIRE: For convenience, you can quickly show the polygons (ie the edges) of the plane

DISPLACE: You can choose the type of map for the displacement, they are already available in the options, you don’t have to upload any image, everything is ready for use.

STRENGTH: This value increases or decreases the displacement

SMOOTH: If the movement is too “edgy” use this slider, to adjust and smooth

MIDLEVEL: You can adjust the global level of the displacement map.

SCALE: This value changes the scale, therefore the size of the movement, you can enlarge or reduce the mapping.

TRANSPARENT BACKGROUND: This box, if active, will make the background transparent (We have inserted this in the menu for convenience, as in Blender it is sometimes inconvenient to access this function)

HDRi Projected

HDRI PROJECTED: When active creates a DOME where the background is projected.The dome can be adjusted through several controls. Furthermore allows to apply the background to almost any object.

MOVE X , MOVE Y and HEIGHT: These controls allow to move the dome through the three axes. Height is useful if you want to make a small correction of the height of the background. NOTE: Do not exceed with this value, as it will deform the background

DOME SIZE: Allows to resize the dome dimension

TOP LIGHT: Regulates the light intensity and fixes issues as reported in the next page.

SMOOTH WRAP: Object wrapping sometimes present unwanted edges. Increasing this feature‘s value the wrapping results softened

WRAP and UNWRAP: WRAP connects a selected object to the bottom of the HDRi Projection Dome (Ground)

ADD GROUND/REMOVE : ADD GROUND has been created to apply the active background to any object in the scene. As explained in the next page, you can apply the background even to an additional landscape (A.N.T. Landscape add on) and resize it, move it perfectly merged within the whole context . REMOVE: Removes the applied background.

HDR and Dome Light

TOP LIGHT: Regulating this light in combination with HDRi Light, helps fixing lighting issue that can surge using HDRi Projected since the dome receives light form different sources

HDRi LIGHT: Adjust the background light, then it will affect the scene by illuminating + or – the objects in it. (It is suggested not to exceed the value 2 for a good yield)

Refers to a standard display of the HDRi projection. As seen there’s a lighting issue that can be easily fixed as shown in image 2 and 3.

Image 1

Regulating Top Light + HDRi Light the image can be brighten solving the lighting issue

Image 2

As well as Image 2, regulating Top Light + HDRi Light the image can be darken solving the lighting issue

Image 3

Wrap Features

Wrap Buttons:

STEP 1: Create a Mesh (Plane) as in FIG.1

STEP 2: Keep the Object active and select the WRAP Feature. Automatically the Object will connect to the DOME Ground. (FIG.2)

STEP 3: Move the object and the terrain wrapped to it will follow in any direction you move. It is especially intended to move on the Z-Axis allowing to create any kind of ground depression. (FIG.3) The object is visible and clicking on the Hide button it will

STEP 4: In (FIG.3) the object is visible and by clicking on the Hide button it will disappear as shown in FIG.

NOTE: The UNWRAP Feature releases the object from being attached to the DOME ground

FIG.5: In this figure are indicated the Plane Mesh to which is wrapped the terrain and above it there is a Second Plane Mesh that we created in HDRi. Using the EXTREME PBR Add-on, to the Second plane mesh, we applied a WATER material.

FIG.6: Being, the Second Plane Mesh, underneath the ground level, it generates a water filling effect in the ground depression created by the Plane Mesh originally wrapped. Selecting the Second Plane Mesh in the Outliner, by clicking HIDE within the HDRI Background projection menu, the water effect can be hidden or seen in the scene.

FIG.7 & FIG.8: If for example you add to your scene an object such a landscape created with the A.N.T. Landscape Add-on (FIG.7), by clicking the Ground button, having the object selected, the background is automatically applied as seen in FIG.8. Using the Remove button will remove it from the selected object.

Fog Menu

SHOW FOG: Check it to make the Fog appear as shown in FIG.2.

DENSITY: The lower the value the thinner the Fog (Value can go from Min ”0” to Max “2”)

LEVEL: Increases the height of the Fog. From just above the ground towards the sky when the Flip Top condition is unchecked

EMISSIVE: While using Eevee the emissive feature brightens the fog but doesn’t emit light. On the other hand in Cycles, when the Emissive value is increased, the Fog acts as a light source.

PATCHES: Creates empty spaces in Fog flow. The higher the value, the scattered the Fog.

P. SCALE: Increasing this value, causes the Patches to be bigger, scattering the Fog even more.

WIND FORCE: The higher the value, the faster the Fog displacement

DIRECTION: Like on a compass the direction can be rotated over 360°. Negative values invert the flowing of the Fog

The FOG Menu is an important feature that allows you to control its condition within a particular weather situation. Once you check its box, the FOG Menu unfolds. It is composed by several controls that has been set to give an optimized surrounding. It is up to you changing them to meet the conditions that suits what you are looking for.

FIG. 1
FIG. 2

MATERIAL PREVIEW MODE: Using this view mode it’s easier to check the Fog condition. In the upper image the Flip Top is active and the Fog direction is from Top to Bottom. In the lower image Flip Top is unchecked and the Patches have been increased causing the Fog to scatter. P.Scale also if increased, causes the Fog to produce bigger empty spaces (Patches).

FLIP TOP: Inverts the Fog original position. Instead of going from Bottom to Top, switches it from Top to Bottom. As seen in Fig.A

FOG DETAILS: Expands a menu allowing to choose among several options going from Very Low to Best. The Original position is named Default. Fog Details relate with the Render Properties in Blender (Volumetrics in Eevee) & (Volume in Cycles). For instance in Eevee the Very Low position acts on a Tile Size of 16px and 8 Samples while in the Best position the Tile Size drops to 2px ane the number of Samples increases to 128. On the other hand in Cycles the Very Low acts on 2 Max Steps while in Best the Max Steps is 128. This features has to be used carefully since the performance is seriously affected both from the quality requested as well as the machine you are using. (Rendering Time)

Use A.N.T. Landscape

HDRi TO OBJ using A.N.T. Landscape add-on

(*A.N.T. Landscape does not need to be dowloaded since it’s already available in the Blender Add-ons)

In the preferences menu select:

Add-ons

and in the

search window

look for A.N.T.Landscape.
Once you found it,

activate the check box

and

Save Preferences.

Now you have the Add-on running.


With A.N.T.Landscape you can generate a landscape and adjust it to your needs. Position it wherever needed.

With the created object selected, click ADD GROUND and the selected terrain background’s material will be applied deforming it exactly accordingly to the object position.

Furthermore you can displace the object adjusting it as requiered and the applied material will follow exactly every change.

Background Controls (Standard)

PROJECTION AND FOG MENUS: when activated open their own sections

ADD-SYNCH SUN: This button allows you to synchronize a “Sun” light with HDRi Maker, it
means that if you are currently using a “Solve” type light in the scene, it will automatically
be synchronized and can be controlled from this Menu

TRANSPARENT BACKGROUND: This box, if active, will make the background transparent (We have inserted this in the menu for convenience, as in Blender it is sometimes difficult to access this function)

HDRI PROJECTED: SEE NEXT PAGE FOR ITS FEATURES

FORCE: Regulates the intensity of the sun
INCLINATION: Adjusts the inclination of the synchronized sun
SUN ROTATION: Adjusts the rotation of the synchronized sun They will only work with backgrounds from / created / or imported (Image type) in HDRi Maker. So if the background is procedural, these functions will not be editable

HDRi LIGHT: Adjust the background light, then it will affect the scene by illuminating + or – the objects in it. (It is suggested not to exceed the value 2 for a good yield)

EXPOSURE: Adjusts the quantity of light as determined by shutter speed and lens aperture

COLORIZE MIX: Allows to add colors effects to the background

SATURATION: Adjusts the saturation of the background image (0 = black and white)

X,Y,Z: These are the background rotation values. The Z value is that of horizon rotation

MOVE BOTTOM: Useful if you want to make a small correction
of the height of the background, NOTE: Do not exceed with this
value, as it will deform the background –
ATTENTION: BUTTON DISAPPERS WHEN USING HDRI PROJECTED

BLUR: Increases the background dissolvence
ATTENTION : BUTTON DISAPPEARS WHEN USING HDRI PROJECTED

HDRi Maker Panel

The “CATEGORY” selector allows to choose the category where the backgrounds are contained and organized. Simplifies the search for a background based on categorie

UP/DOWN ARROWS: They allow to change the Category simply by clicking on them

SEARCH LENS: By clicking on the name you can search by typing the name of the background you are looking for.

ADD: It will simply add the background chosen by the previews, this will replace what you are using (If you already have a background in use) otherwise it will add it

IMPORT: Useful if you want to import a background on the fly, you can choose any “Image” format compatible with blender. It is highly recommended to use “HDR” or “EXR” formats. The current wallpaper will be automatically replaced with the imported one (Porai will also save it)

MENU BARS: Each submenu bar will open a new menu, the menus change according to the selected section, therefore not all menus will be identical, depending on the type of Library used (Default or User)

Library: allows to choose between “Default” (the standard category of HDRi Maker) and “User” (the section dedicated to the backgrounds you crated and want to save). The “User” section, unless you have already saved backgrounds, will be empty but you can fill it as you wish

Indicates the indexed position of the selected category among all categories

LEFT/RIGHT ARROWS: It allows you to browse the preview backgrounds without having to open the image popup

STARS: The star is useful for finding the background used in the scene in the library. So If you have forgotten what the name you are using is called, simply by pressing the star, the preview will synchronize with the background in use.

REMOVE: Remove the background in use, so there will be no material applied to the background

1/2/4/8k: Before pressing the “Add” button you can choose the background resolution. To change the background resolution in use, choose the resolution and press the “Add” button. This is not available in the “User” section. User is a category dedicated to saving backgrounds, of any kind, even the “Procedural” type, because of it has no resolution, as it isn’t based on images. Although you can save any type of background.

Download Files

Step 1- Download Libraries “xxxxxxxx.zip” files

Download the 19 zip files that are needed for the libraries, put them all in a folder, which must then be used.

Important!

Make sure that your antivirus software does not rename the zip files or modify them. The files must keep the ‘.zip’ extension.

Step 2 – Download the Add-on “xxxxxxxx.zip” file

Download the add-on .zip file

(it will have a name similar to this: “hdri_maker_addon_2_8x_v2_x.zip”)

Important: Do not unzip the zip files!

Step 3 – Installation in 8 simple moves

Open Blender and uninstall the old version of HDRi Maker

ATTENTION: If this is your First Installation skip this step

Note:

Since the HDRiMaker 2 version, the libraries have been modified to work with simpleupdates(XPAND).

The upcoming Expansion Modules will be distributed in the future, so you’ll need todownload only the new libraries. (If you modified or added some libraries, you cansavethemwiththenewbackgroundsavingsystem)

Installation Moves

Move #1

Open a new empty Blender Project.

Move #2

Go to Edit (in Blender 2.8x) or to File (in Blender 2.79) and select “Preferences”

Move #3

From the Preferencesselect “Add-ons” and press “Install…”

Move #4

In the search window, look for the Add-on zip file named:

Back in Preferences search for HDRi Maker 2 and activate the Add-on checkbox

“hdri_maker_addon_2_82_v2_0.zip” Select it, and press “Install Add-on”

Move #5

Back in Preferences search for HDRi Maker 2 and activate the Add-on checkbox

Click on the Add-on expansion arrow, and a window will display as
follows:

Move #6

Click on the Add-on expansion arrow, and a window will display as follows:

Move #7

“First installation”

Step A: You will have to indicate the path of the libraries where we downloaded
the 19 .zip files

Step B: Here instead you will have to indicate a path where the libraries will be permanently installed, so think carefully about a path, which won’t be subject to modification/move. Never use the Blender add-on path or the exact same path as step “A”

Step C: This path should only be used if you previously saved backgrounds with
HDRi Maker 2.x, (Versions prior to 2.0 of HDRi Maker did not have the save meth-
od, so if it doesn’t need this, leave the path empty)

Note: If you have already installed aversion of HDRi Maker 2.x (none earlier than2.0) and you have already installed the 19 .zip files libraries, you can skip this step and go to Library Management

Move #8

When selecting the paths (in the popup window), make sure to de- activate “Relative Path” as shown in the image below:

Ready To Go !!!

When you have chosen the paths, click “Install” if everything is ok, you should see the prog- ress of the installation of the libraries, it will take a few minutes because when done, about 46 GB will have been installed

During the installation process, the progress percentage will be shown

When finished, press “OK” and save your preferences:

Library Management

It is dedicated only to those who have already installed the 19 libraries. It will be enough
to indicate in the first box, the path of HDRI_MAKER_LIB (if exists) and “User Library” (if exists) If none of them is available I suggest you to return and check the “First installation”
steps