LightMap recently announced an update to their popular lighting tool for 3D artists. HDR Light Studio 5 is a major new release for the tool, adding over 80 new features and enhancements.

A major new release with over 80 new features and enhancements

HDR Light Studio is an application with connections to popular 3D applications that allows you to accurately and quickly light a 3D model. You can do this by either clicking on posts of the model you would like to affect with light, or by adding lights to the HDR preview.

The resulting lighting design is saved as an HDR, high resolution image that can be used as a lighting and reflection environment in any application or renderer.

HDR Studio 5

HDR Studio 5 bring s a brand new UI experience with a full screen interface. Previously HDR studio had no real main window and relied on multiple floating windows. This unfortunately made it easy to get disorganized quickly.

The new release now houses all the panels you need in a new full screen interface. HDR Studio 5’s new infarct will allow you to set it up for your own workflow, moving and docking panels freely.

Drag and Drop Presets

HDR Studio 5 makes it easy to drag and drop from a library of lights. The presets panel makes sure that all of your lights are readily accessible in one place. You can easily filter the presets panel to discover the lights that you are looking for.

Use Your Own Images as Lights

You can now bring in your own LDR and HDR images as lights in the new HDR Studio 5. You can set the LUT for the improved images, and adjust attributes such as saturation, color, or add a gradient.

New Instant Relighting in the Render View

LiveLight is now the Render View in HDR Studio 5 and is integrated into the main application. It sports faster rendering thanks to using the Intel Embree 2 performance ray tracing kernels.

The Render View has some intelligence behind it now. You no longer need to re-rendering to change things like HDR lighting, view exposure, diffuse level, reflection level, shadow level or background image adjustments.

New Uber Light

There is a new light type in HDR Studio 5, the Uber Light. This provides all possible and swappable properties from a single light type. You can easily switch between the lights content type and mapping type. So you can set a light to be a bulb, image, gradient, flat or sky light, and then choose if you want it to be 3D, planar, or spherical in the 3D World.

HDR Light Studio 5 will cost you £295 / €395 / $445, there is a trial version you can download and try. Visit LightMap for more information and pricing for HDR Studio 5.




Here is the complete list of What’s New

Flexible New User Interface

  • New UI with panels that can be moved, scaled, docked/undocked and tabbed
  • Preset layouts for different size displays
  • Color and value ramps are now part of main UI, no longer pop ups

New Canvas Features

  • Resizable canvas view
  • Canvas can now display transparency via checkboard pattern
  • Channel display drop down – Includes HSVA, HSV, Alpha
  • Color LUT drop down – select display LUT for canvas
  • Tool bar for canvas interaction mode
  • Zoom in and out of the canvas
  • Zoom into a cropped area on canvas
  • Pan around the zoomed canvas view
  • Fit canvas into the view
  • Pixel Probe – Displays RGBA and HSV values under the cursor position on the canvas

New Presets Panel

  • Presets replaces the old ‘Picture Lights’ concept
  • Presets display is controlled using the drop down ‘tags’ filter
  • Drag and drop preset thumbnails onto the render view, canvas or light list
  • Double click a preset thumbnail to add the light to the canvas

New Light Controls Panel

  • Click and drag buttons to scale, rotate and change light brightness

Render View (was LiveLight)

  • Integrated into main HDR Light Studio app
  • Faster render engine powered by Embree 2
  • Intelligent renderer, no re-rendering needed to change: HDR lighting, view exposure, diffuse level, reflection level, shadow level or background image adjustments
  • Pause/Resume button with progress bar
  • Time(Sec) setting for Alembic files
  • Tool bar for render view interaction mode
  • Channel drop down – Includes HSVA, HSV, Alpha
  • Color LUT drop down – select display LUT for render view
  • Drop down camera selection
  • Freecam mode – unlocks the camera and adds buttons for camera controls

3D file formats

  • Load Alembic files
  • Load FBX files (windows only)

Image Formats

  • HDR Light Studio supports loading: BMP, Cineon, DDS, HDR, IFF, Jpeg, OpenEXR, PNG, PSD, Targa and Tiff

Render Settings

  • Apply a LUT to the background image
  • More background image formats now supported as above
  • New fresnel controls for shader
  • Max rendering samples setting
  • Faster floor shadow rendering
  • Displays loaded 3D model file path
  • Simpler presentation of material settings, no longer tabbed

Light List

  • New solo state – isolate lights display without affecting their on/off status
  • New selectable state – make lights non-selectable via the canvas or render view
  • New light lock state – lock lights so their properties can’t be changed
  • Includes a light preview thumbnail in the list
  • Right click on light list for context menu – duplicate, delete, deselect

Tool Bars

  • New repositionable tool bars for adding lights, duplicate, delete, undo/redo, production rendering of  HDRI maps
  • New ‘re-render’ production HDRI button using last settings

Lighting Content

  • New underlying architecture for light layer generation and compositing
  • Faster multi thread final rendering of HDRI maps
  • Light positioned with 100 x more precision
  • Light sizes specified with 100 x more precision
  • New sky background – procedural sky generator
  • New Gradient Light Type – Linear or radial gradient
  • Gradient background light now includes an alpha ramp
  • Planar and spherical content mapping
  • New blend modes: Multiply, High Pass (via low pass with invert), Hue
  • Blend mode has ‘preserve alpha’ and ‘invert’ options
  • Load images as lights
  • Apply a LUT to a loaded image
  • Flip image content horizontally
  • Unpremultiply alpha on loaded image
  • Invert the alpha channel of loaded image
  • Saturation slider control for loaded image
  • When coloring a loaded image using a gradient, this can be positioned anywhere with a radial or linear gradient
  • New secondary alpha control on lights via Alpha multiply using gradient or image
  • New Uber light type has all properties swappable providing all possible lighting settings from a single light type
  • Lights can be now be renamed in the Light Properties panel
  • New content type – flat color

Light Preview View

  • Scaleable light preview
  • Now includes transparency display via checkerboard pattern
  • Channel drop down – Includes HSVA, HSV, Alpha
  • Color LUT drop down – select display LUT for light preivew
  • View exposure control

New HDRI Image Output Options

  • Now uses EXR 2.0
  • Choose 16bit half or full 32 bit
  • Mip-map option
  • Add a LUT to the rendered output


  • Load 3D models into HDR Light Studio from Project menu
  • Menu entries to control light list states
  • Turn light orange selection handle display on an off
  • In app software activation via activation codes
  • Production rendering of HDRI maps from menu
  • Enhanced project assets management window

New Application Preferences Panel

  • Change proxy image resolution used in Render View and shared with 3D apps
  • Apps image cache size
  • Select OpenColorIO preferences
  • Change directory locations for presets, proxy image and licenses