Lightmap Launches HDR Light Studio 5.3 With New Area Lights Feature

LightMap, creators of HDR Light Studio have released the biggest update to the 3D lighting tool since version 5.

HDR Light Studio 5.3 adds an Area Lights feature, that operates with the same ease of use found in other features. Users can interactively place area lights and control both the HDRI Map and set of area lights easily.

HDR Light Studio

Here they show the Area Lights that have been placed using HDR Light Studio to pick out specific product details.

The first application connection plugin to take advantage of the new area lights feature is Autodesk Maya, supporting MentalRay, V-Ray, Maxwell, Arnold, Octane, Redshift, RenderMan and Iray for Maya.

HDR Light Studio Area Lights

Left: Just the HDRI maps lighting effect. Right: Final lighting with both Area Lights and image based lighting.

The 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Modo and Nuke/Octane plugin connections will also follow suit in support the new Area Lights.

1st March 2016 – Today, Lightmap announced the immediate availability of HDR Light Studio version 5.3. This new release adds ‘Area Lights’ to its feature set, allowing users to interactively create and control both a HDRI Map and a set of Area Lights, with the same ‘artist friendly’ ease of use that has made HDR Light Studio a favourite lighting tool with professional 3D artists world-wide.

The ability to control both the environment map and Area Lights using one unified lighting workflow is a totally unique approach

The Autodesk Maya Connection is the first to take advantage of the new Area Lights feature, supporting all leading renderers: MentalRay, V-Ray, Maxwell, Arnold, Octane, Redshift, RenderMan and Iray for Maya.

3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Modo and Nuke/Octane Connections will be updated soon to support the new Area Lights functionality.

“We are very excited about the HDR Light Studio 5.3 release. The ability to control both the environment map and Area Lights using one unified lighting workflow is a totally unique approach and a significant evolution of our software. In fact, it’s the biggest update we have ever made” says Mark Segasby, Lightmap CEO. “Our customers love how fast they can block out and adjust lighting, using HDR Light Studio’s interactive HDRI map, and also how fast this renders. By adding the ability to promote a light from the HDRI map into 3D, users can utilise all of HDR Light Studio’s controls and content to light specific details in their shots.”

Key Features: 

  • A Natural Evolution– Area lights have been added with the ease of use that you would expect from HDR Light Studio. A single check box promotes a light from the HDRI map into a 3D Area Light. Lights can be moved back and forth between the HDRI map and 3D space instantly.
  • LightPaint– Area Lights are positioned by clicking/dragging on the 3D model in the Render View using one of the LightPaint modes: Reflection, Illumination, Rim.
  • Smart Dolly– Controls both the distance and size of the Area Light, using scaling algorithms specific to the LightPaint mode used to place the light. For example, if the Area Light is positioned using Illumination mode, Smart Dolly scales the light to maintain the illumination intensity whatever distance the light is from the model. This eliminates the constant back and forth between distance and scale settings and allows the user to concentrate on achieving the required visual effect.
  • Maya Connection– When using HDR Light Studio with the Maya Connection, the Area Lights are created on the fly in Maya, which instantly builds the correct shader network for the chosen Renderer, whilstconstantly being in sync with HDR Light Studio. A live preview of the lighting with your final shaders can be viewed by starting a Maya IPR session as you work.
  • A Light Touch – HDR Light Studio controls only the essential core settings for an Area Light, i.e. The RGBA image data mapped to the light surface, light size and position, falloff method and visibility to camera. Additional Area Light settings can still be adjusted within Maya and are not altered by HDR Light Studio.
  • Portable Lighting – The lighting design is completely independent of the 3D software/renderer and can be moved between 3D software and renderers.
  • Pipeline Friendly– A Maya scene containing HDR Light Studio lights can be opened and rendered by a user without the HDR Light Studio Connection installed or licensed. This makes the solution ideal for larger studios where a subset of artists use HDR Light Studio.

HDR Light Studio 5.3 also includes additional new features: Convert existing lights to Uber Lights, continuous updates in the Render View when moving lights and an updated License Management dialog providing users with comprehensive information about currently installed licenses. Plus a large number of additional improvements.


Pricing and Availability 

Existing customers within their maintenance or subscription period can download this update today from HDR Light Studio 5.3 is available on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux through the Lightmap website ( and its authorized resellers. Pricing starts at £695 / $995 / €945 for permanent licenses and £295 / $445 / €395 for annual subscriptions.


About Lightmap Ltd

Founded in 2009, Lightmap Ltd develop creative, innovative, market leading technology for computer graphics artists. HDR Light Studio lighting software is used by professional 3D computer graphic artists and 3D visualizers that want to light their shots faster, more creatively and to a higher standard. HDR Light Studio adds intuitive lighting creation and control to your existing rendering workflow. Unlike traditional methods, HDR Light Studio removes tedious setup and guesswork from the lighting process.


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