HDR Light Studio brings interactive creation and control of image based lighting to 3D rendering software. It provides a fast and precise way to light a 3D scene with photo-real results, while fitting into all major 3D pipelines on the market. HDR Light Studio creates HDRI maps that are visually perfect containing highly controllable Synthetic Lighting and Picture Lights. The HDRI map is dynamic and can be adjusted at any time; lighting and effects are node based and resolution independent. Final renders lit using HDR Light Studio look real because HDR image based lighting creates illumination and reflections that work in perfect harmony.

HDR Light Studio can be used stand-alone by importing 3D scenes into LiveLight, or used in conjunction with any number of Live plug-in partners including: KeyShot, Maxwell Studio, VRED, Patchwork3D, SprayTrace, SAP Visual Enterprise Author, Maya and Houdini – where lighting updates are seen instantly in the host render view providing a totally ‘Live’ lighting experience.


 New for v5.4

Major New Features

  • Positionable Light Handles
  • Advanced Rotations (X,Y,Z)
  • Rotation Modes

Connection Update:

  • 3ds Max 2017 support - Including ART Renderer & Arnold
  • Cinema 4D R18 support
  • DeltaGen 2017x support

New Light Sources

32 Additional Studio Light Sources have been added to th ePreset Library. Existing users should download Studio Lights 2 to get these new lights.



Now on PC, Mac and Linux

HDR Light Studio contains all features and connectivity, including the Live plug-ins in a single product edition that's available for the first time on Windows, OSX and Linux.

Commercial and Educational licenses are available as node locked or floating seats.



New LightPaint technology enables lighting artists to point in the rendered view directing the light to the exact location where it is needed on their models. Slashing the time taken to light a 3D scene and enabling the precise placement of lighting and reflections.

"LightPaint has revolutionized our lighting workflow. No more trial and error and waiting for re-renders, just instant visual feedback as you move lights around. LightPaint takes the guesswork out of placing light..." Tom Painter, Bigman

"HDR Light Studio 4 became my default lighting solution after about 15 minutes of playing with the Beta... I love placing lights by 'touching' the model, it's so intuitive and a huge time saver." Jim Cascarina, MGV


New User Interface

  • Faster and smoother interaction
  • 15% smaller footprint than version 3
  • New selected light preview image
  • Canvas Exposure Slider
  • Interact directly with falloff curve
  • Picture Light Browser previews under mouse
  • Dynamic update of Zup/Yup setting
  • A 'no canvas guides' option



Explore the shot with pan and zoom in LiveLight to light details using LightPaint



Look through a selected light on the HDR canvas and use the camera navigation to drive its location



Take control of the brightness of light sources in existing HDRI maps


Better connected than ever


New Direct Exporters

Push scenes from Modo, Cinema4D and 3DS Max direct into HDR Light Studio for real-time image based lighting creation and control.


New Live plug-ins
New Maya and Houdini plug-ins
Created using the HDR Light Studio 4 new python interface. Fully adjustable for your workflow.


Output Presets
Select your 3D software and renderer combination for correctly mapped HDR output in Live and file export.

Accomplish these lighting tasks in real-time with HDR Light Studio

  • Create custom HDRI maps for your shot – a faster alternative to creating CG light or emitters
  • Create complex and precise lighting & reflections for reflective objects like products and cars
  • Create professional studio lighting environments containing real studio light source captures
  • Load and control existing HDRI maps with local adjustments to exposure, color and saturation even adding additional lights. Re-light the HDR to emphasize the beauty of the subject, whilst maintaining he character and detail within the original HDRI.
  • Create convincing lighting for CG objects placed into photographic backgrounds using color matching tools
  • Create a HDR environment as the foundation to your shot containing the majority of ambient lighting – as a result add far less CG light sources than ever before only where you need them.

Key Features in HDR Light Studio:

Dynamic HDR Canvas: Real-time creation of lat-long image based lighting environments

Synthetic Lighting: Powerful procedurally created lighting system for studio lighting and effects

Picture Lights: HDR captures of photo studio lighting, windows and more

LightPaint: Place and select lights directly on the rendered view, put reflections where needed.

LiveLight: The interactive lighting viewport in HDR Light Studio, load 3d scenes and light

Background Options: HDR gradient with luminosity and color ramps, HDR/EXR files or transparent

SunShade: Take control of the brightness of light sources in existing HDRI maps

Advanced Color Selection: Color tuning grid, kelvin picker, match colors in HDR/LDR images

Improved Interface: Smoother, faster and more space efficient

Cross Platform: Windows, Mac and Linux compatible

Single Edition: Including plug-ins for KeyShot, Maxwell Studio, VRED, Patchwork 3D, SAP Visual Enterprise Author, Maya and Houdini.

Direct Export: Push scenes from Modo, Cinema4D, 3DS Max & Maya direct into LiveLight

Output Presets: Select your 3D software/ renderer combo for correctly mapped HDR output

Python API: Create and tailor HDR Light Studio 4 Live integrations for your pipeline


 Compatibility Chart 


 ** HDR Light Studio 4.3 adds support for ChaosGroup V-Ray for Rhino


Picture Light Packs

Real Suns - Picture Light Pack

Real Suns - Picture Light Pack

Add ‘Real Suns’ to existing HDRI location captures, adding drama and life to your renders.

Add 'Real Suns' effects to your studio lighting setups.

This Light Pack contains 8 highly varied HDRI Sun captures. These Suns can be positioned and adjusted like any other light source in HDR Light Studio 2.0. Ideal for adding drama to car renders.



HDR Lighting - Volume 1

HDR Lighting - Volume 1

9 HDR Photo Studio Lighting Captures
For use as HDR lighting and reflection environments.
Images supplied as 2,708 x 1,354 pixel HDR files.

3 soft box setups inside a white cove
3 spot light setups inside a white cove
3 light tent setups

Partner Software

SprayTrace for Maya - v1

SprayTrace for Maya - v1

Instant feedback on Maya MentalRay scenes

SprayTrace provides an instant preview of your Maya MentalRay scene, providing real-time feedback on shaders, textures, lighting and camera adjustments. The SprayTrace preview is faithful to the final MentalRay render, but at a preview quality. It's very easy to use... no settings, just one button to launch. SprayTrace uses CPU only, so no special graphics cards are required either. It's the essential new plug-in for Maya MentalRay artists. It also supports a HDR Light Studio plug-in for real-time lighting direct onto your Maya scene! 

Version / Release Updates

HDR Light Studio 5.3 is out!

Improvements & Updates include:


This new release adds 'Area Lights' to its feature set, allowing users to interactively create and control both a HDRI Map and set of Area Lights with the same 'artist friendly' ease of use that has made HDR Light Studio a favorite lighting tool with professional 3D artists world-wide.

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 (RIS) and Iray for Maya.

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

HDR Light Studio 5.3 adds support for: SOLIDWORKS Visualize, Modo 902 and Iray for Maya. Plus includes a wide range of additional features and enhancements benefiting all users.

Area Light – Key Features:

• A Natural Evolution – Area lights have been added with the same intuitive controls and ease of use as you would expect from HDR Light Studio. A single tick 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 with ease.

• LightPaint – Area Lights can be positioned ‘in shot’ by clicking 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, instead allowing the user to concentrate on the visual effect they want with using minimal controls.

• Maya Connection – When using HDR Light Studio via the Maya Connection, the Area Lights are created on the fly in Maya, instantly building the correct shader network for the chosen Renderer. Area lights are always in sync with HDR Light Studio. Start a Maya IPR session to see a live preview of the lighting effect as you work in HDR Light Studio.

• 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 set 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/renderers.

• Pipeline Friendly – A Maya scene containing HDR Light Studio lights can be opened and rendered by any other 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 added support for Iray for Maya, SOLIDWORKS Visualize, MODO 902, and a large number of improvements and fixes.


HDR Light Studio 5.4 - Promo from HDR Light Studio on Vimeo.

HDR Light Studio 4 from HDR Light Studio on Vimeo.

HDR Light Studio 4 - Standalone Workflow from HDR Light Studio on Vimeo.


More HDR Light Studio videos...

Specifications & Licensing

System Requirements

Windows: Windows 7 64-bit and Windows 8 64-bit
Mac: OS X 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion, 64-bit
Linux: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 64-bit (Fedora 11+, Centos 5.4+ and Ubuntu 10.04+ compatible)

Hardware recommendation
At least 4 processer cores for LiveLight, 4GB RAM, Installation requires 1.5GB of hard disk space
3 button mouse for camera navigation, Internet connection for licensing and support


Software is delivered by a download only.
Includes upgrade to future 4.x versions



Single User License
The Single User License replaces our old node locked licensing policy. Now when you buy a Single
User License of HDR Light Studio, a 3D artist can now install and activate HDR Light Studio on up to
2 computers for non‐concurrent use. i.e. One seat at work and one seat for home/laptop. The
Lightmap store has been updated to provide 2 user key uploads and the user will still receive a
single license key that can be used for both computers.
Cross Platform
HDR Light Studio – Complete is a cross platform product and provides installers and connectivity
for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platforms. Customers can choose to install and license their
software on any

Annual Subscription & Perpetual licenses available as Nodelocked or Floating.
Educational Licenses are also available

Additional Info

Upgrades / Support

Includes upgrade to future 5.x versions


Related Products


Enhance your pipeline with the following products:

  • Autodesk 3DS Max
  • Autodesk Maya
  • Autodesk Softimage
  • Luxology / The Foundry modo
  • Maxon Cinema4D
  • Newtek Lightwave
  • Next Limit Maxwell Studio
  • Side Effects Houdini
  • ChaosGroup V-Ray for Rhino


Compatibility Chart