HDR Light Studio; Our Review and Tips for Editing HDRi Maps

Here at CGI.Backgrounds, we’ve produced some of the best HDRi Maps and Backplates in the world . Still, even the best HDRi Map doesn’t always have the exact lighting data you need for your specific 3D project.
For example, our HDRi Maps have all the data you need for Image-Based Lighting in DCCs like Maya and Blender. But what if you download an HDRi Map of a coastal road , place your vehicle model into it, and find that the sun angle isn’t quite right, or you need a fill light to perfectly illuminate your render?
In that case, editing your HDRi Map is a great way to keep the real-world lighting data present in the map, while also adding additional light that you can control precisely. 
Our favorite tool for editing HDRi Maps is HDR Light Studio . Here’s a look at the tool, and why we love using it for our HDRi Map edits.

What is HDR Light Studio?

HDR Light Studio is a professional lighting application used by 3D artists and designers for creating custom High Dynamic Range (HDR) environment maps , which are used to light and enhance the appearance of 3D models and scenes. 
The software allows users to create, edit, and refine lighting setups in real-time, making it an essential tool for artists working on product visualization, automotive rendering , and other CGI projects.

Key Features

Some key features of HDR Light Studio include:
Real-time lighting adjustments: HDR Light Studio lets users adjust and fine-tune lighting setups in real-time, making it easier to achieve the desired look and feel for a 3D scene.
Intuitive interface: The software's interface is user-friendly, allowing artists to quickly create and modify lights through a simple drag-and-drop system.
Preset light sources: HDR Light Studio comes with a library of preset light sources, making it easy to get started with various lighting scenarios.
Compatibility: The software is compatible with various 3D modeling and rendering applications , such as Maya, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, and others, through the use of dedicated plugins or connectors.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) support: As the name suggests, HDR Light Studio supports HDR imagery , allowing users to work with a broader range of light intensities for more realistic lighting and reflections.

How We Use HDR Light Studio

When testing our own HDRI Maps and Environments, we use HDR Light Studio to adjust our maps during the rendering process. The ability to edit an existing HDRi Environment is one of HDR Light Studio’s most powerful features.
For example, we can load one of our HDRi Maps into the tool, and see the existing light sources in the map. Generally, these were captured from the real-world location where the map was produced.
From this, we can then add new lights, block existing light sources, make adjustments to the light’s color/temperature, and otherwise tweak and edit the light in the HDRi Environment until it’s perfect.
Our HDRi Maps ensure that we’re not starting from scratch–we get to begin with an HDRi Map with realistic lighting data. But by using HDR Light Studio, we can easily tweak and edit our map customizing it to a specific rendering project.
We can then save it out as a new HDRi Map, or integrate it directly into a DCC using one of HDR Light Studio’s plugins. 

Other Uses

Since we do a lot of work with automotive rendering, we generally work from HDRi Maps of real-world places. HDR Light Studio also allows you to create your own custom studio HDRI Maps, though.
This lets you work with a blank canvas, adding lighting elements like virtual scrim lights, softboxes, gradient lights, and more. These features are a great fit for people who are doing product photography, where the product is front and center and the background is often less significant.


Overall, we’ve found that HDR Light Studio is a great tool for those situations where your HDRi Map needs a bit of extra work to reach the perfect state.
Editing HDRi Maps with HDR Light Studio is a great way to add custom light sources while preserving the environment light already present in professional HDRi Maps like the ones we license here at CGI.Backgrounds.
Adding HDR Light Studio to your existing workflow is easy. Grab a copy of the tool from the HDR Light Studio website , and then download an HDRi Map from CGI.Backgrounds . Load the map into HDR Light Studio, make any edits that you need for your project, and either export the map or integrate it directly into your DCC with a plug-in.
Our maps are already among the highest quality you can find–adding the ability to edit your HDRi Maps lets you customize them to your specific use case, achieving the perfect render for your next project.


  • Randal Cumming


    Cumming has more than two decades of experience capturing, creating, and transforming product offerings and workflows for clients across the globe. As the CEO of CGI Background, Cumming leverages his institutional knowledge and experience to help businesses plan and execute interactive, 3D digital strategies that increase consumer engagement and achieve revenue growth goals.