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The conventional method for applying image-based lighting is to add an environment map. And that'll be an invisible sphere that surrounds your world. And we'll do it that way first. And then later in the course we'll look at how to create an actual geometric sphere for the image-based lighting. But first let's do it the ordinary way. We'll go into the Rendering menu, and choose Environment. That brings up the Environment and Effects dialogue. And here we can add an environment map. Click on the button that says None, and you get the Material Map browser, and double click on Bitmap.
And the Select Bitmap Image file dialog comes up. And you'll see I've got a couple HDR images here. One is in the format EXR and the other is in the format HDR. And I've just included these two, because although it's the same image and it'll work the same way, you'll notice that when you import one of these you'll get different dialogs to choose the settings for that particular image. So if I choose EXR, and then click Open, I get a dialog that says Open EXR Configuration.
And it tells me what the format of that file is. And it gives me the option to enable color correction. And I can preview this and play around with the exposure. As you can see, I can increase or decrease the exposure. Or I can change the black point or white point. Basically I can crop the data. I can increase contrast by doing this. All right, so that's a dialog that you get if you have an EXR file. I'm actually going to cancel out of here and choose the HDR format file instead, and click Open. And you'll see I get a different dialog.
And I actually prefer this because it gives me a little bit more control. I can see a histogram here that shows me the brightness values of pixels, and I have some options here. First of all, Default Exposure, that means I'm not going to make any changes to the image, I'm not adjusting contrast. If I disable that then I have the ability to adjust the white point here, kind of like adjusting the levels in Photoshop. You'll see, if I bring that white point down, then I'm basically clipping off all the brightness values here in the, in the highlights.
And that would result in much brighter highlights in my reflections. I also have a black point that I can enable, and I can do the same. I can bring this up and crush the blacks. As you can see here I'm increasing the contrast by just cropping off all of this information in the blacks. Okay well, this image is actually pretty well exposed. It's got a pretty good range. You don't have to have the histogram filling up the entire graph here. This one's actually fine. And so, in this case, I can just go with the default exposure and everything will be just fine.
So click Okay. Okay, our environment map has been added, and next, we'll want to adjust some of its parameters.
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