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Do you use HDRI in Dome/Env light for lighting clouds?

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I'm interested in studio practices: are HDRIs used in lighting clouds, or just plain colour?

I've tried both, but the HDRI comes with a the ground which makes the bottom of the cloud quite dark, increasing the exposure makes the top part unnecessarily brighter. HDRI does give a "richer" lighting though.

What do you use for lighting clouds in Env/dome light? 


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Yes, along with a directional light for the sun, environment lights are a good choice.  Clouds are dense volumes illuminated by the sun and whatever light is able to bounce off the environment surrounding them.  The scattering settings on the volume shader for the clouds in particular play a large part into getting nice-looking clouds - I'm sure if you do a search you can find some SIGGRAPH papers focused on clouds or even some case studies on websites. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not all hdr's are the same either - try some others ; https://polyhaven.com/hdris/skies 

There's nothing wrong with editing your hdr to brighten the ground either, Nuke and Photoshop are capable of this 

You could also try using area lights instead of an env dome, I was able to save a good chunk of render time compared to the dome


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