First Look: HDR Light Studio 5 – ‘reborn’ in a new light

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A new full-screen user interface offers a customisable setup

Lightmap has launched version five of its HDR Light Studio software for visualisation, stating the product has been “reborn” such is the scale of the changes.

Featuring a major redesign, the biggest change is a new, flexible full screen UI, while over 80 new features and enhancements make up the impressive list of changes.

HDR Light Studio’s patented “click-to-light” system is still at the core of the product, aiming to dramatically reduce the user’s faffing to get the lighting in a render just right by placing lights directly into a render view, allowing instant updates on their progress.

A new lighting preview renderer provides instant updates for lighting and diffuse/reflection changes

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According to Lightmap, it has re-engineered the software to handle bigger images and more 3D data, adding a host of new lighting possibilities and added support for Alembic, OpenImageIO and OpenColorIO for the modern studio workflow.

The changes heralds the introduction of a continual software development model for Lightmap, which promises to bring more new features and enhancements in the coming year.

For now the new full-screen user interface is sure to get most users excited: a customisable setup, it includes dockable panels and preset layouts.

A new lighting preview renderer adds to the workflow, providing instant updates for lighting and diffuse/reflection changes, according to Lightmap this doesn’t need a heavy lifting graphics card.

Elsewhere, the wide range of light sources and effects can now be drag-and-dropped directly onto the render view, offering a fast and free lighting experience.

User images can be loaded into HDR Light Studio, with support for LDR, HDR and alpha. For large images, the use of supported mip-mapped files increases the speed of lighting.

New lighting content for this version include procedural sun/sky, linear and radial gradients, secondary alpha control for lights, while additional blend modes like multiply and high pass have been added.

HDR Light Studio 5 is available now on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux through the Lightmap website and its authorised resellers, with pricing starting at £695 for permanent licenses, and £295 for annual subscriptions including software updates.


Stay tuned for a full review in the coming weeks – although if you want an in-depth look at what HDR Light Studio offers to a workflow, then check out our full review of the previous release from last year, here.