Tuesday, April 12th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

Lightmap releases HDR Light Studio Xenon Drop 4.2

Originally posted on 27 January 2021. Scroll down for news of Drop 4.2.

Lightmap has updated HDR Light Studio, its lighting design tool.

HDR Light Studio Xenon Drop 2 adds a new Diffusion filter mimicking the effect of light filtering through a real-world scrim. Users can also save and compare Light Looks for lighting designs during look development.

Updated 20 May 2021: Drop 3 adds a new motion blur filter and an updated Cinema 4D plugin.

Updated 9 November 2021: Drop 4 adds a second advanced motion blur filter, and a new integration plugin for Omniverse, Nvidia’s new real-time collaboration platform.

Updated 12 April 2022: Drop 4.2 makes the Omniverse connector available to all HDR Light Studio users.

Design your own HDRI-based studio lighting set-ups
Used in a range of industries, from automotive and design visualisation to visual effects, HDR Light Studio streamlines the process of designing HDRI-based lighting set-ups.

Users can create synthetic HDRIs by dragging 2D lights around on a rectangular canvas, or by clicking directly in the render view to position highlights in host apps that support the software’s LightPaint system.

The software can also be used to create supplementary area lights inside the host 3D app.

Lightmap also includes tools for editing HDRIs, with the option to add synthetic lights to existing photographic images, plus a procedural sky system for lighting exterior scenes.

The software integrates with a wide range of DCC and CAD applications, including 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya – and, as of HDR Light Studio Xenon Drop 1, the previous release, with Blender.

New in Xenon Drop 2: new Diffusion filter mimics the effect of real-world scrims
New features in the latest release include a Diffusion filter, which mimics the effect of light filtered through a translucent material like tracing paper or a gauze scrim.

It works like a standard blur effect, softening an HDRI map, but is energy-conserving.

As well as a Spherical option for HDRI maps, there is a Planar option for use on synthetic area lights, both available via the new Composites system added to the software last year.

New Light Looks system makes it possible to save and compare variant lighting set-ups
Drop 2 also introduces Light Looks: a new system for saving variant looks for a project, either for client approval or to make it easier to toggle between iterations during look development.

It’s possible to create Child looks – sub-variations of a particular base look – and to set up separate lighting designs for each camera in a scene.

Updated 20 May 2021: HDR Light Studio Xenon Drop 3 is out.

The update adds a new Motion Blur filter for adding linear motion blur to HDR images, either to mimic the effect of moving objects within HDRI lighting set-ups, or to add blur to HDR backdrops for renders.

The release also improves the UX design of the Area Light controls and improves performance: when moving lights on the canvas, the render view should now update in real time.

In addition, the Cinema 4D plugin has been ported to the new TCP/IP-based API introduced in the original HDR Light Studio Xenon release, which should also improve interactive performance.

Updated 9 November 2021: HDR Light Studio Xenon Drop 4 is out.

The update adds a second motion blur filter, Motion Blur (Advanced), with the option to fine-tune the blur effect by curving the motion path, adding a noise profile, or applying a Z-depth map.

Other changes include a new connector plugin for Omniverse, Nvidia’s real-time collaboration platform, initially available only with Automotive subscription plans.

It supports the LightPaint system, making it possible to position highlights and reflections in CG images by clicking in the Omniverse render view.

In addition, the software’s Blender plugin now supports third-party renderers OctaneRender and RenderMan.

Updated 12 April 2022: HDR Light Studio Xenon Drop 4.2 is out.

The update makes the new Omniverse connection available to users with Pro and Indie licences, and adds support for the Real-Time mode in Omniverse’s RTX Renderer.

In addition, the 3ds Max connection now supports third-party renderer FStormRender.

Lightmap has also announced that the price of Indie subscriptions, available for uses with revenue under $100,000/year, will rise from $140/year to $220/year on 1 May 2022.

Pricing and availability
HDR Light Studio Xenon Drop 4.2 is available for Windows 7+, macOS 10.13+ and various Linux distros.

Connection plugins are available for a range of common DCC and CAD tools: you can see a table of versions supported and HDR Light Studio features available here.

Node-locked perpetual licences cost $1,295, which includes access to 12 DCC and CAD applications, including 3ds Max, Blender, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya, Modo and Omniverse.

Subscriptions currently start at $140/year for artists with revenue under $100,000/year, with Automotive plans also providing access to plugins for VRED, DeltaGen and Patchwork 3D. Find full pricing details here.

Read more about the new features in HDR Light Studio on Lightmap’s blog

Read a full list of new features in HDR Light Studio in the online changelog