Friday, March 17th, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Nvidia’s free Canvas app now generates 360° 4K EXRs

Free AI art tool Canvas can now turn rough sketches into 360-degree environments that can be exported to DCC tools or game enginess. Demo recorded by Greenskull AI using an early access build of Canvas 1.4.

Nvidia has released Canvas 1.4, the latest version of its free AI art tool for turning rough blocking sketches into photorealistic landscape images.

As well as standard images that could be used as the basis for matte paintings, the update makes it possible to generate equirectangular 4K images that can be used as environments in DCC software or game engines.

An experimental AI art tool that turns quick sketches into photorealistic environment images
First released in 2021, Canvas lets you block out the overall form of a natural environment using different-coloured brushtrokes to represent different landforms like hills, mountains, rivers and seas.

The app – trained on photographic source images using a generative adversarial network – then translates the blocking sketch into a realistic landscape in real time.

You can then choose an overall visual style for the image, picking from presets for different lighting conditions and times of day, or uploading your own image as a style reference.

Can now generate 360-degree environments as 4K EXR files
To that, Canvas 1.4 adds the option to generate 360-degree environments as well as standard 2D images.

Both the source sketch and the landscape image are displayed in equirectangular format, with an additional 3D preview to show how the image will look as a spherical environment.

The result can be exported in EXR format – also new in this release – at resolutions up to 4,096 x 4,096px.

The exported image can then be used as an environment map in DCC tools like Blender or Omniverse, or in game engines: the video at the top of the story shows one being used as a skybox in Unreal Engine 5.

Nvidia doesn’t describe the images generated as HDRIs, so we’re checking what kind of dynamic range they have, but the product website does say that they can be used to change the ambient lighting of a 3D scene.

Updated 20 March 2023: Nvidia told us that the environments that Canvas generates are currently Standard Dynamic Range images, not HDRIs.

System requirements
Canvas 1.4 is available for Windows 10. The software is free, and is still officially in beta. You need a Nvidia GeForce RTX, Titan RTX or RTX GPU with version 522.06+ of Nvidia drivers to use it.

Read more about Canvas in the online documentation

Download free AI art tool Canvas from Nvidia’s website