Nick Campbell of Greyscale Gorilla (GSG) said when he announced HDRI Studio Pack that he set out to deliver two things: speed and quality. He succeeds at both. I work for a post house in Philadelphia and if I had to say we specialize in one thing, it’s speed. Our staff can crank out some fantastic looking work in a very short amount of time. With that said, I tend to shy away from Global Illumination (GI) as my main source of lighting in Cinema 4D for a few reasons: Firstly, our schedule rarely permits long renders and secondly, access to Cinema 4D NET Render machines is often limited. I own a seat of GSG’S Light Kit Pro and while it gives great results, something like HDRI Studio Pack was appealing for fast initial style frames and concepts.
A simple drag and drop of the .lib file into the Library > Browser folder of Cinema 4D and I was ready to rock. Opening up the Content Browser, a few folders containing several setups appear along with various presets for versions 11 through 13. In the root of the Studio Pack, there is the main “studio,” which is the drag and drop rig in which you place the HDRI images. Below are seven folders containing many HDRI images of various colors, shapes and sizes; many based on real world lighting setups.
The concept is simple, add the Seamless Floor object, add the HDRI Studio Rig, drag and drop the HDRI image of your choice, turn on GI and hit render. So I added the sample Vases model that ships with HDRI Studio pack, selected the Basic Studio image and pressed render. 41 seconds later, I had the below image.
Not what I had in mind, so next I tried Basic Studio2. 37 seconds later and 180 degree rotation of the rig and that’s more like it. Not perfect by any means, but we’re talking about two minutes of work and I’m looking at a pretty nice image.
What Nick has done a very good job of, in addition to the end goal of making great looking renders, is to provide easy controls for the most “go to” functions.
As I mentioned, the Rotation slider was the only option I adjusted from the default setting. This is something that I do 99% of the time when working with Sky objects and it’s great to have quick access to it here. As with other HDRI kits such as the Dosch collection, sometimes you may like the pattern of an image but need to remove the color or shift the hue around, those controls are here as well and are a nice addition. The key feature I was most excited about in Version 1.5, in addition to the Physical Render presets, were the animation presets. Rarely do I deliver still images or have time to render animations with GI. I selected the R13 animation preset and in 30 minutes, had this render:
Is there some noise? Yes. Does it need tweaking? Sure. Did it render full GI with no flickering in thirty seconds a frame? Yep. That’s awesome. Even if you increased the settings and doubled the render time to a minute per frame, that’s not bad at all. Especially considering how much time you saved on the lighting setup.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the new version of HDRI Studio Pack. Nick delivers on his word and provides a tool that’s not only fast, but delivers great results. I can think of two current projects where I can put HDRI Studio Pack through it’s paces. Hopefully Nick will continue to add images to the rig in future updates but in the meantime, I don’t foresee running out of the current available options.