Modify the Global Environment

Customize the illumination, background, reflection, and refraction.

The Global Environment places your model in a 3D context for rendering; it controls all aspects of the rendering environment: illumination, the background, reflection, and refraction. By default, the global environment is the HDR image evoRender.hdr. You can choose from a number of HDRs, IBLs, and JPGs to use as environment maps.

What is HDR?

High Dynamic Range images provide highly realistic lighting, especially when it comes to reflection and refraction. If you select a HDR image as your global environment, the exact same image is used for illumination, the background, reflection, and refraction.

What is IBL?

IBL stands for Image-Based Lighting. If you choose an IBL, three different versions of the same image will be used:
  • Illumination: A slightly blurred HDR
  • Reflection and Refraction: A wide JPG
  • Background: A high-resolution square JPG

If you don't like everything that comes in a particular IBL folder, you can set distinct Illumination, Background, Reflection, and Refraction maps.

  1. On the ribbon, click the Rendering tab.
  2. Click the Environment icon.

  3. To select a global environment map, click the drop-down arrow on the thumbnail. Select Library to use a preset, or click Browse to use your own maps.
    Tip: Instead of omitting a map, it's recommended that you set the Intensity to 0 so that there's still diffuse light in your scene.
  4. To adjust the global environment map, define the following parameters:
    Option Description
    Wrapping Change how the image is projected onto the objects in your scene.
    • Spherical: Use for rectangular images. Projects the image around your scene in the shape of a sphere.
    • Hemispherical: Use for rectangular images. Projects the image around the upper half of the sphere. This is useful for depicting objects on a ground plane, so that reflections do not show underneath.
    • Angular Probe: Use for images taken with a fisheye lens.
    Rotation Rotate the map to affect how the scene is illuminated.
    Intensity Define the brightness of the map.

    Type a value from 0 to 1, where the default value of 1 corresponds to 100% intensity. Lower values darken the scene, while higher values brighten the scene.

    Tip: Decrease the intensity if you plan to add lights or emitters to your scene.
  5. For Background Mode, select Infinite Sphere or Finite Dome. If you selected Finite Dome, the scene is surrounded by a dome with a ground plane and the background image is mapped to the dome as a texture. You can define the following parameters:
    Option Description
    Diameter Define the diameter of the finite dome.
    Stretch Stretch the dome by the desired factor.
    Origin X Define the x coordinate of the origin.
    Origin Y Define the y coordinate of the origin.
    Viewer elevation Define the height of the mapping center above the ground plane, which affects the appearance of the background image. Increase this value to move the background up, or decrease this value to move the background down. If this value is too low, part of the image above the horizon will be mapped to the ground.
    Note: To restore the default values, click Default Dome.
  6. To insert a ground plane, which catches shadows from objects in your scene, select Ground. You can then define the following parameters:
    Option Description
    Ground Position Define the position of the ground plane.
    Scene Elevation The default value is 0. Increasing the value moves the ground plane in the positive z direction. Decreasing it will move the ground plane in the opposite direction, along the negative z-axis.
    Reflectivity % Define the strength of the reflections.

    Enter a value of 0-100, where 100 produces perfect mirror reflections and 0 produces the weakest reflections.

    Roughness % Roughness adds texture to the material at a microscopic level. When you modify the roughness, the surface texture still looks the same; however, tiny changes invisible to the naked eye have occurred, affecting reflectivity.

    0 can produce a perfect mirror reflection.

    Lower values produce crisper and brighter reflections.

    Higher values produce blurrier, dimmer reflections. Increasing the roughness spreads and distributes reflections over the surface and creates a more matte surface.

    At values approaching 100, light becomes so scattered that reflections are barely visible, if at all.

    Note: You can create your own ground plane using the Shadow Catcher option on the Materials tool. A shadow catcher is not affected by light emitted from physical lights (those created with the Light tool), whereas a ground plane is.
  7. Right-click and mouse through the check mark to exit, or double-right-click.