Create HDRI Maps from any C4D Scene with CV-VRCam

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Instructor Rick Barrett

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  • Duration: 03:50
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Use CV-VRCam to render equirectangular 32-bit HDR images for Reflections and Image-based Lighting.

With the CV-VRCam plugin, you can easily create custom HDRI maps from any Cinema 4D project file. CV-VRCam is designed to render a 360 degree image in equirectangular projection, which is the same format you'll need to create a map that wraps on the inside of a sphere or Sky object for image-based lighting and reflections. Many people generate these maps by baking the reflections of a sphere, but using CV-VRcam you can Render to Picture Viewer and take advantage of all of C4D's antialiasing and render settings.

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With Cineversity's CV VRCam plugin you can easily create an HDRI map from any Cinema 4D scene. If you're not familiar with HDRI maps, these are high dynamic range images and they're stored in an equal rectangular projection and the reason we create them in this special project is because it will wrap cleanly around a sphere so that we get a full 360 degree image around our objects. And we use these images in Cinema 4D to generate reflections and image based lighting. There's lots of great ways to get HDR images. You can download them free online, you can purchase packs of HDR images, or you can generate them yourself using a 360 degree camera or even a regular camera with a reflective ball. But you can also create HDR images from a Cinema 4D scene, and the typical way of doing that is by applying a fully reflective material to a sphere and using the bake texture tag to bake that reflection out as a map. Using the CV VRCam plugin, you can get a higher quality HDRI map using the standard Cinema 4D rendering process and anti-aliasing options. This works because CV VRCam was designed to create 360 degree images or videos which are created in the same equirectangular format and projected on a virtual sphere around the viewer. To do this, you'll want to merge the camera rig from CV VRCam and that just puts a camera at the center of your scene that is going to be the center of your HDR sphere and you can move this camera wherever you want. You can even use your own camera. The camera rig just provides an easy way of getting a camera in the right place. Now, open the render settings and add the CV VRCam effect from the effects drop-down. You don't want to render stereo in this case so we'll set render stereo to none and in the output tab, you're going to want to render in a two to one aspect ratio in order to minimize the distortions as we wrap around the sphere. So you can use any width and height you'd like, just make sure that the width is exactly twice of the height and you can double check this by looking at the film aspect here, it should be two. And we also want to make sure in the save tab that we're saving this out as an HDR format or an EXR format file and most important is that we render at a bit depth of 32 bits per channel. This becomes especially important when you're doing image based lighting. You need to get the full lighting value of the bright areas within the scene. So now we're going to go ahead and render this out and you'll see that we get that same equirectangular projection that will wrap around a sphere. And now if we jump back to our original file, I'm going to go ahead and apply that map that we just created and you can see that it looks like we're inside of that scene and you can see the reflections here on our preview object. So download CV VRCam from Cineversity today and you can begin to quickly and easily create your own HDRI maps from any Cinema 4D scene. If you enjoyed this Quick Tip, please like, share, and visit for more great Cinema 4D tutorials and resources.
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