3D composition with HDRi background (blend file)

I’ve created a blend file with which you can easily put your 3D objects in an HDRI background.
With this system the ground plane can, not only, receive shadows, but you can also add bump and reflections.

Here are some examples of what you can do with the file (no post-production)
https://googledrive.com/host/0B1JhZ4eBKYjWdlRMeHNtQUV6U1E/rogper_comp3dhdri-01-thumb.jpg https://googledrive.com/host/0B1JhZ4eBKYjWdlRMeHNtQUV6U1E/mikepan_comp3dhdri-01-thumb.jpg https://googledrive.com/host/0B1JhZ4eBKYjWdlRMeHNtQUV6U1E/rogper_comp3dhdri-02-thumb.jpg
Car models are from Rogério Perdiz and Mike Pan

And a video explaining how to use the file

Portuguese version | Spanish version

Download the file from here
Or if you prefer from BlendSwap

Hope it’s of some use to you :wink:

PS: some people have problems getting only a black ground plane, if that happens to you try downloading a newer version of blender.


Thanks, this is great, but i got the black ground plane, event with one recent build, 54248 (windows 7, 32 bits), and with numerous older builds, and a 2.65 installed from Blender.org. When i change the layers, i have a transparent ground only in “shadows/reflections” (and a darker one than the environnement, the plan is visible) and the blackone in “objets” and “composite”. I does the same thing with or without the open shader enabled (slower with)

Unfortunately I can’t reproduce the problem, because of that I just can’t fix the problem, I really don’t know what’s causing that. I’ve tested this system in three different computers with windows and gnu/linux, and it always worked without any problem. I’m sorry to not be able to help you.
Meanwhile if you find a solution, please let me know. Thanks!

I’m sure you can do a lot better with a higher quality hdr image. Let’s say an .exr with 10> EV high res.

Don’t worry, it’s OK, i got the same issue with 54141 in windows 7 64 bits, using CUDA. It could help to narrow the problem, but i just have to use the “shadows and reflexion” layer to have a good result.

What i find now hard to do is tweaking the trnasparent plane to match the background and to make it really invisible, hav you others tips than in your great video?

@rec Yes, I’m sure of that, but this are only test renders to show what we can do with the file :wink:

@Doc0 You don’t need to make the plane entirely transparent, only as close as you can. Even if you don’t tweak that, the plane wont be noticed in the final render. That’s only to get the colour of the shadows closer to the environment light.


Thanks for the blend file. This is something which I’ve been fiddling with recently so it’s much appreciated. I’ve had a good look through it, and I see how you are approaching this. I have a few questions if you’ll indulge me.

  1. Why are you using the panorama as the background, and not separate backplates? In my experience I’ve found that often the HDR is taken from the potential object position, and then background plates are taken from a different position (the desired framing) which, is causing me problems aligning the HDR and background plate to get the correct lighting conditions because the environment is located at the camera pivot not the scene origin. Or is it because the shadow pass in cycles doesn’t take the environment into account? Or is it something else?

  2. As the background has it’s origin at the camera pivot, if you translate the camera the background comes along. This seems to be a problem for animation. For example, say I shoot a video plate using a dolly to give me a nice ark, track the camera and stick an object in the scene. While shooting I also take an HDR at the object location for lighting purposes. If I then use the hdr as the environment it won’t match the scene firstly because it’s at the camera location, not the object location, and secondly even though the camera rotation should be fine, as the camera moves through the scene the hdr will come along causing the lighting to change, wouldn’t it? or I am misunderstanding?

I had always figured that an environment would be located at the center of the scene, which would solve these problems as the camera could move freely about with no problems. Other programs map the environment to a sphere which surrounds the scene but I’ve tried this, and offsets in the hdr capture location and background plate still seem to cause problems.

Thanks for any input you have

That must be the problem, the plane is nearly always noticed in the final render, or i must really perfectly tweak the plane. Or there is something i must doing the wrong way! :smiley:



WOW! It’s GT, and has all the textures on :smiley: and it looks awesome!
Thank you very much SlykDrako!

Really cool!

Absolutely amazing tutorial! It really shows me that I don’t know even a fraction what you can acieve with blender. For example the driver (they are completely new to me, colored in purple) that you use to map the env map to the plane just blows my mind. Perhaps you could do a tutorial on drivers or at least on how the driver works in this case so we could map env textures into planes on our own? I’d really appreciate it :yes:

Thanks very much, that works very well.

Just one question, if I wanted to blur the model slightly to blend with the background, how would I accomplish this? I can blur the objects if I add a blur node to the ‘objects’ layer, but where/how do I blur the outlines?


Thanks for this. This is such a great community.

Thank you, works fine.


I tried to use your file this morning with blender 2.7.

I did exactly the same steps as you exposed at the beginning of your video (simply load the 3 textures in world material panel) but this is the result:

Am I doing something wrong? Or maybe a parameter has to be changed for 2.7 version?

Gonna give this a go now - this is something I really want to get working :slight_smile:

It seems to be working all ok except for one thing for me - the material ‘colour’ of the ‘fake’ plane seems to be set to pink, well specificallyu that pink thats often used to denote transparency/alpha. I’ve tried both supported and experimental, but I still get same result. I’m using one of the .exr’s which I think you’re using in one of your examples: ‘Old Industrial Hall’.

Any help is very much appreciated as I’m modelling an aircraft at the moment and I really want to put it in an environment.

I’m using 2.70.

I got the same result in blender 2.66.

Hi, i have the same problem that @curvemaster, please help me i really want to use this settings i proved in 2.73

Any fix to this problem??