Chrome sphere for sale?


I want to make a world light based on an existing environment. I’ve read a tutorial on how to create your own equirectangular HDRI by stiching hundreds of photos together and running it through a software.
But I thought I would try the other way and use a reflective ball.

  1. Where can I buy a ball that serves my purpose? What is it called?

  2. Are there any tutorials on how to place a model in a photo using the technique with a mirror ball?



Hello… See you this link…

Thanks! Just what I need. But I won’t pay that much for it. 500€???

Any other alternatives out there?

Creating spherical HDRI requires some expensive material.
Do yourself a favor and instead of the the reflective ball go the fisheye route.

  • There´s a fishey from Walimex (in some countries it is sold by Samyang or Rokinon) for around 300€. AFAIK this is the only fisheye in that price range that makes sense. Anything cheaper is useless.
  • You need a DRLS preferably from Canon because Canon cameras can run Magic Lantern which is a software that unlocks your camera so you can shoot unlimited brackets at once. About 250€. The Canon 1100 is fine for example.
  • You need a halfways decent tripod: 100 - 200€
  • You need a halfways decent tripod head preferably a panorama head like a Nodal Ninja: 180 - 300€
  • You need software such as PTGui Pro: 150€

All of this photo stuff is expensive.

You get exelent information on:
The sites owner Joachim Bloch wrote probably the best book on shooting HDRI panoramas for CG artists and it´s absolutely worth reading even if you decide not to pursue shooting HDRI panoramas after all.

Note that I researched this topic a couple of years ago and my information might be out of date.

I have a Canon 5D mkII and a good tripod. I might read that book you recommended. But I just want decent quick results. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Just quick.

I thought the reflective sphere idea sounded pretty good. Any tutorials on that? And a cheap ball?

If quality isn´t that important you can just get a cheap reflective ball from a hardware store. You know, these balls that are made to decorate your garden. The bigger the better.

It´s more time consuming, though as you have to set up the ball and then take images from different locations and later on you have to remove your reflection from the ball.
With the fisheye method you simply setup your tripod shoot in 6 directions - forwards, backwards, up, down, left, right - and you´re finished. You might have to digitally remove the tripod in your down shot but often that is not even necessary.

Try a mirrored gazing ball sold in the garden section of any hardware store, they come in 2 or 3 different sizes I believe.

If you don´t need HDRI that looks useful.

I guess I have to do some reading on the “Mirror Ball” setting in the “Environment Texture” node in Blender Cycles. I thought it would be possible to use a single image of a mirror ball to get the lighting approximately right.
Of course Blender wouldn’t be able to figure out how the world looks directly behind the mirror ball, but that wouldn’t make much difference if the object’s not supposed to be transparent.

Plus you would be able to get the reflections exactly where you want to place the object (not where you can rotate a camera).

But I haven’t found that much information on the Mirror Ball setting and how it works.

Please note that I only want to view the model from the same angle I’ve taken the picture of the mirror ball.

And regarding the garden ball. I don’t think we have those in Sweden.

Does Amazon ship to Sweden?

The HDR Handbook mentioned above also talks about shooting mirror balls for lighting reference. Ideally you would mount the ball on a tripod and shoot it from multiple directions. In practice, if you’re on set you would rarely have that luxury though, nonetheless you can still get very serviceable lighting reference from a single shot of a mirror ball held next to your subject for a few seconds.

You don’t want to use the mirror ball method. The other one produces far more superior results. I’m pretty sure you’ve read Greg’s article - if not, here you go, everything you need to know:
You have a nice camera, you can install magic lantern, that will do most of the work for you. Even if you don’t need giant, 8k maps, the results of the stitching method are much better even @1024, than a mirror ball map.

Yes. Christmas is around the corner. Just buy a big shiny christmas tree ornament. It gives exactly the same results.