Eevee and HDRI (Went through all similar topics beforehand)


I’m trying to understand something fundamental with Eevee, which I’ve tried to research but to no avail. I don’t know if I’m asking the right question.

So I will ask this - if the HDRI lighting stops interacting with my scene, what would the problem be?

• I understand the difference between Cycles and Eevee.
• I know I still need a sun lamp for shadows, highlights, etc
• I restarted blender, made a simple scene with a default cube. I rotated the environment light around, and the cube object did interact with the rotation of the environment on the Z axis.
• But now, with a more complicated scene and Eevee-compliant materials, the lighting ceases to have any effect whatsoever. Something must have changed.

I know the HDRI in Eevee only provides a base lighting. But when it stops altogether, I don’t know how to address the issue.

In the screenshot, my scene isn’t even close to the illumination of the HDRI, as you can see in the background. I tried rotating the environment and zoomed in on my model, and background hills. But there is no change in light direction from what I can observe.

At the very least, shouldn’t there be some kind of subtle change in the lighting of the geometry?

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Why do you want to use an HDRI in EEVEE? It doesn’t cast shadows, so its pretty useless (Even with shadow catchers and more AO).

But if for some reason you want HDRI (trust me, you don’t want it) in EEVEE, the most straightforward cause is that the strength is turned off (set to 0). Be sure to go in rendered view as well. Also, test with a render.

But actually, you have the luck that HDRI doesn’t work for you in EEVEE. Devs should disable it. There are so many ugly EEVEE renders to find because of environment/world light not casting shadows. This gives EEVEE a bad name, while it is a solution for many people who don’t have RTX video cards.

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Hi there!

Fair question. I suppose I was under the impression that the HDRI provided a base level, “GI-ish” light.

Well, I guess that’s that :slight_smile:

Thank you for the information! That helps.


That was my thought as well “A basic GI-ish light”. But after many tries and experiments, I won’t even use 2% of the strength of world light in EEVEE.

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Good to know!

Happy Blending :slight_smile:

Sorry, but I am going to disagree…
First off I do agree with some statements, Shadows for instance…EeVee in general does not handle shadows well, and far better to use cycles…But to say HDRI does not provide a basic “GL-ish” light is just incorrect. It adds Diffuse Lighting…NO direct lighting, that is why it is best to add lamps or sun what-ever to get Direct Lighting.

I don’t know how you set up your HDRI… here is my basic setup.

There is only one point lamp in this example…
I rotate the HDRI and turn off the Point lamp you can see the diffuse lighting provided by the HDRI ( pillars )…as well as the Specular light ( sphere)

and again with just a Diffure render pass…

I think the best way to think about HDRI lighting is to consider it FILL and Specular lighting! Use lamps for direct lighting and shadows…

As far as your example…set up as I did and then rotate the HDRI around the Z-axis till the light from the HDRI hits your Windmill…
Note: If the strength were to be set at zero the Background would be BLACK!

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Thank you for the feedback.

I understand everything you’re saying.

But I tried a different approach. I started a new file, then appended the new file with all of my objects. Now it seems to work.

I have no idea what was changed during the modeling/texturing/lighting process of the original. Sometimes…you just need a clean slate, apparently!

I’m no less puzzled. But at least I can move forward. Thanks again for your insight though!

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Yep, when all else fails a re-start and append will get you on track again…Glad you got it !!
Happy Blending…