How do I permanently install HDRI's?

How do I permanently install HDRI’s without the ones that I install being bound to certain projects?

Depends on what you mean by “install” and “bound” . . . and, come to think of it, “permanently”.

When you install Blender it comes with eight HDRIs included in (typical Windows installation, not sure about the location in others) C:\Program Files\Blender Foundation\Blender 2.93\2.93\datafiles\studiolights\world – these are “permanent” so long as you don’t delete them, uninstall Blender, or wreck the drive they’re on. However, you’ll notice that part of the path name is (currently) “2.93”. If you try to distribute a blend file that links to one of them, that link will only work for people who have Blender 2.93 installed in the same file location you do. This is one of the reasons it’s recommended that you “pack” into a blend file (is that what you meant by “bound”?) the external files that it uses before distributing it, including the HDRI file. That makes the blend file larger, but far easier for the people who download it to use.

The same applies ( IANAL/TINLA ) if you’re using other HDRI files than the exr files that come with Blender. If they’re freely distributable you should have little trouble (other than the file size) packing them into the blend file before sharing it. If they’re not distributable by you (for example, if you bought them but not their distribution rights) then you probably shouldn’t use them in a project that you intend to sell or share.

If this doesn’t answer your question then I haven’t understood it well enough – could you please rephrase, perhaps provide more information about what you’re trying to do and why?

In preferences under lights there is a button to install hdri’s. When you click it you can navigate to the hdris folder and choose which ones to install.

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:scream: Huh, learn something new every day. I suppose if that’s what LBJ’s referring to then “permanently” installing them would be to save the Preferences. But IIUC once you do that the HDRIs should be available in Viewport Shading > Material Preview’s HDRI selection for all projects – I just tried it, pulled up an older blend file and the new HDRI was still installed and usable in the old file.

Yes when you save the hdri in preferences it will be available for all projects, “permanently” is a bit of a utopia, nothing lasts for ever!

What blender does is save a copy of the hdri in your config folder. For linux it is a hidden folder in
home/“USER NAME”/.config/blender/“BLENDER VERSION”/datafiles/studiolights/world/

so it will be permanent for that version of blender (as long as you do not delete that hidden folder!), if you install a different version of blender you would have to either:

retrieve the preferences from the old version when you first start up the new version, I never do this as it can sometimes lead to problems (not always but I prefer a clean start)

or re-do your preferences and save the hdri light again. If you have deleted the original hdri you can retrieve the copy from the preference folder of the old version.

But the caution about “packing” anything that you intend to distribute still applies.