questions about hdri, please enlighten me

Hello, well im not entirely sure i know what hdri is and what makes it different. However, on top of asking for an explanation or link to a tutorial, i would like to ask how they are made, and if editing regular photos in gimp can make hdri images.
Any help is much appreciated!

HDRI = high dynamic range images… Pretty much what happens in real life is that there are items which are whiter then white… say for instance the sun… the sun, because it is emitting light, same with light bulbs and what not…

Now, normal images are stored as a RGB value with each colour channel ranging between 0 and 255, mapped across to the 0-1 black to white space, because each channel is made up of 2 hexadecimal bits, that gives these normal images a bit depth of 8 bits (2 per channel)… HDRI, are way more precise and can go outside the 0-1 range… we are usually working with 32bit images with floating point (the decimal place can vary, which allows it to go outside the 0-1 range)

GIMP is only 8bit… you cannot use HDRI images in gimp.

The main reason for using HDRI images, is mainly for environment lighting… with renderers, you can map a image onto the sky, and use it to light the scene… Cycles can currently do environment lighting, but currently doesnt support HDRI images… soon though.

Did that make sense?

yes thank you, just what i wanted to know