Given we know that cars are reflective and metallic, when we create digital cars and ‘place’ them in a real world back plate, certain techniques need to be employed. To do this, 360° high dynamic range image ‘domes’ are shot on location to capture the environment data.
These 360° files accompany a select amount of background images to assist the retouchers with the lighting and reflection references that need to be rendered onto the 3D or CGI mesh model. Eg if a silver car needs to reflect an intricate urban architecture in its metallic panels, its windscreen and side mirrors, the HDRI ensures a seamless marriage between both elements.
The camera and lens information used at the shoot is also captured in the metadata of the HDRI dome images so that the post-production team can adjust the model and determine the height of the CGI model.
Retouchers can also use the HDRI files to exert greater control over how much detail is shown in the reflections by manipulating the detail captured at different levels. This is the same process that photographers (that have taken their own HDR images for programs like PTGui Pro use to play with exposure and maximize as many image details as possible.
Bear Stock provides its 360° HDRI file as a 32 bit radiance ‘.hdr’ file at 14,000 x 7000 pixels in size. This provides a great level of realism and latitude of grey tones. Given most external output printers are in 8 bit, the true 16 bit assets you can purchase from Bear Stock mean your images are superior in colour gamat and density. Starting with more picture information means better results throughout production.