12. Environments

Start with a template

The best thing about Physically Based Rendering is the ability to use HDRI images (environment maps) as the primary source of illumination and reflection. 

Pick an Environment from Vectary’s library and see how it affects your final render. This “fake projection” method is much faster than a physically accurate simulation (ray tracing). The results are good enough to trick the viewer’s eye and give your design the right mood.

You can adjust the Environment parameters in the Scene properties panel on the right side of your workspace. If you cannot find it, right click on the background of your scene and choose “Background settings” from the black context menu. Note that this panel is available only when you have nothing selected.

Using an Environment to light the scene is typically the best option. Every project you start comes with a default HDRI map and light settings. You can adjust the light intensity or turn the HDR light completely off if you want to have only additional lights lighting up your scene.

Note that changing the background to a solid color does not disable the HDR map of your reflections. All Environments tint your scene a little into a color that is in the original HDR image, regardless of the color of your lights or materials. 

Instead of rotating all the objects on the scene to find the best reflection, you can play with the rotation parameter of the 360 HDR image and find the right projection angle.

We would like to credit the authors of the stunning HDRI maps: 

Greg Zaal (https://hdrihaven.com/), 

zbyg (https://zbyg.deviantart.com/