Course Description

Lighting computer-generated scenes with captured real-world light can increase realism and help integrate computer-generated and real-world imagery. This course teaches the theory behind HDRI and IBL and presents practical production-ready techniques for applying them. It includes high-dynamic-range imagery, light probes, global illumination, approximation methods, and IBL-based live-action compositing.


High-dynamic-range photography, lighting acquisition, image-based lighting and compositing, real-time techniques, and ongoing research in illuminating real people and objects with sampled light. Use of these techniques in actual productions with particular software pipelines and the required basics of light reflection and global illumination.

Additional Resources for the SIGGRAPH 2003 Course:

Frank Vitz, Paul Debevec, Dan Lemmon (inset), Greg Ward, and Rod Bogart

Course Syllabus

Part 1: Fundamentals of HDR and IBL

Introduction - Debevec

Global Illumination and HDRI File Formats - Ward
  - Global Illumination Techniques: Radiosity, Ray-Tracing, Monte Carlo
  - High Dynamic Range Image File Formats: Radiance, PFM, LogLuv TIFF, OpenEXR
  - HDR Display techniques

Image-Based Lighting - Debevec
  - Capturing Real-World Illumination
  - Illuminating Synthetic Objects With Real Light
  - Rendering Synthetic Objects Into Real Scenes
  - Making "Rendering With Natural Light" and "Fiat Lux"

Part 2: HDR and IBL in Production and Advanced Techniques

HDR and IBL at Industrial Light + Magic - Bogart
  - The OpenEXR File Format
  - Lighting and Modeling With Omnidirectional HDR Imagery
  - What Does 1 Mean?
  - Compositing, Shading, and Painting With Numbers Greater Than 1

Specialized HDRI/IBL Techniques - Debevec
  - Capturing Light Probes That Include the Sun
  - Using IBL in Production - Slides from Dan Lemmon, WETA Digital

HDRI and IBL for X-Men 2 - Vitz
  - Managing Gamma and Color Spaces
  - Mystique effects in X-Men 2
  - Using HDRI on X2
  - Lighting Capture Design Decisions

Image-Based Lighting Real-World Subjects - Debevec
  - Illuminating Real Objects and Faces: Light Stage 1 and 2
  - Lighting Reproduction for Compositing: Light Stage 3

Audience Q&A - Bogart, Ward, Debevec, and Vitz


The course organizers express their sincere thanks to Rick Barry, Alyn Rockwood, April Ramey, Jennifer Anderson, and Ken McGaugh for making this course possible.