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HDRi Lighting with LightWave

For this tutorial you need basic knowledge of building materials and geometries

Please all full or partial copies of this tutorial on other websites, digital or printed form without permission is prohibited. You can put a direct link to this webedes poner un enlace que dirija a esta web

1.- Sets the scene

To begin this tutorial you only need to put in the scene geometry (cube, sphere, etc) and a plane that serves as ground to see the shadows cast by the HDR


or better if you download the scene that I have prepared for this tutorial.

Las descargas que necesitas son:

Once you create your own scene or if you downloaded that we have prepared the scene opens with LightWave Layout.


2.- Make Maxwell Render and rendering engine

In the LightWave Layout go to Edit > Edit Menu Layout… or *F10 keys (Alt + F10), you will Configure Menus window

In the column Menus, Main Menu drop down, you’re doing right click on the Render row and you click on Import Branch


In the window that appears find and open the file MaxwellMenuBranch.cfg is usually in the folder plugins / Maxwell where LightWave installed. Accepts changes to the Done button.


The following options appear in the Maxwell Render tab (Render, Render Options, …… etc.)


3.- Camera Options Maxwell Render

Go to Windows > Render Globals… or keys ^P (Control+P), a window appears with options render in the same window go to the Cameras tab, choose from the drop down bar MaxwellCamera automatically opens another window with the properties of the Maxwell camera if you do not open, you hit the properties button


In that window are the common options of any 3D camera (Focal Length, Focus Distance, Exposure Mode, Shutter Speed, F-Stop, EV, ISO, … etc).

Learn how to set these parameters in the tutorial “Parameters of the cameras and photographic settings“, you will also not only serve to 3d cameras but also with the real world..

In Render Globals window go to the Lights tab and uncheck all boxes in the Basic tab.

4.- Add lighting Radiance (HDRi)

Click on Render Options, then Maxwell Render Options window appears, go to the tab where you will IBL HDR. Check the Use Environment box, hit the button and find the HDRi Image.

Como iluminar con HDRi en LightWave y Maxwell Render - Agrega Radiance (HDRi)

5.- Render test

Click on Render. New window (Maxwell Render) opens with many parameters as the engine is not built to Maxwell LightWave, the render is complete when the bar is filled with yellow and shows 100%.


As you see it has gone fuzzy (out of focus) and the missing render reflections in the next step will solve that. Closes the Maxwell Render program.

6.- Add reflections Radiance (HDRi)

Back to Maxwell Render Options window in step 4, take the opportunity to change the direction of the lighting, change the Offset U to 180.0, this makes the HDRi rotate 180 ° horizontally.

To add a reflection choose Edit Channel the Reflection option, click on the Image button and find the HDRi with the appropriate resolution for reflections. Like put Illumination 180 ° to it also changes the Offset U to 180.0, so we both lighting and reflection with the same degrees.

Como iluminar con HDRi en LightWave y Maxwell Render – Agrega HDRi para reflejos

7.- Increases quality render

As you saw in the test render quality was not very good, so you have to change these default values, in the same window Maxwell Render Options go to the Generic tab and Render Time increases to 150 with the value you are saying that the render has a duration of 50 minutes maximum, increases the Sampling Level 16, ie is to tell how many interactions will take place in the calculation of the light to find the right solution.

When calculating the render it will start up to one of the 2 values ​​that we have introduced so complete stop even missing in the other.

Iluminar con HDR en LightWave y Maxwell Render - Aumenta la calidad de render

8.- Change the DOF (Depth of field)

Revisit the Maxwell camera options: Windows > Render Globals… or keys ^P (Control-P) in the DOF tab, change the Focal Distance to 412 m, this means that the dotted lines are superimposed on the 3D model we want to focus on. That is, while the more distant the object the dotted lines will be more blurred and conversely those that are closer to the dotted lines will be more crisp.

changes the height of the image to render at 419

Como iluminar con HDRi en LightWave y Maxwell Render – Modifica el DOF Depth of Field Profundidad de Campo

Learn more about these camera options in the tutorial “parameters of the cameras and photographic settings” or how to expand the depth of field? in the tutorial “How to extend the depth of field in your pictures

Final Render



Default gamma 2.2

By default, the Maxwell is installed and configured to save rendering in gamma 2.2. Check it out in the Maxwell Render Options window, the Generic tab at the bottom of the window is Gamma

Image without depth of field

Maxwell used the camera as a real camera so it is inevitable that some objects often blurred out because of the depth of field. To correct the blur you should apply a technique called stacking Focus (Stacking approaches or bracketing Focus) which consists of a sequence of renders changing the Focal Distance and then coupling said render into one showing the right of each focus. To know more about visit the following tutorial: Extends the depth of field of your images – Focus Stacking.

Change Settings from the window of Maxwell Render

One of the advantages of the Maxwell, is that if you change the Resolution measures, Time, SL, F-STOP, save the render is made from the same window Maxwell Render without returning to LightWave, but even better while making calculation of render can change the Shutter Speed ​​and the next SL you visualize and even when it has finished rendering 100% also change the Shutter Speed ​​and save, this saves much time not having to re-render if you have to change the exposure.


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