Castle: Bryce HDRI background test


Castle:

After using Bryce for years, I had found that its atmospheric model had not much improved and was lacking, especially compared to other software like Terragen.
What was the most annoying to me was that it took enormous efforts to get realistic clouds.
Here is an example of an IBL render with a classic Bryce sky.
This uses an HDR map made with a reflective ball. It is blurry and unusable as a background image.

I then found it was possible to take "normal" digital photographs and turn them into HDR images. Here is a first example.

Castle with HDR skies

The Digital photograph needs to have a sky devoid of any foreign object and located in the middle.

Another example with IBL

The modified sky shots are wide angle and high res (6 Mpix). The HDR images used can thus have very large solutions (2048*2048 pixels).
This is essential or the clouds of the background image are too blurry. 

Castle backlit with IBL

With version 6.1, it is now possible to rotate the HDR image without rotating the whole scene and camera. This way I could position the clouds to get exactly the result I wanted.

Evening skies

Behind the scenes

If you look carefully at the above images, you will find that there is still a slight problem with them.
The Bryce virtual camera was set with a rather wide angle for this scene, whereas the clouds look like they were shot with a small tele. This is because the sky area shown is only a tiny portion of the total photo. I think that using a fisheye lens to take the sky photos would solve this problem.