Loading the shader and an environment map:
- Enable Cycles.
- Press Shift+F1.
- Navigate to the “EasyEnvironmentLighting.blend”, open it and then open the folder “World”.
- Choose “EasyEnvironmentLighting_World”.
- Open the Node Editor and choose the world notes.
- Choose “EasyEnvironmentLighting_World”, again.
- Load an environment map ending in .jpg or .png.
- Sun Level: This slider defines which areas are considered as “Sun”. Increase the value and more areas are affected by “Sun Brightness”.
- Sun Brightness: This slider increases the brightness of the sun and therefore increases the contrast of the environment map. Use it to make shadows smooth (low brightness) or sharp (high brightness).
- Ambient Brightness: This slider controls the brightness of everything except the sun.
- Colorize Strength: Controls how much the color of the environment map is affected by the colors defined below (Colorize, Colorize Shadows, Colorize Midtones, Colorize Highlights)
- Colorize: Choose a color to colorize the whole image.
- Colorize Shadows: Choose a color to colorize the shadows (overwrites Colorize).
- Colorize Midtones: Choose a color to colorize the midtones (overwrites Colorize).
- Colorize Highlights: Choose a color to colorize the highlights (overwrites Colorize).
- Saturation: Control the saturation of the environment map.
- Ground Blackout: This slider adds a black ground to the environment map in case only sky lighting is needed.
Creating Environment Maps with Photosphere (Android):
- Open the camera app.
- Choose Photosphere (or similar option).
- Set the desired resolution under options.
- Take photos.
- Wait for the app to create the environment map.
- Open the environment map in an image editing program like Photoshop, Krita or GIMP.
- Add a black fill layer with 5% opacity on top of the environment map.
- Use a black brush on the layer mask to retain the brightness of the sun (This tells the shader which part of the image is the “sun”).
- Post process the image and save it as a .jpeg or .png.
- Load the environment as explained above.