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sIBL for Blender - automated HDR environment generation



sIBL GUI is a standalone application for managing a collection of image-based lighting setups in the Smart IBL format. It uses helper scripts to send lighting setups to 3DS Max, Maya, Softimage, and with this new add-on also to Blender!

Kirk Thibault tipped us about this, he writes:

Christian Bloch over at HDR Labs has perfected his sIBL (image based lighting) rig and automated environment set up for Maya and Lightwave over the years and gives away a free HDR lighting environment every month. His latest news post over at HDRLabs gives Blender users something to cheer about - sIBL is now available for Blender.

Cristian Bloch writes:

Thanks to the development efforts of Jed Frechette, Blender users can now enjoy the one-click environment lighting setup that the Smart IBL system is famous for. Integration is done thoroughly, by using sIBL_GUI as browser and central library management hub. If you already use sIBL_GUI in conjunction with 3dsMAX or Maya, the workflow with Blender will be familiar:

  • Pick an environment preset
  • Pick Blender as setup template
  • Click the Send to Software button

Photorealistic lighting (and background integration) couldn't be easier.

This sounds amazing. Who's going to share their images that use this technique?


About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. I'm glad people are finding my little contribution towards simple decent lighting in Blender useful.

    As arenyart notes, getting everything setup right now is a little fiddly but the next release of sIBL GUI will include the Blender template making setup and updates much easier.

    Unfortunately, there are currently no binaries of sIBL GUI for Linux, however, it is a pure Python package and relatively easy to build yourself. See the instructions on Github: Most development and testing of this addon was done on Linux so once you get it working you'll be on the preferred platform. ;-)

    Finally, I'll note that there is also a thread for this addon on Blender Artists:

  2. ok got it to go first first time through with the give away on the isbl website, but how do you get the ibl sets in the gui, tryied for awhile to get them from thier site but could'nt figure it out. i know it's obvious to some,but can't figure it out. cant find enough information out there

  3. From what I'm testing - sIBL is pretty easy to combine with QUIP ( I just get some mapping problems on the grid but else from that it works. Try it, with QUIP it looks the same as on the sIBL website gallery:) I mean the big rock guy with shade on the floor (AO shading is great but with QUIP you get the whole idea of shade fixed)

  4. I don't anticipate having time to do it in the near future, but I suspect it would be fairly straightforward to adapt the basic "Blender Cycles" template to a "Blender QUIP" template that would use the same infrastructure. The modularity is what makes the sIBL GUI approach really nice.

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