Lightmap HDR Light Studio for Rhino  Carbon Drop 3


  • Lightmap HDR Light Studio for Rhino - featured
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Create the perfect HDRI environment in minutes with HDR Light Studio. Lighting shots is now fast, precise and easy. Simply click on the model in Rhino to position lights on a live HDRI map.


NOTE: Rhino 6 Compatibility Status
There are bugs/stability issues with Rhino 6 and some of the renderers we support that need fixing before we can release our updated HDR Light Studio connection. We are working with McNeel and other partners on these issues, and we will release our updated connection once these issues have been fixed in publicly available Rhino and renderer releases.

hdr lightstudio rhino
Images lit with HDR Light Studio

HDR Light Studio transforms your Rhino lighting workflow:

  • Studio Lighting
  • Lighting to match a back-plate image
  • Adding lights/adjustments to existing HDRI maps

Key Benefits:

  • Improve Quality
    • Create perfect ‘custom’ HDRI lighting for your shots.
    • Lights can be precisely positioned to enhance a product’s form and materials.
    • Photographic studio light sources bring realism to your images.
  • Fast Lighting Workflow
    • LightPaint – click on the 3D model to position lights on the HDRI map.
    • Light directly on the camera view without navigating in 3D to position lights.
    • HDRI map containing all lights will render faster than individual 3D lights.

Key Features:

  • LightPaint – click/drag on the 3D render to position lights
  • Create and edit HDRI maps in real-time
  • Procedural lights, image based lights and procedural sky
  • Includes a large library of HDRI light source captures
  • HDR Light Studio project is stored in the Rhino scene file


hdr light studio rhino

How does HDR Light Studio work with Rhino?

The model has materials assigned, the camera view is setup, you are now ready to light…

  • Start HDR Light Studio from the Rhino environment
  • Load an existing HDRI map to edit, or start with a blank canvas
  • Add a new lights in HDR Light Studio
  • Click on the 3D model in Rhino to position lights
  • To finish, HDR Light Studio generates a high-res HDRI map for the Rhino environment
  • The Rhino scene is now ready for final rendering

HDR Light Studio for Rhino is compatible with these renderers: Rhino Render, Brazil, Neon, Octane, V-Ray.

A full version of HDR Light Studio is required to run a Connection.  The purchased connection must be the same variation as the main HDR Light Studio (ie. If a permanent license, must purchase permanent connection, or a floating license must purchase a floating connection).

Connection Features

Shared Map

HDR Light Studio's environment map (canvas) is shared with the environment map of the supported renderers in Rhino. During the lighting process a lower resolution map is used for interactive speed. For the final production rendering in Rhino3D - a full resolution, high dynamic range image is generated and passed through the connection.

Click to Light

Purchasing a connection allows artists to click on the model within Rhino viewports to position lights on the map.

Render Support

Supported renderers: Rhino Render, Brazil, Neon, Octane, V-Ray
Thea Render support also expected soon

Embedded Projects

The HDR Light Studio lighting project is embedded within the Rhino scene file. So the scene lighting can be reloaded and edited in the future.


Bringing HDR Light Studio directly into your Rhino lighting workflow can save time to light, increase image quality, improve creative control and reduce final render times.


What's new in Carbon Drop 3, released July, 2018.

Enhanced Presets System
In Carbon Drop 3, Presets have undergone a massive overhaul, expanding to include more lighting ingredient types than ever before. We have made lighting shots faster by developing a ‘Save your own Presets’ feature, which means your favorite lighting settings can be stored, dragged and dropped in an instant,  allowing for even more creativity and exploration in your lighting.

New Preset Types Explained:

Rigs are entire lighting designs containing multiple lights. They provide all the benefits of off the shelf static HDRI maps, but without the limitations. Everything is editable in HDR Light Studio, the rig is a starting point and the lighting can be properly crafted to suit your shot. HDR Light Studio ships with a collection of lighting rigs for you to explore. Rigs are a great way of seeing what is possible when using HDR Light Studio.

The Drag and drop Content Presets change the visual appearance of an existing light without changing its master and transform properties. The ability to easily switch the appearance of a light allows you to explore different lighting set-ups with speed and simplicity. In HDR Light Studio, there are 6 types of Content, and therefore, 6 types of Content Presets to choose from including BoxGrads, Bulbs, Flats, Gradients, Images, and Skies.

Elements can be dragged and dropped onto your Content settings to update them in an instant. For example, if you drag and drop a Preset Value Ramp or Color Ramp onto a Gradient’s properties you can see the results you want much faster rather than building the ramps one peg at a time, every time.

Saving Presets
A major new feature we have added is the save your own User Presets: Rigs, Lights, Content, and Elements. A time-saving feature that allows your favorite lighting settings to be readily available to drag and drop, and try out in an instant. The Rigs, for example, are not limited to storing entire lighting setups; if you happen to have a small collection of light sources that you use on most projects, you can store them in a rig and drag and drop the rig to add lights instantly to your current project.

You can now use Presets to organize the HDRI maps you have purchased into a library inside HDR Light Studio. This means they will always be on hand to try regardless of the 3D software you use HDR Light Studio with. We have also stored User Presets separately from the Lightmap supplied Presets, so you can save User Presets on a ‘per client’ or ‘per project’ basis.

More Preset Content
Carbon Drop 3 includes an array of additional preset content, including Backdrop Scoops and Coves, Light Tent, LightPaint Trails, Masks, Lit Tracing Paper, and many more.

New Octane Standalone Connection
We have received numerous requests to create a connection for Octane Standalone to use alongside HDR Light Studio. Users love the speed, flexibility, and stability of using Octane Standalone and we are pleased to include this new connection in Carbon Drop 3. The connection is very fast and supports both live HDRI map and Area Light creation and control. Octane Render view is hosted within HDR Light Studio, allowing you to paint lights directly on the final render with fast intuitive feedback. 

Updated Houdini Connection
The Houdini connection has been updated to support creation and control of area lights, and we have now included support for Redshift.

Updated 3ds Max Connection
The 3ds Max Connection now supports V-Ray Next.

We are really excited and proud of Carbon Drop 3, and we cannot wait to hear your thoughts and see the incredible work that will be created now it is in your hands. Share your creations with us via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Behance for your chance to be featured.

How do I get Carbon Drop 3?

If you’re an existing HDR Light Studio subscription or maintenance customer, the release is all yours. Simply log in to your account and download now.

If your subscription or maintenance has lapsed you can renew online now. Alternatively, you can take a fully functional 15-day trial or buy here at Toolfarm.

Customer licenses will run any build of HDR Light Studio up to and including the version date as shown in the License Management dialogue. All subscription customers can run the latest releases. Customers with permanent licenses get 1 year of updates from the date of purchase, then need to renew their maintenance to update the version dates in their license files.

What's new in Carbon Drop 2?


Photographic Exposure Stops
New buttons have been added to the brightness slider. They provide a more photographic approach to adjusting the light brightness. They work by adjusting the brightness relative to its current value. So you can double, halve, increase by 1/3 or decrease by 1/3. This is a really useful addition when an art director wants a light brightening by 1 stop for example. (Double the brightness).

Light Property: Value Blend
Value Blend has been added to the Light Properties panel. It allows blending of the luminosity values from a secondary piece of content with the primary light content. It provides a way to tweak the visual character of a light source. For example, adding a hot spot into an existing softbox, or graduating the light brightness across your light. It can also be used to clamp the brightness within an image, for example clamping the brightness of the sun in an HDRI map.

  • Content types for Value Blend are: Image, Gradient, Flat and the new Box Gradient
  • Blend Modes for Value Blend are: Add, Multiply, Over, Low Pass and Amplify

New Content Type: Box Gradient
Box Gradient is a really useful new content type in HDR Light Studio. It blends a vertical and horizontal ramp. It’s perfect for softening edges or creating a light with a really interesting character that will enhance your reflections. It is perfect to use on Alpha Multiply or the new Value Blend.

All Lights are now Uber Lights
When we released HDR Light Studio version 5, we made it easy to use, so the toolbar created simple lights with fewer settings. But many users don’t take advantage of converting them to Uber Lights that provide far more flexibility and creative options. So in this release, all lights are now created as Uber Lights, which include the Alpha Multiply and Value Blend settings.

Region Zoom on the Render View
A tool has been added to the toolbar on the Render View (HDR Light Studio) for region zoom. This was available previously only as a keyboard shortcut. Region zoom is great for positioning lights accurately on small details within the shot.

Light List Buttons Behaviour
Using the buttons on a light in the Light List (on/off, solo, etc) no longer selects the light. It was common for a user to turn off a light and not expect it to be selected, and move a newly hidden light by accident for example. The new behavior avoids this problem.

Color Coded Light Properties
With the addition of the new Value Blend on the Light Properties panel, it was easy to confuse which properties you were editing. We have color coded each light property section making it easier to navigate the properties panel.

Production Render Speed Improvements
Big performance increase with production renders containing lights using gradient ramps (which is many light types), especially large lights. Additionally, lighting designs containing many small lights will see significant render speeds too, with smarter use of render threads.

LUT Control for Preset Panel
The Presets panel now has a LUT drop down to view the presets with correct color space.
Presets Panel also provides links to download Preset lights and Installation instructions if presets are missing.

Other changes

  • New Maya Connection Interface – Shelf Buttons replace the Panel
  • 3ds Max 2019 Connection release
  • MODO 12 Connection release
  • DeltaGen 2018x and DeltaGen Stage 2018x Connection release


What's New in Carbon:

Faster Area Lights

Area Lights performance has been significantly improved in HDR Light Studio’s own 3D renderer. Area Lights are now created, adjusted and soloed instantly – even when loading huge 3D scenes. This inbuilt renderer is the perfect pre-vis lighting tool when IPR updates are too slow in the connected 3D renderer.

3ds Max and Maya Connection Workflow Improvements

  • HDR Light Studio is now even easier to use with 3ds Max and Maya. The plug-in now creates the lighting setup for you – simply press Start and begin image based lighting. Bringing the 3D scene into HDR Light Studio is also a click away – press Play and the scene will be automatically imported.

Cinema 4D Connection Improvements

  • Redshift and VRAYforC4D 3 now fully supported
  • Press play in HDR Light Studio to import the Cinema 4D scene

Additional Improvements:

  • HiDPI display support
  • LightWave 2018 Connection support
  • Change the diffuse color in the Render View (HDR Light Studio)
  • Major speed boost to production renders containing Procedural Sky
  • Easier client setup with floating licenses
  • Now includes a selection of demo scenes
  • HDR Light Studio interface layout is stored on a ‘per connection’ basis. Ensuring a preferred interface layout is loaded when using HDR Light Studio with different 3D software.

Connections - Compatibility Chart

More Info - Click to Download PDF

lightmap compatibility chart

Rhino 6 Compatibility Status
There are bugs/stability issues with Rhino 6 and some of the renderers we support that need fixing before we can release our updated HDR Light Studio connection. We are working with McNeel and other partners on these issues, and we will release our updated connection once these issues have been fixed in publicly available Rhino and renderer releases.


  • Software delivery via internet download
  • Internet connection required for license activation
  • HDR Light Studio software requires approx. 200MB disc space
  • Preset light content requires approx. 7 GB disc space
  • CPU based, no special graphics card required
  • Compatible with Rhino 5 (Windows only)

HDR Light Studio for Rhino is compatible with these renderers: Rhino Render, Brazil, Neon, Octane, V-Ray.

Please ensure you are running the latest build of V-Ray for Rhino 2.0

Please contact sales@toolfarm.com for special bundle pricing if you would like to use HDR Light Studio with additional 3D software - i.e Maya, 3ds Max, MODO, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maxwell Studio, VRED, Rhino, SOLIDWORKS Visualize, DeltaGen.

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