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  • Rence Delino

New in Seahaven: Realistic HDRI backgrounds

There’s a great new feature available now in Seahaven: realistic HDRI background controls.

HDRI images are a powerful way to utilize great photorealistic imagery. Traditionally, HDRI images are used as a lighting source, but we have added additional controls to use your HDRIs as backgrounds and composite your 3D assets into the images. Now you can use HDRIs to quickly generate photorealistic synthetic data.

How HDRI backgrounds work

HDRI images are traditionally mapped to a sphere and are very useful in providing realistic lighting and reflections from real-world contexts.

However, mapping onto a sphere can sometimes produce unrealistic effects, leaving objects floating in space or appearing out of scale.

To give our users more control over how these HDRIs are mapped to your environment we added a few new options to our HDRI loader module.

In addition to being able to select from a set of pre-populated HDRI types, you can now project the lower half of the sphere to the ground plane. This helps overcome many of the issues associated with spherical projection, such as floating or out of scale items.

We also added a height parameter. Height refers to the height of the camera when the HDRI was captured. Most HDRI images are taken between 2 and 3 meters off the ground. You can adjust this parameter to reduce distortion around the horizon which might appear if your camera moves too high above eye level in the z axes.

To help you on your path experimenting with these features we have prepared a sample configuration to get you started.

Please note that the size of the HDRI will influence your output. For example, in this demonstration, we have used a set of HDRI images called “skies.” These images are typically sampled from wide open spaces with few obstructions.

Other collections, such “as indoor,” will be representative of tighter spaces. If you place your 3D assets far away from the camera, the resulting images will not be perfectly composited. Please be mindful of this when you build relationships and select your collections.

If you have any issues adapting this sample to your needs our team of engineers would be happy to work with you! Reach out at

If successful your output will look similar to this.

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