Download

Advanced HDRi bakground tool + 64 HDRi collection

Hi all!

I have almost finished a tool to place easily use HDRi background in a very fast and efficient way, and better than UE Backdrops.

Marketplace link: https://www.unrealengine.com/marketp…ackground-tool

comparison_3.jpg

You can place HDRi backgrounds as usual (a spherical background and your objects floating in the center), or as a HDRi studio set, having a floor and being able to cast shadows (this second option is similar to UE Backdrops, but my tool also casts and shows direct shadows from the SkyLight and it’s capable of showing ray traced Global Illumination too). Both modes, since UE v4.23, allows you to rotate the Sky light and update at the same time the rotation of the background to fit the same orientation. Besides, you can select Reflection Captures you want to also have the same rotation than Sky and background, so the tool will warn you if your designed Reflection Captures are no more on the same orientation or with the same HDR image, after you have made any change on the Sky. (It was not possible to update Reflection Captures automatically, as the rest, as you can’t access the parameters from blueprints, but at least it will check the state of the Sky (current Cubemap and current Angle and will show you a warning message if they are not the same).

In addition, I have included a 64 royalty free 4k HDRi library in the pack, so with both things you will be able to fastly try and set HDRi backgrounds on the fly.

HighresScreenshot00000.jpg

So:

  • HDRi background tool: classic “levitating” spherical or real floor.
  • Casting and showing “direct” shadows comming from the HDR cubemap of the Sky.
  • Allowing and showing ray traced Global Illumination.
  • HDRi pivot/vanishing point selection: centered to camera or an specified one.
  • Button to refresh the background and syncronize with the Sky’s HDR image and the rotation angle of the Sky. From v4.23, included an Editor Widget to automatically syncronize the background with the Sky, without needing to manually press the refresh button.
  • No need to install any plugin.
  • 64 royalty free 4k HDR no-blurry images to drag & drop. (Credits to hdrihaven.com)
  • Compatible with versions previous to UE 4.23 too.

A fast example of settings and capabilities:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=1X_ZctNMVgA

Comments are really welcome! Thanks!

Updated information of first post, as I initially thought that UE backdrops were casting and showing direct shadows from its internal SkyLight, but it doesn’t! (And my tool yes, so is even better, now :D).

Added too the possibility os showing Global Illumination too. Using some tricks, but perfectly working as expected:

For more details, these are both scenes:


Scene using UE Backdrop. Not showing “direct” shadows nor ray traced Global Illumination, even if it’s enabled. (No SkyLight in the scene, as Backdrops already include one inside them).


Same scene using my “HDRi background tool”, with the same post process settings but showing “direct” shadows from the HDR sky image and ray traced Global Illumination. (SkyLight not included inside the tool, so you can use the one placed on your scene and easily customize it).

Best regards!

Sent to be approved!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSfjN-m7gsI

This looks cool! I currently love the HDRI Backdrop addition, although it seems to come with some limitations - having someone create an improved version is huge!

Quick question: what’s the deal with the backdrop skylight? In terms of baking - with the backdrop it comes in as a dynamic light and when I switch to static/stationary it doesn’t bake - is it possible to take advantage of the multi bounce skylight settings in lightmass and have a fully static/stationary scene with your tool? (I know you enabled Raytraced GI which is awesome, but what about for optimised projects? I was thinking of using HDRI backdrops with interior VR architectural scenes, but it seems the standard epic backdrop only allows for a dynamic skylight.

Would you consider adding a “Bake Skydome” feature? I understand the UV wrapping of this backdrop is dynamic based on the camera projection center - but I’d really love to be able to bring these scenes out of UE4 and showcase them on the web on platforms like Sketchfab.

I think it would be great if we could export the HDRI skydome geometry with UV’s so the groundplane e.t.c works in other 3D software, is this possible?

Thank you @Kogoshi !

About your first question, I thought I shown it on the video I uploaded, but I didn’t! I thought it as a demo video of the main capabilities, however, you are right, I have included a mode to work with backed shadows! You can see it a very little in minute 1:50, but I didn’t show the result, which is included inside the package in a demo level. Here you are (all Static and/or Stationary lights):

About your second question: well, it’s not only centered to the camera; you can also center it to the World Location you want. That would work for you in UE, but if you export it outside, probably it won’t respect the material of the Sky Dome and you will lose that “center point”. Consider that if you are not looking from that specific point, the image will be distorted as many as you go away from that point. If for your idea exporting the Dome it’s ok with that behaviour, I’m thinking in a possible way of doing it to work when exported too, but centered to that specific point in the space (but you could move the dome to place it on the point of your “camera”. What do you think?).

If it’s approved to be in the marketplace (it is almost, but I have been asked to correct a little thing), I will look for that option too for the next update :slight_smile:

Thank you and best regards!

That’s great news! I’ll definitely be buying this - if you check out this car configurator, do you think it would be possible to export a baked/mapped HDRI-Dome like what’s made with this? - https://chevrolet.alghandi.com/new-vehicles/camaro-2019/ (scroll down and click view experience).

If my idea works, yes, that’s exactly what I had in mind! (Clearly it’s a Dome with the HDRi applied, so you will notice the “deformation” when you go far from the center, however the distance you can go far has been limited to make the deformation almost imperceptible, just as I thought it would work if I can do it as I’m thinking about).

But, better, you can wait until I confirm that I have achieved it before buying! I have made a fast test right now and I think I have achieved it, however it will need more tests to ensure that it works properly, maybe during next week. Please, could you explain me how can I test it by myself in an external software? Do you know if that software will respect material “attributes” of the Unreal material, or will it only take the maps and anything more like node’s multipliers, UVs offset, etc? Or won’t it import the Unreal material and you are talking about firstly importing the mesh and then creating and applying a new material, all inside that external software but simply applying only the texture exported from Unreal?

Thank you and regards!

Tool already available on the Marketplace!: https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/64-hdri-pack-adv-hdri-background-tool

Thank you to the Epic Team too!

From some days ago, it’s also compatible with the new UE4.24.

With external web-based apps, like Sketchfab for example, you wouldn’t be able to link any advanced material settings, only flat maps - So there will be distortion, but you can lock the camera in Sketchfab to the origin - I’m not sure if zooming in/out will affect it though.

The car configurator I linked before seems to handle it pretty well, any way we can export something like that?

But yeah I’d try and see if you can create a solution for Sketchfab since that’s the leading WebGL platform and a lot of artists showcase their work there - baked backdrops/AO/Shadows from an UE4 Scene that exports simple materials to Sketchfab would be great (Marmoset Viewer is used a lot for portfolios also)

Hi @Kogoshi ,

Thank you for the extra details. I will investigate it, then. If you can reply me before I do it, have you tried exporting any static mesh (with a material commonly applied) from Unreal and using it on that platforms? I’m trying to know if, when you export a mesh from Unreal, it keeps, at least, the texture of the material. If not… it would be a ‘limitation’ of the Engine and I couldn’t do anything.

And which kind of file do they read? FBX?

Regards!

Hi! sorry I didn’t get back to you, haven’t used Unreal in a few months!

I’ve never sent anything directly from UE4 to Sketchfab, I don’t think there’s a plugin for it!

Essentially I think if you can devise some way to “bake” the UV’s of the HDRI Backdrop so you can export the backdrop mesh and just apply the HDRI yourself in external software, that would solve part of the problem.

Having the procedural camera movement change the horizon blending isn’t going to be possible, but with a centered camera being the default with most WebGL apps - that alone would be a great feature!

PS to all: tool at 50% off on the Marketplace’s flash sale!

Hi @Kogoshi !

Don’t worry, me too.

Well, after researching a little, I have seen it’s not possible to bake this kind of “floating” material.

About doing it in an external software, however, I think it’s relatively easy: you simply import the Dome in the software and add spherical texture coordinates to it and, then, the texture-material itself. In addition, doing it manually in two minutes would allow you to specifically place the point of view of the perspective (placing the center of the spherical UVs projection) where you want, so I think it has not much to do on my tool, I’m sorry, what do you think?

Best regards!

Hey , i just bought your plugin , and i cannot find a way to scale the hdri map , in hdri backdrop it was simple, you just scale the sphere and thats it, but here its locked , and even if you scale it , it does not change the way the cubemap looks. Could you help me with this one ?

Hi @chytautas ,

Of course! You can change the size of the sphere/dome modifying the public parameter of my blueprint called “Scale”. Maybe you haven’t seen it because you must clic on the little arrow on the Details tab and it’s a little hidden. On the video, at right, on the Details tab you can see where the Scale parameter is.

Hope it helps,
Thank you and best regards!

I am looking for a backdrop to use in an oculus quest app. The default backdrop plugin does somehow not work with VR. It just crashes on start.
Does your tool work with mobile VR devices?

Hi @Evil_Fischi ,

I haven tried it yet in a VR mobile device, sorry! I think it should work, as it’s a common blueprint, however, maybe the mobile app crashes because of the kind of material using on the UE4 Backdrop dome, in which case, mine could crash too, as it uses a similar material (unlit, in a part). I think the UE Backdrop may be crashing because it requires to have the plugin installed, etc, and my tool doesn’t need any plugin, but I don’t know if the cause of your crash may be another one, affecting my tool too. Sorry for not being more helpful, as I can’t test it in any mobile device.

Thank you for your interest and best regards!

Is it possible to use an EXR image sequence as backdrop / HDRI?

Hi @aliasense ,

Do you mean an high dynamic range video? or a sequence of a lot of EXR images?

Anyway, I don’t think so, as it uses a material with a texture for the background and a cube texture (HDR/EXR) for the sky light as source of lighting, so it will work as sky-light usually works, and as materials usually work. It would need to have a custom blueprint to manage and update every image on every frame/tick. But tell me more, please. Maybe in a future, it can be done.

Best regards