In this tutorial you can learn how how to set up and light a 3ds max exterior scene with a HDRI Skydome and Corona. While HDRI lighting is simple, there are a few things that might help you get better results.
The VP HDRI Skydomes have a very high dynamic range, which is best to create sharp sun shadows. Also, they have an accurate white balance that will bring convincing and colorful lighting into your scene with a few clicks.
Basically, you just need to follow 2 main steps : First to load the hdri skydome you want to use, and second to adjust camera settings such as exposure and white balance.
(1) Load and adjust the HDRI file
First open the environment and effects panel ( Rendering / Environment .. or shortcut “8” ).
Add an environment map and choose Bitmap. Select your HDRI file.
If you want to get sharper shadows you can change the gamma value to a lower value. Values that usually work good range from 0.7 to 1.0 .
In the coordinates tab of the Bitmap : set the type as Environ, Spherical Environment. Offset allows you to rotate the sky ( 0 being 0 degrees and 1 being 360 degrees, therefore 0.5 would rotate the sky by 180 degrees ).
Until this point we have added the skydome file to our environment which will produce the light. In the next point we will treat the camera settings.
(2) Camera Settings
There are basically two things we want to achieve when setting up the camera: a proper exposure, and an adequate white balance.
To set this up you need to go to the Corona settings tab of the render setup panel and find the Exposure and color mapping tab.
The most important setting is Exposure, a lower value decreases the overall brightness, and higher value increases the brightness. Highlight compression helps you to reduce overbright areas in your render.
Finally, the white balance setup helps you adjusting color values. For most of conditions, a value ranging from 4500 to 6500 should give you best results.
If it is too warm one must decrease the value, and if it is too cold one must increase the value.
Also, sometimes having white areas looking blueish or reddish can lead to a better overall result and is dependant on the mood you try to achieve.
All of the VP HDRI Skydomes include 3ds max scenes with proper light and camera settings for Corona, so you can just go ahead and start rendering your own scene.