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HDR Skies in motion

Welcome to 3dskies!

Our first HDR Timelapse Sky is available for testing. We are offering a full set of 870 sequential panoramic HDR sky images for free!

While we get our webshop ready, we are very curious to hear your opinion on the quality and usability of our first product and would love to see what you can do with it!

The movie on the right is rendered with 3dsmax and Vray without any effects or post-processing. If the video does not play smoothly in your browser, just download it by right-clicking it.

What are HDR Timelapse Skies?

Image based lighting has become the standard in architectural and product visualisation.
With this rendering technique a HDR spherical image is used to simulate highly detailed real world lighting, reflections and backgrounds.
It brings a high degree of realism to renderings and is easy to set up.

Instead of taking just one HDR Image, we experimented capturing large sequences of HDR Skies in order to reproduce spatially varying lighting conditions and complex cloud formations and movements in rendered timelapse animations.

What makes our skies unique?

We have focused our efforts into optimizing the method of capturing and processing flicker-free, unclamped, full dynamic range HDR material with in high resolution. Like in timelapse photography the framerate of captured images has to be high enough for clouds to move slowly and smoothly. We are proud to say that we achieved a far higher framerate than any other spherical HDR sky product we know.

How to use them?

Almost every rendering software offers some kind of image based lighting. The basic idea is to load sequential HDR images frame by frame into the texture of a spherical light source. As a result, lighting, reflections and background change synchronously.

So far we have been testing this using 3dsmax and Vray…



This first HDR Timelapse Sky consists of 880 individual single frames. For an animation with 30 FPS, two hours of real time are compressed into 26 seconds.

Dynamic Range and Brightness

The full dynamic range of the real sky and its brightest point, the sun, is covered. Up to 26 EV’s.
There is no need to tweak the gamma value in order to get crisp shadows. The level of brightness is the same as in a real environment, which makes it easy to apply physical camera settings or to switch between a procedural sky and our 3dskies HDR Timelapse Sky without adjusting exposure.


Each Frame is roughly 10.000 by 5000 pixels. The maximum resolution for a rendering depends on the viewing angle of the camera in the 3D scene.
For a standard wide angle lens with a horizontal viewing angle of 90 degrees, (Focal Length: 18mm, Film Width: 36mm, Film Height: 24mm), a quarter of the dome texture would be visible.
That makes the background look sharp for a video with a maximal horizontal resolution of 2500 pixels, which is more than enough to render in Full HD.

Clean horizon line

The horizon line is clean of elements like trees, buildings and other elements. Therefore all skies are site unspecific and applicable in any context.

Light direction

The sun is horizontally centered on the equirectangular HDR Map at the beginning of the captured sequence. This makes it easy to switch between different skies while the direction of the light stays the same.


Each Open Exr File has about 50MB which makes 40GB for the whole sequence.
Make sure you have enough space on a hard drive and allow a night for downloading.

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