I’ve made quite a few geometric changes to my “Parks” Blender scene since the last update, but unfortunately, most of those are not visible in the render camera that I’ve been using to post project updates. I’ve made other changes that are very noticeable however, as you can see here.
In this version of the scene, I’ve replaced the old single-source sun lamp with an HDR environment lighting setup. The result is a much softer look to the light, but also a more realistic color. I’ve greatly reduced the saturation of the background color here as well.
I’m not sure if I’m ready to say this is how the lighting will look from this point forward, as I kind of liked the garish look of the bright blue, and the hard sunlight from before. Still, I think this was an interesting experiment, and may lead to a better lighting setup for this project in the future.
The image data I used to create the HDR lighting can be found at the HDRLabs HDRI archive. I used the one called “Bryant Park”. They’ve got a wonderful collection of HDRI images there, all graciously provided for free. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, I highly recommend it.