Here is the 360° panorama image I have created for the IBL in our scene. It was quite a challenge to put together, for a few reasons. First, we were unable to take our images in the exact location of our origami crane, because we weren’t allowed to shoot on a tripod, let alone try and put one in the water. Secondly, we had to take the images on the little, concrete bridge the crossed the pond. This gave us a large grey area along the bottom of the image, which would have been undesirable for the IBL. This took a little bit of matte painting, taking aspects of various photo and fine use of the clone too, to remove the bridge and give the illusion that it’s shot on top of the water. Lastly, due to most of the environment being organic material like trees, bushes and flowers, which can move around in the wind and tend to be quite complex, it can be hard to line them up perfectly on their seams. I used the program PTGui, a piece of image stitching software. This software speeds up the stitching process drastically, allowing me to make easy adjustments to the positioning of each HDR image. I was then able to touch it up in Photoshop.
Here are the 4 HDRI images I created by converting 3 bracketed images on adobe bridge, using the merge to HDR tool. You can see here how much of the bottom of the image I had to replace, all of the bridge and the foam. The Sky was also too dark so I had replaced it with some bluer patches.
Because the IBL was in a different place to where the CG was going to be placed we were unable to use it to drive the reflections on our water. This was a bit of a shame since our reflections are true to our environment. We ended up having to use the back plate as our reflections, although it looks good, it wasn’t perfect, but there was no other choice.