Where to download Free HDRI Sky Maps?

High Dynamic Range Images are an important tool for photographers and graphic designers. They help you create more realistic images by providing a greater range of tones and colors. There are many HDRI sky maps available online, but it can be difficult to find ones that are high quality and free to download. In this blog post, we will share some of our favorite sources for free HDRI sky maps.

What is an HDRI Sky Map?

An HDRI sky map is a high-resolution image that can be used to create realistic sky backgrounds in 3D applications. These maps are usually created by photographing the sky with a special camera that captures a much wider range of light than a traditional camera. This allows for more realistic lighting and shadows in 3D scenes.

There are many websites where you can download free HDRI sky maps. Some of the most popular include HDRI Haven, Openfootage, and FreeHDRI.

How to Use an HDRI Sky Map

If you're not familiar with HDRI or high-dynamic range images, they are simply images that contain a lot of information in the highlights and shadows. This makes them ideal for use in 3D applications, where you can use them to light your scene.

There are many places to download free HDRI sky maps, but one of the best is HDRI Haven. This site offers a large selection of high-quality HDRIs for free, and there's no registration required.

Once you've downloaded an HDRI map, sometimes you'll need to unzip it. Most HDRI maps come in .hdr or .exr formats, both of which can be opened with most image editing programs.

Once you have the map open in your image editor, take a look at the levels. You'll want to make sure the map is well exposed, as underexposed HDRIs can cause banding artifacts in your renders. If the map is too dark, try increasing the exposure until it looks right.

Once you're happy with the exposure, it's time to load the map into your 3D application. For this tutorial, we'll be using Blender 3.3's new Cycles engine, but the process should be similar in other applications.

  1. Open World Properties
  2. Find Surface row
  3. Click on Yellow Dot at Color label
  4. Choose Environment Texture
  5. Click on Open button and load HDRI map from your drive

5 Free HDRI Sky Maps sources

If you're looking for some free HDRI (High Dynamic Range Image) sky maps to use in your 3D renders, then look no further! Here are five great sources where you can download free HDRI sky maps:

1. HDRI Haven: This website offers a collection of over 500 free HDRI maps, all of which are available in both low and high resolution.

2. Free HDR Sky: This website offers a selection of free HDR sky maps, all of which are available in both low and high resolution.

3. HDR Labs: This website offers a selection of free HDR sky maps, all of which are available in both low and high resolution.

4. Viz-People: This website offers a selection of mostly paid HDR sky maps, but there is one well known free pack with 10 free hdri skies to download
5. HDRMAPS: All hdri maps are offered as a free in 2K resolution, but there is also a Freebies section, but it requires reigstration

How to create your own HDRI Sky Map

If you're looking to add some extra realism to your renders, one way is to use an HDRI sky map. This can be a tricky thing to create yourself, but with some patience and the right software, it's definitely possible!

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to create your own HDRI sky map:

  1. Use DSLR camera that has bracketing mode
  2. You would need Fisheye lens and panoramic head. All together calibrated around nadir point
  3. Use ND32 filter for sunny day
  4. Use remote shutter release cable
  5. Shoot some scener
  6. Stitch it together in PTGui
  7. Fix nadir using stamp clone tool in Affinity Photo or in Photoshop


There are many great free HDRI sky maps available for download online. However, it is important to make sure that you download the maps from a reputable source. Some sites may offer maps that are of lower quality or have been modified without permission from the original author. To avoid these problems, we recommend only downloading HDRI sky maps from trusted sources.

Published Date: 2022-10-23