After a long wait on your side, I finally released my second HDRI Texture pack: HDRI Collection 2 - Gradients for perfect CGI lighting.
Our goal as CG Artist is - besides having a great art style and interesting content - to achieve photorealism and in the case of product or automotive renderings we want to have full control over our lighting to bring out the form of the subject in the most beautiful way. In real-life photography as in CGI you will achieve this by using gradients in your reflections. They define the shape and make the material apparent: Having a sharp reflection with a soft gradient on one side looks appealing to the eye as well as making it clear, that the objects material is reflective and glossy.
For years I used to spice up my CG lighting by going away from using plain white rectangular lights to creating softboxes and gradients with a gradient ramp and then later the VraySoftbox map. Its a great tool, if you are using v-ray, to quickly use gradients for automotive and product renderings! I highly recommend using it. I began to combine my custom gradients with a base map, mostly a softbox hdri texture from my HDRI Collection 1 - Studio Lights, Lamps and Softboxes
As a Digital Creator I realised that not every 3D software of rendering engine has the same feature as V-Ray. Maverick Renderer introduced a great gradient light tool and V-Ray is extremely popular. But e.g. VRED doesnt have any procedural way to generate gradients and others like Octane or Corona can only use simple procedural gradients.
The difference between a perfect gradient and a real photostudio gradient are the burned spots, the highlights, the imperfections and these make the difference in your lighting and the photorealism in the end!
It is also a quite some work to create gradients that are not plain and simple white-to-black ones. You probably want to use a ramp that starts strong at the top and dark at the bottom while still having a constant gradient to the right or left; then you probably want a hotspot of light at the top or at the most left or right to spice things up. If you then want some imperfections in it to bring out the most realistic small details in your lighting, you already have several layers on top of each other and it can become complicated.
That´s why I created the HDRI Collection 2: Gradients and I myself am using them now instead of custom made procedural softbox textures. Why? Because its easy: Just plug them into your light, dial in the right multiplier value and you are set. I took all the hard work from your hands so you can concentrate on awesome lighting.
These textures are handmade and I put a lot of thought into them: What would you need to light a car, a bottle or anything else to make the product shine? Perfect gradients for the times when your client is REALLY picky about the look. Imperfect when you can go all the way to achieve photorealism. Softboxes, ring lights, hard gradients, soft gradients, short and long, round ones, rectangular ones. You will have 40 unique ones in two variations so there is more than enough that you could wish for. I even through in a studio lighting HDR panorama in different variations so can get beautiful lighting in seconds!
And if you wish for anything, please let me know. Communication with the community and to help you out is my first and foremost goal.
And if you need a little more spice, a little more color variation, a little more imperfection in your reflections and shadows, a little more photorealism - check out my HDRI Collection 1 - Studio Lights, Lamps and Softboxes or buy the bundle HDRI Collection Bundle - 2 in 1 plus Extras! to save big time and get even more gradients and a few variations on another (one with variations is included in each collection) HDRI 360 Degree Studio Lighting Panorama for your dev look or final render.
BTW, the visualisation of this cola bottle is also done with my HDRI Collection. It would need a ittle more work for a proper commercial, but if you like the water drops, check out the free sample too!