HowTo: Use Autodesk MAYA and RICOH THETA HDRI Files for Accurate Light and Reflection

Update Oct 29, 2018

Now with detailed YouTube video showing all the steps outlined in this article plus:

  • screencast of using Luminance HDR
  • shutter speed settings for 12 image HDRI file using the RICOH mobile app


Use a HDRI file made from RICOH THETA images for illumination and reflection in your MAYA scene with accurate light information.



Start MAYA and save a new scene

Add plane

Scale the plane

Add Sphere

Smooth Sphere

Under polySphere1, right panel, Attribute Editor, set Subdivisions Axis and Subdivisions Height to 50.

Create Area Light

  1. Arnold tab
  2. Area light
  3. Raise and position light to face sphere

Adjust Exposure Up

Render scene and check out lighting. Raise exposure.

Create Materials in Hypershade

Create aiStandard Surface

Arnold -> Shader -> Surface -> aiStandardSurface

Call it Ground

Middle Click and Drag Onto Plane

Create Another aiStandardSurface in HyperShade

Call it Shiny. This is for the sphere.

Decrease Roughness, Increase Weight

Drag Shiny Surface Onto Sphere

Middle-click and drag

Render to Test Shiny Surface

Arnold -> Render

Add SkyDomeLight

Click on SkyDomeLight Color

Under AttributeEditor

Choose File

Select Folder Icon to Browse for THETA HDRI File

Select THETA HDRI File

Adjust Diffuse and Specular in aiSkyDomeLightShape1

If you just want to focus on reflection, drop down the “Diffuse” setting.

Disable Specular on Area Light

Visibility -> Specular

Adjust Settings Under SkyDomeLight file

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Blender Example with Image on Plane

To make it easier to understand what is happening with the light, I put an image on a plane in blender.

You can see the reflection of the light source in the example below.


The scene itself looks like this. I’m using the image of the flower as the emission.


In the MAYA example above, the small mirrored sphere is inside of a larger sphere that serves as the light.