RealViz has released HDR Imaging Studio, which combines Stitcher 5.6, VTour 1.2 HDR and Photomatix Pro. The company says that it's the only software bundle available for the creation of HDR environments for virtual reality, industrial design, special effects and video game applications, starting from digital snapshots and panoramas.

With Stitcher 5.6, users can build HDR panoramas and directly export them as environment maps in their favourite 3D package. VTour 1.2 HDR now also enables digital content creators, for the first time ever, to add depth information to their HDR environment maps for Spatial Image-Based Lighting (SIBL).

Stitcher Unlimited 5.6 was launched in May of this year, and introduced full HDR compatibility for the very first time, enabling users to load, stitch, and save HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. With HDR imaging, users are able to create projects, which combine under- and over-exposed areas in the same harmonious panorama. A perfect synergy with the external tools available on the market for image tone mapping, such as Adobe Photoshop, Photomatix or HDR Shop, is ensured through compatibility with the most commonly used HDR image file formats: OpenEXR (.exr, 16 or 32 bits per channel), and Radiance RGBE (.hdr).

The enhanced core engine of Stitcher Unlimited 5.6 makes all image processing operations available for images with 32 bits per channel. HDR panoramas produced with Stitcher Unlimited 5.6 can be used as a lighting environment map for 3D studios to obtain ultra-realistic 3D scenes, and to ensure consistent lighting of virtual objects placed in real environments.

VTour draws on the award-winning technology of Stitcher and ImageModeler, and allows the creation of photo-real 3D environments from 2D pictures or panoramas. VTour has been specifically developed for use in a wide range of applications, such as virtual walkthroughs, 3D simulation, virtual reality, urban planning and video games, and is also well suited for the creation of virtual sets for film and television. REALVIZ VTour 1.2 HDR is the only software available today for the creation of 3D HDR scenes, starting from digital snapshots and panoramas.

Users can add depth information to their environment maps to dynamically light their 3D models, then introducing the concept of Spatial Image-Based Lighting (SIBL). SIBL enables users to create realistic and spatially coherent 3D shadows and reflections, photo realistic 3D sets, allowing any camera or object motion in this space, and spatially coherent 3D lighting with HDR texture maps.

Photomatix Pro from HDRsoft is a stand-alone product, which processes the blown out highlights and flat shadows, which often result even from pictures taken with the best exposure, into harmonious HDR images with crisp details in both the highlighted and shadowed areas. Photomatix Pro solves this common problem through Tone Mapping and Exposure Blending, and also offers easy-to-use batch processing for increased productivity.

The HDR Imaging Studio costs €1,950 (£980), though purchasers can get a 15 per cent discount until June 30.