Hydra HDRI Pro is a photoshop plugin that will convert an 8-bit image into a 32-bit HDRI. Create your own spherical HDRI’s for use in 3D rendering programs. Take your 8-bit spherical image, edit it in Photoshop, and then with a click of a button convert it into an HDRI. We recommend using 360 Panoramic app for the iPhone or Android by Occipital, take high quality spherical photos on your smart phone, bring them home and convert them into full 32-bit HDRI with the Hydra HDRI Pro plugin. It revolutionizes the entire 3D rendering process putting the technology in everyone’s hands. What used to cost 10′s of thousands of dollars to take your own HDRI images has now been made available for everyone.
Update 10/1/2014 : There is a new iPhone app that works great with this plugin called Photosphere from Google. While we still like Occipitals app they havent updated it in a long time. I would suggest checking out the new app Photosphere, and a bonus is that the resolution on the final jpg is more than 2x the size of the Occipital photo.
“This is a well thought out and much needed plugin, so useful, easy to use and the resulting light from the original 8-bit image is spot on.” - Josh Mings, Luxion Inc. (makers of KeyShot)
“This plugin has completely revolutionized the way we approach our workflow at Hydra. We have begun compiling a vast library of spherical images wherever we go. It’s really liberating to not have to carry around bulky high end camera equipment, wherever you are just grab your iphone and snap a few pics, then go back to the studio and create an HDRI image for one of your renderings.” - Jon Hull, Hydra Design Labs
Another benefit to working with this plugin is that with traditional 32 bit HDRI images your options for editing that photo are very limited in photoshop. But by starting with an 8-bit image you have the full range of photoshop tools available to edit and clean up your image before converting it to an HDRI. You could for example remove objects, or people, adjust the contrast and colors, all before converting the HDRI. “One example of how we use this benefit is that we have moved the sun around in a photo to create shadows being cast from different angles, and then convert it to an HDRI. This is near impossible to do successfully starting with a 32 bit image.”