HDR Sky Painting
Video link belowWhen creating a skybox I always strive for interesting painted realism look rather than simply photoreal. If you simply want photoreal, there are many different ways to capture or buy skybox textures. I'm focused on creating UNIQUE sun breaks and storms in the sky.
When working in an HDR engine it really complicates things. The normal process of painting in ldr / 8bit simply isnt good enough. If your engine has eye adaptation... it will be really hard for you to get your ldr/8bit texture looking right in the hdr engine. Now, I'm sure you could probably make it work... but why not try and make it better than that? Thats my goal here. To get a normal brushed/matte painted sky and paint exposure levels into it.
Now, there are many options to make hdr skies. Maya, Ozone/Vue, Terragen to name a few. I'm specifically talking about using photoshop as your main tool.
I'm going to be continuing exploration of how I'd get the exact look I want, but for now here is a quick sample texture I painted originally in 8bit and then converted to 32bit in photoshop and started painting exposure adjustment layers on top of it. The video below shows exposure steps pretty well...but I think it can get a lot better. More testing!
The next step will be to create the entire sky from scratch in 32 bit and paint these layers at the correct exposure levels to begin with.