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Great stuff. And many thanks for those tuts by Jason! They helped me a lot.
Panocapture has a nice article that will tell about a quick and simple way of making a ground plane that will match your HDR for some movements in your scenes. Let’s begin by taking the high-resolution HDRI and converting it to an 8bit image in Photoshop.
Then I load it into PTGui and make sure I have the image set to Rectilinear, rotate it by -90 on the pitch so we’re viewing the flattened out ground. Then I use the sliders to chenge the field of view to around 175 x 175, just enough to get most of the ground up to the horizon. Note, becasue you’re essentially warping an already warped spherical image taken from one viewpoint the edges are always going to be blurry and warped looking. Thats becasue we’re flattening out the pixels in the far corner of the original fisheye images where there is very little detail.
Once thats done we render the panorama out of PTGui at 15000 x 15000 pixels (or whatever size you like, I like to have a large detailed map) and bring it into Photoshop and use the clone tool to paint out the sun reflection.
It’s then just a case of extracting the maps we need. I used diffuse colour, reflection, and normal for this quick test but you can extract bump and gloss if you like too. I also refined the normal map by adding a flat colour over the most reflective parts to make the reflections there flat.
Make sure to continue studying the guide here.
The final animation: