Using sIBL-sets for Maya

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Neal Burger

· 3 min read

Image Based Lighting (IBL) allows you to use High-Dynamic-Range (HDR) images as. To efficiently use sIBL images you would need to set up an entire Shading Network. Smart IBL (sIBL) is an open system that allows a quick and easy IBL setup in 3D Applications. It especially takes care of the issue  Of color noise gets created in the rendered animation caused by Final Gather. sIBL uses blurred images in combination with the original Image use in the reflections. To work with sIBL Images you need two Parts

  1. sIBL-GUI is a Gallery Viewer is a free tool that can send Images to Maya. Download it here
  2. A plugin that allows your 3D Application to receive the image from sIBL-GUI

There are two types of sIBL Sets:

  • Environments, usually spherical images of locations
  • Light sets, images of specific lights used in a studio environment for lighting


Either create your own using “sIBL-Edit”


  • (optional) sIBL-Edit : Creates sIBL sets
  • sIBL-GUI: Is a Viewer and Library of sIBL sets
  • Loader Plugin: Connects sIBL-GUI to the 3D Program


  1. Download and install sIBL-GUI
  2. Download and unzip the Maya Loader
  3. Copy the extracted files to:

Windows 10


Mac OS X


Linux (64-bit)


Step 1

Open sIBL-GUI. You are prompted with “Would you like to add some IBL sets” - answer No A window “Remote Updater” opens - press “Get Latest Templates” (deactivate the ones you do not need) - Select save Location (easiest is simply factory) After the update Close the Download Manager and Remote Updater

Step 2

In the Main Program select “Export” then “Open Output Directory” Copy the Path of that Folder it should be something like:


Step 3

Open/Restart Maya. Open the Shelf “sIBL_GUI” sIBLPart1-2

Step 4

Click on the first Icon “p”. Insert the Path to “Loader Script Path” and select sIBLPart1-3


Step 1

Extract the file into any folder you like on your Hard drive. I have my files organized In a folder called C:\\Resources\\HDR\\sIBL.

Step 2

Open up sIBL_GUI. In Library Mode right-click in the middle panel and select “Add sIBL set …” Screenshot-1_5_2012-9_09_06-AM-1024x719

Your First sIBL render

We will be using a sIBL of a tropical beach in Barbados to render a teapot.  However, you can use whatever image and model you like.



Step 1

Import the teapot to Maya (File > Import )

Step 2

Open sIBL, Add the “Tropical Beach” to the Libary (In Library Mode right-click in the middle panel and select “Add sIBL set …” )

Step 3

Select the “Export” panel

Step 4

In the left panel select ”Mental Ray Standard” (Creates an environment)

Step 5

In the middle panel select the Image, in the right panel click Output Loader script Screenshot-1_5_2012-9_29_45-AM-1024x719

Step 6

Back in Maya go to the sIBL shelf and click on the E (execute) sIBLPart1-2edit

Step 7

In the Outliner, you see a group “sIBL” has been created. It includes a transparent floor to receive shadows. Screenshot-1_5_2012-12_16_50-PM

Step 8

In the Hypershade you can Graph the persp-Camera here you see the entire IBL-network that has been created. If you create a new Camera you have to connect the sIBL_mip_rayswitch to the mental ray > Environment Shader Attribute Screenshot-1_5_2012-12_25_42-PM-1024x581


Step 1

In the Viewport activate Shaded and Textured mode (Press the key 6)

Step 2

Position your Render Camera

Step 3

Apply a “mia_material_x” shader to the teapot (A white tone)

Step 4

Test render (make sure Final Gather is activated) If the image is too bright, check the Gamma Settings on the “sIBL_mia_exposure_simple” and set it to 1.0

Step 5

Adjust Final Gather settings and Anti-Alias Settings for Final Render (increase Accuracy, Point Density) and then do your final Render.

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About Neal Burger

Neal Burger is a successful entrepreuner. He is the founder of Acme Inc, a bootstrapped business that builds affordable SaaS tools for local news, indie publishers, and other small businesses.