When creating a 3D scene, one of the most important aspects is lighting, and no lighting setup is complete without an HDRI. That said, it can be hard to find good HDRIs, so in this article we decided to put together our 10 favourite texture sites.
1. HDRI Haven
Hands down HDRI Haven is one of the best free texture sites on the web. With over 200 HD HDRIs you will never need to surf the web looking for HDRIs again. Another plus is that all the HDRI maps on the site are CC0 (public domain). You may recognize the site, or at least its twin sister Texture Haven which we talked about in this article.
If you have been into 3D art for a while, there is a good chance you know of Textures.com, but did you know it has HDRIs too? If you don’t know about Textures.com already, it is a free texture site that has many thousands of free textures and references. In addition to its many textures, it has many HDRIs in a range of different places/times. I would recommend checking this site out, for over the last few years it has grown into a texture giant, and rightfully so.
If you are serious about 3D and need HDRIs then Poliigon is the way to go. Poliigon has both PBR textures and HDRIs, both of which are very high quality. Of course the biggest problem with going with this option is that Poliigon is paid, and not quite cheap if you are a hobbyist. The cheapest Poliigon plan it will cost you $12 per month which will give you enough credits to get a couple hundred textures every year.
4. HDRI Skies
HDRI skies is another paid HDRI site, but this one has quite a few free HDRI maps too. The biggest difference this one has from Poliigon is that, on this site you pay-per texture. Most HDRIs will bring you down $15-25, but all the textures are very high quality and there is a very large choice of textures. Even if you are not one for paying money for HDRIs, check this site out and download some of their free textures.
5. HDRI Hub
HDRI hub is a free HDRI source that has quite a few of good HDRI. This is a smaller site then HDRI Haven and Textures.com, but it still has a good selection of high quality textures. This site also has some reference images and textures that are free, so you can use this site for not only your HDRIs, but textures too.
6. HDR Maps
HDR maps is another pay-per texture site, but this one has a very large selection of free HDRIs. This site is giant and has almost as many free textures as HDRI Haven, not to mention it’s paid ones.
7. 85 Free HDRI Maps
This last item is a little different, for it is a clump download, instead of a site where you download ones you see and pick. These 85 HDRIs are very high quality and you can designate a folder to HDRI images and always have good HDRIs.
In the end, you usably only need a couple basic HDRI for most of your scenes, but it is useful to have all these different sites for if you need a certain kind of lighting. Make sure to check some of these out and leave a comment with your favourite texture site.
Make sure to read our last post on texture sites here.