My name is Greg Zaal and, as I'm sure you know, I create HDRIs.
But not just any HDRIs. I create free, unclipped HDRIs.
"Unclipped" means they're true HDRIs: they contain the full dynamic range of the scene they were captured in. Most HDRIs you come across online, even the paid ones, are "clipped", which means the highest part of the dynamic range is missing, leaving your 3D scene looking fake or just bland. This is not always an easy problem to solve, but I've made it my mission to do it so that you can have the best and most realistic lighting possible right off the bat.
Oh and they're not just free either, they're CC0 - basically public domain. "Public domain" means they belong to the public, the public owns them; you own them. It doesn't get any more free than that, you can literally use them for anything, anywhere, however you like. You can modify them, abuse them and even share them around, all without requiring credit or even mention of where you got them.
This is what freedom is, but it needs your help.
Creating HDRIs is an expensive task - camera equipment and travel costs are notoriously high, often thousands of dollars each, but there are also the day-to-day costs of running a website that makes these massive HDR files available for free.
This is where you come in. With your support, not only can we keep HDRI Haven alive and running, but we can improve it. Higher resolution HDRIs, more of them, more often, and in more interesting places.
How it worksThis Patreon page is not a paywall - by supporting me here, you're helping me create HDRIs that are available to everyone for free. The various reward levels on the right are a way for me to say thank you, allow you to get more involved in the process and be recognized for your contribution.
All patrons have access to a private Trello board where they can make suggestions and vote on various things like new HDRI ideas, travel locations, and how the donations are spent.
Payments are made automatically at the beginning of the month. For the lower reward levels, you'll get your reward immediately after signing up (even in the middle of a month). For higher reward levels ($20+) you may have to wait until after the payment has been processed before getting your reward.
If you have any questions, just shout :)
If you'd prefer to make a once-off donation, you can do so with PayPal or Bitcoin.
If you would like to make anonymous recurring donations, I'm on Liberapay too.
Where your money goesIn the beginning, most of the money will go towards maintaining and improving the website (making higher resolutions available, upgrading server capacity, etc) and funding travel for new HDRIs. But as things grow, we'll get to create more and more exciting things like an HDRI-shooting drone, crazy high resolution night time HDRIs with stars and entire new websites for textures and other assets.
There are a number of goals on the left of this page, these are what we're working towards together. Each of them explains what the money is needed for, but I also release a public finance report every month so that you know exactly what was donated and where it was spent/saved.
The goals can't be guaranteed to be fulfilled immediately as soon as they are met. Some of them will take time to implement, and some may have to be pushed back if the funding target is found to be unrealistic. Obviously I do my best to be accurate (and overestimate if unsure), and I'll update you if anything changes.
All donations will be used first and foremost for HDRI Haven itself. After the expenses are covered and most of the remainder kept for travel and equipment savings, a small portion will be used for my own personal expenses (food, rent, medical, etc.). The more time I spend on HDRIs, the less time I spend on freelance work (yay!), which means I need to draw more from donations for my personal expenses. Again, all the details are publically available in the finance reports :)