|This article does not cite any references or sources. (August 2013)|
Image-based lighting (IBL) is a 3D rendering technique which involves capturing an omni-directional representation of real-world light information as an image, typically using a specialised camera. This image is then projected onto a dome or sphere analogously to environment mapping, and this is used to simulate the lighting for the objects in the scene. This allows highly detailed real-world lighting to be used to light a scene, instead of trying to accurately model illumination using an existing rendering technique.
Image-based lighting often uses high dynamic range imaging for greater realism, though this is not universal. Almost all modern rendering software offers some type of image-based lighting, though the exact terminology used in the system may vary.
Image-based lighting is also starting to show up in video games as video game consoles and personal computers start to have the computational resources to render scenes in real time using this technique. This technique is used in Forza Motorsport 4 and Crash Time 5: Undercover, by the Chameleon engine used in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and in the CryEngine 3 middleware.