Standalone is better. One unified browser that is independent of any particular 3d application's product cycle. One rich interface to create your lighting rig. That was Kel Solaar's vision when he created sIBL-GUI.

Highslide JS


  • Standalone application
  • For 3ds Max, Maya, XSI, ...
  • Uses PUSH methods to setup lighting in connected 3d app
  • Freely Customizable interface
  • Automatic Online Update
  • Open Source

The Concept

3d programs are evolving fast, and so do their scripting languages. Turned out that rich interfaces like a Smart IBL Thumbnail Browser are especially hard to maintain over time, and catching up with support for all the 3rd party render engines became a lifetime task.

That's why sIBL-GUI is a standalone Python application, available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. Instead of building hardcoded lighting setups, it uses the setup information from sIBL-sets to fill in setup templates. These templates a code snippets, written in your 3d app's native language and tailored for a particular renderer. For example, you'll find templates for Vray Domelight in Max, mental ray in XSI, or Turtle in Maya. The templates are pulled from an online repository, so you're always up to date. It's very easy to create new templates, even for new applications.

Helper Scripts

However, a standalone application is always a workflow disruption. That's why your sIBL-GUI installation is not complete until you have installed the Helper scripts for Max, for Maya, or for XSI. These allow you to launch sIBL-GUI from within your 3D app, so it feels like a native plugin. They also open up a communication port for sIBL-GUI, so you can send your new lighting setup directly back. With the Helper scripts you will enjoy the warm cuddly illusion of never leaving your 3D app. Even though, in reality, you technically are.


Thomas Mansencal (aka Kel Solaar) walks you through installation and usage in Maya.

Workflow Schematics

This diagram explains the flexible lighting pipeline built around sIBL_GUI.

Read the User Manual or watch the In-Depth Screencast to learn about customizing the interface and making your own templates. If you know Python, you can also read the Developer API Documentation and fork the source code on GIThub to integrate it into your own pipeline.