An image-based light dome with dozens of individual lights can render much faster than HDRI Global Illumination. This basic tutorial shows how to create a low-poly dome in the Vertix Modeler as a reference. The process of setting up all the lights is automated by Carrara in one easy function called ENVIRONMENT LIGHTING.
Because I cut the dome from a sphere, the UV map of the dome is the top half of a sphere. In otherwords, you could use any seamless texture for the dome, even procedural patterns, but if you want a realistic texture you need to use something from a spherical camera, not just a panorama like I showed in the tutorial.
You probably don’t want to use a full sphere, because that will double the number of lights, and light your scene from under the ground plane….
Notice that you can see individual highlights from each EL light in the scene on the surface of the ball. More lights create smoother shadows which more closely resembles GI lighting.