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I'm trying to learn how to implement HDRi images into my background to improve render quality, and such. Here is the issue I'm having.

Strange black hole in middle of HDRi sphere

I was wondering if anyone knew whether the black hole in the image was the result of poor image quality or if I am doing something wrong in the settings. Here's how I have it set right now. Am I doing it right?

Settings

Obviously I could just change the camera angle and hide that ugly thing, but if it's something I can fix, I'd like to learn how. Thanks in advance for any help you provide!

P.S. is there a way to get nice shadows with HDRi images, or do I have to set up lights to do something like that?

Edit: Changing the Mode from Mirror Ball to Equirectangular gives me this: Other issues

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure the projection is supposed to be at Mirror Ball? Most common format is Equirectangular $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Jan 19 '18 at 1:04
  • $\begingroup$ Edited it to show what it gives me when I change it to Equirectangular. $\endgroup$ – Paul Johnson V Jan 19 '18 at 1:15
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    $\begingroup$ Where did you get such image? That is not HDRi...HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, preferably in a linear scene referred , a jpeg image is the opposite: it is low dynamic range and with a gamma curve applied to the image. Not really suitable for what you want to do... In any case regardless of the format, you need to know what kind of projection is used and map it accordingly. My advice is that you ditch the image you are using and get a real HDRi or EXR image with proper Equirectangular projection and learn using that. $\endgroup$ – cegaton Jan 19 '18 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, ok. I'll look around for a more appropriate image, do a little more research. Thanks for the help! $\endgroup$ – Paul Johnson V Jan 19 '18 at 2:16
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HDRi's should just be plug and play, and your image seems to contain the very same spot on itself. Your settings also seem just fine, thus, it appears your image is not good.

To fix your problem, try using a true HDRi from a sight like https://hdrihaven.com/hdris/, and all should be dandy.

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    $\begingroup$ Woah, thanks for the link, that site is awesome! $\endgroup$ – Paul Johnson V Jan 20 '18 at 17:20

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