PART 1 – How to make a local surrounding visible and use it as a 3D environment
PART 2 – How to add an Ambient occlusion ground shadow?
PART 1 – Visible local surrounding
1. Create a Local surrounding (Scene > Create light) on top of your Scene tree and load a *.hdr image into it.
(IMPORTANT: The filename needs to have the correct suffix to be displayed correctly! See How-to-properly-name-hdri-images-for-use-in-deltagen)
2. Select the Local surrounding in the Scene tree and go to the the Properties tab in the Object editor. Check Primary visiblity.
3. Select the Transformation tab and uncheck Infinite size.
4. Check the Flatten ground.
PART 2 – Ground shadow
5. Create a plane (Scene > Create geometry) below your objects in the scene that is big enough to display their shadow.
6. In the Render > Settings window select Render shadows and Ambient occlusion (Voxel based AO)
7. Click Apply.
6. Select the plane shell and go to Object editor Illumination tab
7. Check Use object as shadow catcher
8. Adjust the shadow with the Ambient occlusion sliders.