Using an intergrated compositor (Blender, Softimage, Houdini) it is possible to create an interactive studio environment to drive the IBL in a 3d scene. By wiring a couple vector paint nodes together in Softimage I can create an interactive environment map; then I use the map as the source image for the final-gathering or environment sampling. HDR Light Studio is a standalone product that does just that. Read about the setup in Softimage here.
This environment sampling setup was used in two, full-scale production, Tony Hawk video game projects.
Derek Jenson Blog
My website serves to archive experiments, document projects, share techniques, and motivate further exploration & artistry in 3d space.