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Many times you'll want to use something other than a gradient for your background. Often we'll use a bitmap of a sky or something like that to create a background. So let's show you how to add a bitmap to your background. Now I have the scene I was working on before, and in my world I have this gradient set up. So let's do a quick render to see what we have. So we have this set up to Paper Sky and a Blend Sky with this Horizon and Zenith color.
Now if you want to add a background image, it's very similar to working with materials. All you have to do is keep the World selected and then go immediately over to the Texture panel, and when we do that we can add in a new texture. It understands that you came over from the World panel here, so we have Texture, World, or Both. So with the default Clouds, you can see it's overlaying the clouds over that gradient. But in this case I really don't want to use a procedural texture; I want to use a bitmap, so I'm going to go select Image or Movie. And then under the Open tab here we're going to select sky. Open Image. And you'll see I have a blue sky with white clouds, and what it's doing right now is overlaying that over the gradient.
So let's scroll down and see how we can adjust this. So I'm going to close off a bunch of my rollouts and go to the Influence rollout here. And the most important one here is this Blend Control. What this does is it blends in the bitmap over the gradient. Now if I turn that off, you'll see that I have just a gradient and this has the blend. Now we have a couple of Blend options here. We can have Add, Subtract, Overlay, all sorts of different ones, Darken, Saturation, and so on.
And some of these may work, some of these may not, but I'm going to keep this at Mix for the moment. And what we're going to do is we're going to blend in the bitmap here using these ones along the bottom. So I'm going to click on Horizon, and then I'm going to turndown Blend here all the way off. So basically we're not blending anything; we're just replacing the Horizon color, which was yellow, with the sky bitmap. So once I do that, you'll see that I get sky at the horizon, and then its still fades up to the Zenith color, which is that purple color.
Now if I want, I can replace the entire gradient with the bitmap just by clicking on at Zenith color. And I can now have a complete bitmapped sky with none of that gradient behind it. And now if I want, I can mix in the Horizon color. Let's say I did want kind of a yellowish horizon. I can still do that just by bringing this slider down, and so I can still have that Horizon color. So those are some of the basics of adding a bitmap as your background image.
Now remember, just start on the World tab and then go immediately to the Texture tab and add in whichever texture you want.
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