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Creating sky and ambient light

From: Blender 2.6 Essential Training

Video: Creating sky and ambient light

When you start rendering scenes, there are many times when you'll need a background to go behind your objects. Take a look at this house, for example. We have basically a black background behind the house, and this is the Blender default. Now typically, if the house isn't being shot at night, you'd want to see something like a sky or something behind that house that isn't black. Well, we can change this by using the World settings within Blender. So all we have to do is go over here to this little panel here that looks like a planet Earth and click on it, and you'll see that it's the World panel.

Creating sky and ambient light

When you start rendering scenes, there are many times when you'll need a background to go behind your objects. Take a look at this house, for example. We have basically a black background behind the house, and this is the Blender default. Now typically, if the house isn't being shot at night, you'd want to see something like a sky or something behind that house that isn't black. Well, we can change this by using the World settings within Blender. So all we have to do is go over here to this little panel here that looks like a planet Earth and click on it, and you'll see that it's the World panel.

Now in here we have a number of controls to add color and gradients to our background. Now the first one you want to take a look at is the Horizon Color. If I click on this, it brings up a color picker. And so let's say I wanted to have a blue-sky background, so all I have to do is find the blue that I like and click OK. So once I have that, I can hit a render and you'll see that this horizon color is now my background color.

Now if I want, I can go even further. We have two additional colors: one is Zenith Color, the other is Ambient Color. Zenith Color allows you to create a ramp. So if I click on the middle option here, which is called Blend Sky, you can see that the Zenith Color becomes active. And by default it's black, so we go from black to blue, but we can change it to whatever we want. So let's go ahead and make a sunset. So I'm going to go ahead and change my Horizon Color to kind of a yellow here, a yellow orange like it's being sunset, and let's change our Zenith Color to a darker purple.

And so now that I have this, you can see I have this gradient. So when I hit Render, you'll see that that gradient shows up. Now in this case, it maps this gradient here to a virtual sphere around your scene. So you may not get that purple at the very top and you may not get the yellow at the very bottom. That's because it's mapping it more to the world than to my actual image. If I want to map this exactly to my frame, all I have to do is click Paper Sky.

Notice how it changes a little bit here, and when I render again by hitting F12, you can see how the top of that image is my Zenith Color, and towards the bottom, it's my Horizon Color. So that's the way to fit that gradient exactly to your screen. Now we have another option here called Real Sky, and if I click on this, you'll notice that I get the sky on the top and on the bottom, and then in the middle I get this horizon color. And what this does is it creates an actual sky where the horizon is at the horizon in the scene. So if were to do a render of that, you'll see that I get kind of yellow band through the middle.

So if you use Real Sky, you have to have your camera placement exact, so that way this horizon matches up with the horizon in your scene. So I'm going to go ahead and click that off. Now the last option we have here is called Ambient Color, and this really just controls the over all base light in the scene. So this is basically the darkest you can ever go in a scene. By default, it's black. And you can really see it here in the shadows. I have basically just one light here in the scene, and it's creating a very dark shadow here.

Now if I wanted to, I could actually change the color of that shadow in the light, but if I want to create an overall ambient light, I can do it here. So if I click on this Ambient Color and just bring it up to 30 or 40% gray here, and let's go ahead and render, you can see how everything in that scene is grayed out, so the darkest color is this color. So typically, you'll want to keep this fairly low, maybe slightly above black, so that we don't get exact pure black, but we get stuff that's fairly dark, and so something like this is probably a little more realistic.

But again, you can use this very creatively. If you want to tint an entire scene, you can do that with the Ambient Color. So to refresh, the Horizon Color and the Zenith Color both create a ramp for your background. Horizon Color alone will just create a single color. If you want to match your sky to your frame, then be sure to use Paper Sky.

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This video is part of

Image for Blender 2.6 Essential Training
Blender 2.6 Essential Training

94 video lessons · 23785 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. Using the exercise files
      28s
    3. Downloading Blender
      34s
    4. Notes on Blender 2.7 NEW
      2m 8s
    5. Using Blender on a Mac
      42s
    6. Using Blender on a laptop
      36s
  2. 30m 32s
    1. Overview of the Blender interface
      6m 6s
    2. Understanding 3D view windows
      5m 23s
    3. Navigating in 3D space
      6m 35s
    4. Configuring user preferences
      6m 24s
    5. Creating custom layouts
      6m 4s
  3. 32m 29s
    1. Selecting objects
      6m 12s
    2. Moving objects
      4m 35s
    3. Rotating objects
      2m 48s
    4. Scaling objects
      2m 16s
    5. Understanding transform orientation
      3m 53s
    6. Changing an object's origin
      5m 27s
    7. Selecting pivot points
      3m 22s
    8. Using Snap to move objects precisely
      3m 56s
  4. 49m 18s
    1. Creating mesh primitives
      6m 36s
    2. Selecting vertices, edges, and faces
      4m 48s
    3. Editing mesh objects
      7m 39s
    4. Proportional editing
      3m 52s
    5. Sculpt mode (Updated for 2.7) NEW
      5m 3s
    6. Sculpt mode
      4m 45s
    7. Working with edges and edge loops
      3m 42s
    8. Extrusions
      5m 18s
    9. Smooth shading objects
      2m 23s
    10. Subdividing meshes
      5m 12s
  5. 50m 31s
    1. Working with modifiers
      5m 52s
    2. Working with subdivision surfaces
      3m 48s
    3. Creating a simple creature
      7m 54s
    4. Symmetrical modeling with the Mirror modifier
      8m 21s
    5. Joining mesh objects
      3m 37s
    6. Stitching vertices
      4m 52s
    7. Finalizing a simple creature
      4m 48s
    8. Creating text
      3m 29s
    9. Boolean tools
      2m 59s
    10. Vertex groups
      4m 51s
  6. 22m 36s
    1. Using the Outliner
      8m 22s
    2. Using layers
      4m 30s
    3. Creating groups
      2m 48s
    4. Working with scenes
      4m 2s
    5. Creating hierarchies
      2m 54s
  7. 54m 26s
    1. Assigning materials to objects
      8m 4s
    2. Diffuse shaders
      6m 47s
    3. Working with specularity
      5m 56s
    4. Using the Ramp Shader options
      9m 45s
    5. Additional shading options
      2m 37s
    6. Creating reflections
      8m 29s
    7. Adding transparency and refractions
      6m 49s
    8. Subsurface scattering
      5m 59s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Adding a simple texture
      6m 11s
    2. Using bitmaps
      6m 53s
    3. Mapping textures in the UV Editor (Updated for 2.7) NEW
      7m 43s
    4. Mapping textures in the UV Editor
      8m 28s
    5. Using UV projections
      5m 56s
    6. UV mapping a character (Updated for 2.7) NEW
      6m 35s
    7. UV mapping a character
      6m 11s
    8. Fine-tuning UV mapping
      6m 7s
    9. Creating Bump and Normal maps
      3m 15s
    10. Displacement mapping
      3m 48s
    11. Using the Node Editor
      4m 59s
  9. 53m 9s
    1. Adding lamps to a scene
      8m 44s
    2. Fine-tuning ray-trace shadows
      4m 32s
    3. Using spot lamps
      4m 20s
    4. Fine-tuning buffer shadows
      6m 19s
    5. Using Hemi lamps
      2m 32s
    6. Working with Area lamps
      5m 17s
    7. Creating sky and ambient light
      4m 49s
    8. Adding background images
      3m 19s
    9. Creating sunlight
      6m 6s
    10. Ambient occlusion
      7m 11s
  10. 30m 8s
    1. Working with cameras
      4m 47s
    2. Creating camera targets with constraints
      3m 43s
    3. Render properties
      5m 7s
    4. Rendering animation
      5m 13s
    5. Adding motion blur
      4m 10s
    6. Creating depth of field
      7m 8s
  11. 32m 30s
    1. Understanding the Timeline
      4m 3s
    2. Animating objects
      6m 26s
    3. Animating properties
      4m 0s
    4. Editing animation in the Graph Editor
      8m 36s
    5. Using the Dope Sheet
      4m 53s
    6. Path animation
      4m 32s
  12. 39m 59s
    1. Facial animation using shape keys
      4m 40s
    2. Understanding armatures
      6m 2s
    3. Fitting an armature to a creature
      7m 23s
    4. Deforming a character with an armature
      3m 49s
    5. Setting up inverse kinematics
      3m 53s
    6. Controlling the hips and body
      2m 1s
    7. Animating in Pose mode
      2m 47s
    8. Creating a test animation
      9m 24s
  13. 15s
    1. Goodbye
      15s

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