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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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