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Setting up the background for your CG world or your scene is pretty complicated, and there are a few settings that we need to go over and talk about when we talking about setting up a world. First, there is an entire sub- context over here under Shading. If you press F5 you get the Shading context, and then down here with the little World icon over on the right is the World button. So when you click that, you get a whole set of panels that allow you to setup the world. So I'm going to go ahead and put these away. Let's walk through them. First of all, you have a control for obviously naming the world.
So you can have different kinds of worlds within the same blend file. This particular world has three colors that are setup. One is the horizon color. The next is the zenith color or the color that if you go outside and you look straight up, that's the color that you would see as you stare out into space. Then the third color is the color of the ambient light that is in your scene. So this is kind of a yellow color, reflecting a nice yellow, warm, sunny day. This scene has setup to be sort of at the beach color, nice little pastel colors with a beautiful clear day.
The ambient light color affects all of the other objects in the scene as we saw in the Ambient Occlusion and lighting video. And these Exposure and Range settings help you adjust the amount of light and how it affects the overall tone of the image. So up here in this Preview panel we see the combination using a blend of the horizon and zenith. If we take blend off, then we get just the horizon color as a flat background color. And if we press F12 now, here we just have that flat black color.
If we Blend it, now we blend from the bottom of the image to the top color, and I'm going to go ahead and set this top color a little darker or let's say a little darker blue just so you can see a little more. Now however that's from the bottom of the image, which assumes that the bottom of the camera is looking out at the horizon. If the camera is looking straight out at the horizon, then we want to use the Real option, which sets the middle of the image to be the horizon color and then above to be the zenith color and then also down below to be the zenith color.
Paper extenuates the shading by providing an absolute gradient from top to bottom no matter what the camera is looking at. So those are your three options that can be used in combination to define where and how you want your background colors to merge. The next panel is the Mist and the Stars. The Mist, if you enable Mist, now as objects recede often to the distance, they will actually fade out to the horizon color. This is used to simulate a kind of effect that goes in the real world as things fade out often to the distance just, because there is mist and moisture in the air.
Now you can get pretty fancy with these settings to actually simulate a very foggy kind of environment by setting a Height here, and setting up a Distance for the fade off to effect and then Distance from the camera for the misting effect to start taking the place. So to simulate a thin mist, you would specify a pretty far starting distance and with a long falloff. Stars brings up stars. Put the stars in the background just as you see here. You can have different colored stars as you can see here, and you would use this to set up, let's say, a real environment where you are trying to simulate a very clear open sky or if you are doing a space battle out in space, you can just quickly setup the stars control the size of the stars, how dense the stars are, how close they are to one another and like that.
The next is the Ambient Occlusion and there is a whole another section on Ambient Occlusion, but this is where you setup the different Ambient Occlusion methods for computing the dirt that collects in creases and corners. Last up is the Texture and as we have seen almost anything in Blender can be Textured to give it a little bit of variation as you can see here with the Blend, this is a perfect color and there is a never ever a perfect color. You can add Cloud textures and like that in addition you can also add what's called Angular maps or Spherical maps.
An Angular map is a very special kind of image that is used. So let's go ahead and add one of those. I'll give you an example of one. Once you would add a new texture you then have to come over here to the Textures panel and define what that texture is. Whether it's a Cloud, or Procedural or an Image or an Environmental map. In this case we are going to use an Image and when you click on Image you get all of this standard image controls. So let's go ahead and load up the Angular map from the library. We click Load and then one of our Windows will change to a file browser.
I would like you to get used to using a library. So under library we have textures that are separate from images. Images to me are images of real people or places or things, textures are a special picture that is used to add color or affect the surface in someway. So once we have loaded it up, we can see a preview in the Preview panel and as you can see this is a round picture that is rendered as if you were looking at a perfectly reflective sphere. And I take this one from Madcow.
This is a shoutout to Madcow in England who provides a whole bunch of these blenderartists.org. You can go out and grab them and use them to provide a very realistic world. So now if we click Real and Angular map, we can now map this image to the horizon. We don't need to really Blend it in with the background blue, but we can, we can use this blending to affect the sky color. Now when we do our render, we have a very photorealistic background for our composite. Let me go ahead and take off the stars, because I don't think we'll have the stars in the background and there is no mist in this picture.
So now when we do our render, we have our cube but now we have it set to into this background and as long as we match the lighting that was apparent in this angular map, we'll be able to blend in this cube into this scene so that it looks like it fits. There is other kind of mapping. There is a Spherical/Angular map, there is also a Tube-based mapping where if you can have a tube type of projection map, you can use that as the image background. So between the colors, the ambient light colors, and the textures, Blender provides a large array of settings just for the world background.
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