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Is it possible for me to use Blender to generate a 3D skybox?

The concept is fairly simple: I create a scene that I want to display on the skybox (mountains, clouds, water, etc). Then, couldn't Blender render it from the origin, calculating the images that would be placed on the six sides of the skybox?

Is there a way of doing this? It'd be a very easy way of making one's own skyboxes...

share|improve this question (too lazy to write a proper summary) – Jimmy Nov 15 '11 at 21:09
Yes, I saw this. The difference between this and what I'm asking about is that the method you pointed to requires you to have images in advance; I'm wondering if there is some sort of python script which generates a skybox from a 3D scene within the Blender. No need for images beforehand or anything. – CodeBunny Nov 15 '11 at 21:16
it doesn't require images in advance... if you have a scene already, it works just as well. The key step is the "Save EnvMap" button after you render. just skip to the "Render the environment map" step. – Jimmy Nov 15 '11 at 21:20
Ah, didn't realize that. Thanks! – CodeBunny Nov 15 '11 at 21:34
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The wikibook Blender 3D: Noob to Pro covers this.

Jump down to the "Render an Environment Map" section.

  • Set up your Scene, including an object (you can use an Empty) for the location of the skybox.
  • Create a new material for the object
  • Create a new texture for that material. Change its type to EnvMap (environment map)
  • Check [Static] or [Anim] for whether you want to render it once or every frame of an animation
  • Set the [Ob: ] field for the texture to your object. This determines where the rendered skybox is centered.
  • Set CubeRes to your desired resolution
  • Optionally set Clip distances if you have clipping issues
  • Render the scene
  • Go back to the textures pane of your object and click [Save EnvMap]

After rendering, the textures pane should look like this: Screenshot

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