I'm experimenting with 3D using SceneKit on iOS. I'm trying to create a galaxy but would appreciate some guidance on the following things:

  1. I'm having a hard time working out how to make the galaxy seem 'big'. I've created multiple solar system nodes in a spiral, but the distances between them are hard to get right. I want to get a sense of scale, but I'm not sure of the best approach. Do I want to put huge distances between solar systems, and make the objects in the system very large too? In this case I need to set the camera zFar to be massive. I feel like I'm missing something.

  2. I've created a cube map for the 'galaxy'. As I zoom in on a solar system, the cube map seems to come in very close, which breaks the illusion of scale. How do I make that better?

Thanks for any guidance!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you define what you mean by "seems to come in very close"? Or include a video/gif of the effect you're seeing? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Jul 3 '19 at 2:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DMGregory Here's a link to what I'm seeing streamable.com/lwoh1. My camera is in the same node hierarchy as the solar system. The solar system is a node in the 'universe'. I'm using the built in camera controls of scene kit like this: scnView.pointOfView = cameraNode scnView.allowsCameraControl = true It feels to me like the sky box zooms in too much as I zoom in to the solar system \$\endgroup\$ – BinaryGuy Jul 3 '19 at 3:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Looks like you're zooming by modifying the camera's angular field of view, in which case what you're seeing looks exactly correct, even for an infinitely distant starfield. Have you considered applying your zoom by moving the camera closer instead / in addition to a milder FoV change? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Jul 3 '19 at 4:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @DMGregory I didn't consider that, and I thought it was what the allowsCameraControl did naturally. I just read up on it a bit, and it seems pinching doesn't move the camera closer. I'l give your suggestion a go. \$\endgroup\$ – BinaryGuy Jul 3 '19 at 4:34

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