Blender Sky Texture

Blender already comes with 3 different Sky textures called Preetham, Hosek and Nishita.

Nishita was implemented in Blender in 2020 which makes it the newest Sky Texture Model. It is also the most advanced and the one which gives the best results in my experience.

It is definitely possible, to achieve good results with the integrated Sky Textures also a really important point is, that they have a lot of settings which are even animatable. The problem is, that they look too clean and clouds are completely missing, which make them look less realistic.

A Comparison of the three different Sky Textures in Blender 3.6.1

How to use the Sky Textures in Blender

In the Properties Panel open the World Panel unfold the Surface Menu and by clicking on the yellow point open the available Textures and select Sky Textures.

Screenshot of Blender 3.6.1 Selecting Sky Texture as Background Texture in Blender

If you want to learn more about the settings, that the Nishita Sky Texture offers, have a look at the official Sky Texture Node Documentation of the Blender Foundation.

Adding Clouds to a Sky texture

You can bring in more details, by just adding Clouds as an Object in your Scene.

Mountins with Blender Sky texture and Clouds added in

The render results with this technique are very good, the only downside I see, that it requires a lot of Light bounces within the Scene which increases render times.

I already prepared a File with cloud, basically a Cube with a Material on it, which you can download here.

You can use it with the CC0 Licence, which means I don’t really care what you do with it.

Physical Starlight And Atmosphere is an Add-on for Blender, which combines the best of both worlds.

It is procedural. Which means, that it is flexible and can be edited to the needs, as well as requiring less memory and therefore less time to render. And it also has the complexity through a cloud, star, and atmosphere settings to make images look realistic.

Blender 3D Rendered Mountain with a Sky created with the PSA Add-on.

It also allows you, to make something completely different like the Sky I created for this Commercial which I also created in PSA.

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The only Downside is, that it is not free. But with a price of $5 to $58 for a single user, I think it is fair priced. PSA definitely a recommendation if you want the best solution.

HDRI Image

Using an Image as a Sky gives you the benefit of more realism since it can be a real photo.

But it comes for the cost of having less flexibility, since you can’t animate specific parameters such as daytime altitude ad so on.

It can also increase your render time in case you are using a big texture as HDRI.

I already have an Article about HDRIs in Blender so if you want to know more about that technique have a look at it.

3D Rendered Mountain with a Sky created by an HDRI

Dynamic Sky

Dynamic Sky is an Add-on which is already integrated within Blender. And also comes with clouds, which makes it a bit more realistic compared to the normal Sky Textures of Blender.

But in Comparison with PSA it is just on another level and I don’t really like the renders I created with it.

3D Rendered Mountain with Blender Dynamic Sky Add-on in use, to create the Sky.

How to use Dynamic Sky

Activate the Add-on in the settings by clicking on Edit>Preferences, searching in the Add-ons Panel for Dynamic Sky and ticking the box.

In the 3D View hit N on the Keyboard to open the Menu on the right site of which I don’t know how it is called. And in the Tab Create you will find the Dynamic Sky Add-on where you have to click the Button Create.

And absolutely nothing will happen.

To use the Sky you’ve created in the Properties Panel, open the World Panel and switch to 0 Dynamic_1.

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