Creating Custom Skyboxes

In this article I’ll cover how to make different skyboxes in Unity. The Universal Render Pipeline and Standard Render Pipeline, URP and SRP, have the same skybox options, so what I’ll go over here is for both SRP and URP.

The first thing I want to do is generate new Lighting settings for my scene. To do this I have to navigate to the Lighting tab and click the “New Lighting Settings” button. This will generate new lighting settings. I also want to make sure that my Lightmapper is set to Progressive GPU. My graphics card is fast enough to keep up with it, and I’m not doing anything too crazy right now. I also want to select auto generate, that way I can see everything I’m doing when I do instead of waiting to bake it.

If I checkout the tab next to the Lighting tab, the environment tab, I can see that right now Im using the default skybox.

If I were to want to use my own custom skybox I’d have to create a skybox material. To do this simply right click in the project view, create > material.

Now in the inspector of this material you can see the shader. Currently its set to standard. I want to select Skybox.

You can see there are a few different options. The first option I’ll covr is the procedural.

The procedural option is the exact same thing as the default skybox except now I can adjust the properties of it.

I definitely encourage playing around with the settings here, because often times, you can get greate results just from this.

WELCOME TO THE LION KING

Now I’ll get into the other 3.

The 6 sided option will allow you to have… a six sided skybox! Its that easy. You just need to find 6 images and fill the slots with them. There are plenty of free and paid 6 sided images online that you can use to test this option out.

A Cubemap works in the same way a 6 sided skybox does. With a cubemap, the images are all automatically assigned pretty much. The way you import the cube map matters though.

You’ll want to select your cubemap image in the project view and import it by selecting the cube option under Texture Shape. Then all you have to do is drop your cubemap into the single image slot on the skybox material.

Next is the Panoramic Skybox. This is basically the same concept as the other 2 skyboxes, but this one allows you to use panoramic photos.

Alot of the decision making for which skybox to use lies on the lighting settings. For brighter panoramic photos for example, your scene will look a lot brighter, where if you have a dark, spacey panoramic photo your scene will be a bit darker. I encourage you to just play around with each one and see which one you like the best.

In the next article I’ll cover some of the lighting options in the URP.

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