How to properly setup HDR sky dome light in Cycles?


Can somebody please explain how to setup a sky dome light in Rhino Cycles?
Or isn’t image-based environment lighting possible in the raytraced view mode yet?


Enable Skylight for “sky dome light” and use an HDR environment. Those that are bundled with Rhino are all with HDR/EXR images in.

You can also select Skylight to be without a custom environment, in which case it uses whatever is set to the backdrop (solid color, gradient or 360° environment).

Here an example, lighting using the Dublin Studio environment

Here one with an HDR I created in Blender (room with 4 bright colored light panels, attached in zip)

jesterking color (13.8 MB)



Could you please create a video tutorial or McNeel Wiki article about setting up all parameters in that panel? I believe we all are missing something and it’s good to have a complete explanation. Especially if we don’t fully understand what all these rendering terms mean.

Thanks in advance.

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Does not cover it?

In the help topic you reference under “Dimensions” there’s this “double-speak” typo. Also, shouldn’t it say “selected view” (referencing the View item just above it) rather than “viewport”?

Viewport ()

Renders the active viewport the active viewport using the pixel size of the viewport.

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OK, I get it now, although the macOS menu looks quite different! Thanks for the examples.
I have one more question, though! The sky dome can be rotated but there doesn’t seem to be an option for scaling?

This would be great!!

No scaling no, but you probably could get something better by tweaking the camera by changing the fov. With the (perspective) viewport active you render for use the _Camera command to show the camera. Then in any of the others select one of the cps on the side and make it wider so you see more of the world.

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No, not really. I was thinking more of a step-by-step scenario to follow. e.g. "First you do this, because later on it will be used for that. Then, you set this parameter, use this range because if it is above this will happen if below this will fail. .... You have to add a point light but set the intensity to 0 instead of turning it off. Because..."

I am not going to read all these articles in the wiki in order to set up a scene, I’m not planning to create an oscar-worthy picture/video but still want to be able to set up the rendering accurately without getting into trial-error workflow.

There is not much beyond:

  • choose what you want in the backdrop: solid / gradient / 360 env
  • if you want reflections to show something different than what you have in backdrop: select a custom environment
  • if you want skylighting (global illumination) then enable that. By default skylight is what is in backdrop. If you want something different than what is in the backdrop select here your custom environment.


If you’re going to mock my request just forget about it. Just say “No, I won’t create anything.”

There are over 20 parameters/radio buttons and checkboxes to be set there.

That was not mocking. It was telling you that these are the only things you really need to focus on.

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once just because I set the samples to higher value I waited over 3 hours to render a simple moving box (from bongo + cycles).
So…I’d say, this is NOT the only thing one should focus on.

Eh, we’re just talking lighting here. In that case this is what you focus on.

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I am talking about a complete setup tutorial. (not just lighting)
Just saying out loud that this is still very unclear, unless you’re a “seasoned render expert” which most of us aren’t.

Right. You’re talking about the whole deal here. I thought you meant just the lighting, since this thread is about lighting. (So lets keep it to that in this thread).