Sun + Sky model in Rhino

Is there a way to use a Sun + Sky model in Rhino, similar to V-Ray?

Currently it is possible to use the sun, which also changes her color/hue. However I could not find a way to also visualize the corresponding sky visible as an HDRI environment…

This question applies to Cycles as well as proRender.


Create a new basic environment. Then set a physical sky as the sky texture. Don’t forget to set the physical sky texture to use document sun.


That way when you change the sun location the texture will update.

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@nathanletwory, hmm I could not manage to find these settings here…

You should click on Background image, and set the Physical Sky Texture there. What you try to do in your screenshots is change the environment type - that doesn’t work, as you’ve noticed.

When I click on assign texture for the background image, it only asks me for a file path. Is there a default location of the physical sky texture?

In the file dialog click on the More Types button.

From there select Physical Sky Texture

thanks that worked, although that button is a bit hard to notice…

this is what I got with Cycles:

and this is what I get with proRender with the same settings:

Interesting, that they differ so strongly… Only when adjusting the sun intensity to 3, you get a similar result:

Two questions:

  1. Is there a bug with proRender, that it looks so dark?
  2. In both engines, one cannot change the skylight intensity - it is always at 0 / changing the value has no effect on the rendering. Why is this the case?

I’ll leave that up to @Joshua_Kennedy to answer.

On Windows that setting is grayed out to tell you it cannot be changed


Not sure why it can’t be changed though.

I can’t say off the top of my head what the difference is between Cycles and ProRender. I will log a bug and take a closer look when I get a chance.

@Joshua_Kennedy, any updates on this topic?

I’ve not had a chance to look yet. I’ve got some time set aside to look at ProRender soon and hopefully I’ll have an answer for you then.

@nathanletwory, @Joshua_Kennedy this option is not updating automatically on my machine btw. When changing the time of day, the sky hdri is not changing with it. Only after toggling Use document sun on and off, does the hdri change…

I’m not able to reproduce this. I’ve noticed the update occurs when the environment dialog is closed and will occur whether or not the “Use document sun” check is modified. I’m guessing you expect to see updates as you change the Time of Day slider?

interesting… this is the behavior I am experiencing on my machine

Exactly, especially problematic if you want to create a SunPath animation with an HDRI sky as a background…

I can see what you’re talking about now. It’s logged as RH-65535. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Is there a way to add clouds to the sky using rhino like using the sun and sky controls? Or a plug-in that’s all controlled through rhino rendering protocol?

There currently is not a way to do that in Rhino, nor do I know of any plug-ins who do that. I assume you mean procedural cloud generation in the sky texture, not actual procedural cloud geometry.

Hi @WilliamReynolds ,

You might be interested in the sky environments here HDRIs: Skies • Poly Haven . Drag and drop into a Rhino viewport and choose to make an Environment. Then choose which channels, background/reflection/skylight you want to use it in via the Rendering panel.

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Yes sir, I had the environment already, so like Nathan mentioned in other topic I downloaded a sky with clouds and modified the sky hdri that’s rhinos default sky with switching it out with cloudy sky and looks fine until I buy a power horse computer which can handle Vray or whatever I finally go with. Thanks!