This simulates light from a sphere or dome above the scene, representing the sky. It can also be used with high dynamic range (HDR) images to perform image-based environment lighting. This is the node which is typically used for lighting exterior scenes. 

This light is designed for outdoor scenes and is represented by a spherical dome in the background. Importance sampling will trace rays to specific directions of this dome. However, in an interior scene, most of these rays will hit an object, getting no contribution from the light at all and thus creating noise. In this situation, adding light_portals to the windows will help to reduce noise in an interior scene when using the skydome_light.

You can find a description of common light parameters on the lights page
. Additional attributes are described below.

Color Texture

To use a texture map as the light color, you must change the mode of the color parameter to texture or material.

In texture mode, you can load an image as a native C4D texture (Bitmap shader). This mode does not allow the use of an Arnold shader network.

In material mode, you can create an Arnold Material and drag & drop it to the color field. The root of the shader network has to be a texture-type shader (e.g. image).


The resolution controls the detail of reflections of the skydome. For most accurate results the Skydome light resolution must be set to match the HDRI image resolution, however, in many cases it can be set lower without a noticeable loss of detail in reflections. By default, the parameter is set to 1000. The higher the resolution parameter, the longer the skydome_light will take to precompute the importance tables for the light, which increases scene startup time.

The resolution attribute should be used with care. The higher the resolution value, the longer the skydome_light will take to precompute the importance map for that light. For high-resolution maps this can be very slow.


The type of map being connected. It can be set to Lat-long (most common), Mirrored Ball or Angular.

Portal Mode

Defines how the skydome light interacts with light portals.

  • off: turns off portals.
  • interior_only: blocks any light outside portals for interior-only scenes.
  • interior_exterior: lets light outside portals through for mixed interior and exterior scenes.
Blocking light outside portals more predictably reduces noise for interior-only scenes.


Enable this option if you want a matching result with the Cinema 4D Sky object which flips the texture compared to Arnold.



By default, skydome lights are directly visible as a background. Lowering the influence of the light of camera rays makes them invisible to the camera, and makes the background transparent.


Per-light scaling for transmission. Should be left at 1 to produce physically accurate results.

Diffuse / Specular / SSS / Volume

Per-light scaling for Camera, Transmission, Diffuse, Specular, SSS, Indirect and Volume. Weights scaling the light contribution to each of those components independently. Should be left at 1 to produce physically accurate results.

Only Area lights and Point lights (non-0 radius) are visible to the camera. Camera and Transmission values default to 0 with Area lights.

AOV Indirect

Outputs an indirect light AOV (the skydome_light outputs to direct light AOVs by default).

The skydome_light will not work with atmosphere_volume. You must use regular lights that have a precise location and size, and inverse-square decay.

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