Skydome Light

Simulates light from a hemisphere or dome above the scene, representing the sky. 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. Multiple importance light 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 Skydome lighting.

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

The resolution controls the detail of glossy 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, so setting it too high affects interactivity in IPR.

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. Can be set to Mirrored Ball, Angular or Lat-long.


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.


The Sky Dome light will not appear in the reflections of a Standard shader. It is recommended to use Specular in combination with the Sky Dome light. If you want reflections to appear then you should use the Sky shader with 'Visible in Reflections' enabled.

The Skydome light will not work with Volume Scattering. You must use regular lights that have a precise location and size, and inverse-square decay.

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