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By Emre Senoglu
As I was playing around with VBE this morning, I found a very simple way to change the default skybox with any skybox image you wish. Here is the effect:

First, to be able to change the default skybox with one of your own, you need to have a skybox image. ( To read more about what a skybox is, read this wiki article: ) To get a decent skybox image I recommend visiting Under the "Skies 360" category pick any image that you like and then from the download page instead of chosing the panorama looking image, chose the "cubemap" image and save to your hard disk:

Now this part can get a bit tricky. We need to open this image in photoshop and divide it into pieces. In fact, you will realise that the image actually consists of 6 square images united as a panorama ( not in the right order at the moment however ).

So one by one we select these "squares" with the marquee tool and cut them as a new layer. After that we'll have 6 different layers, and now we need to arrange them so we can name them accordingly to those of VBE's default skymap.

Here is the layout of VBE's default skybox (I'll explain the letters later on):

Now that we have them arranged like to that of VBE, we need to name each layer with the same letters of VBE skymap. So the one on the top the "cube" would be called yp, the bottom face of the "cube" yn and so on.

Now, if you go to the VBE directory (Inside the Graphisoft folder on Mac OS) and go inside /data/textures you'll actually see a folder called "skybox" that contains 6 different sky images. And you'll see that the file names are named accordingly to match the box sides (yp means top, yn bottom etc.)

So, what we need to do at this point is to save our custom skymap images with the names of their layers, create another folder called "skybox1" next to the existing "skybox" folder inside the VBE directory. The thing to remember when saving, is to pick the "Targa" format from the photoshop save dial. Then you can name the "skybox" folder to "skybox_default" and your custom "skybox1" folder to "skybox".

And voila! The next time you launch VBE you can see your custom skymap show up! :D
The quality might not be that great, but thats just because of the low resolution of the texture we downloaded. If you somehow have a high-res skymap image (you can do that by getting a membership from cgtextures, they're far cheaper than the other texture sites) then the results with VBE would be a lot better :)
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By archibaldo
Nice tips . Horizontal Cross Panorama - is the panorama type you described .

The software named Bixorama can convert other panorama types into your VBE format .

1) QuickTime VR .MOV
2) DirectX .DDS
3) Latitiude Longitude
3) Latitiude Longitude
4) Horizontal Cross
5) Vertical Cross
6) Strip
7) Strip XYZ
8) Single Files
9) Sphere Map
10) Mirror Ball
11) Heart Shaped

So you can make your own panorama for different project in archicad or artlantis and save as MOV panorama and you can convert for VBE.

AS A TEST IN Artlantis i have rendered six separate renderings of a simple empty scene with ground plane ( with white-blue fog at horizon line )
To have not corners effect you have to distort with Bixorama -
Without distortion you can have visible corners effect.
After that i splited the six squared images with photoshop .
Last edited by archibaldo on Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:46 am, edited 4 times in total.
Hi Emre,

Your description made the basis of our ArchiCAD Wiki article that can be found here:
To thank you this great tip we sent a gift to the authors by post. I hope you have already received it. :wink:

Best regards,