Justin Nearing

Making a skybox in Unreal.

Following this tutorial:

Get/Create the skybox texture.

Most tutorials are just using a generative space picture maker thing. Layered noise and point lights. I have little interest in this, I want to use real space.

The James Webb Space Telescope takes pictures of real space. Big ol pictures too. Lets use that.

Now just popping that in Unreal as the skybox is literally disgusting.

There’s two issues we need to correct here:

  1. Dat some low res 💩
  2. Super visible seams. When the texture is wrapped each end of the texture touches eachother. So you have to do some fancy to fix the seam

Fixing the Image

I use Krita as my open source photoshop equivalent. I opened it in there.

  • Image → Resize Canvas; I YOLO doubled the size, I also made it a perfect square.
New layer, black paint bucket, dump
Next I grabbed a section of the background stars, started copypasta into the blackness.

With these fixes I the image looks like this:


Import to Unreal

For reasons beyond my limited understanding, Skyboxes in Unreal appear to only accept HDR images. What an HDR image is is probably easy to research and understand, but I’m not here for context, nor understanding. I am here for progress.

Truly, I am a modern man.

My guess is it has something to do with light information that Materials can play with, but the point is Krita can’t save an HDR.

Thankfully there’s a random website that converts:

Through the magic of science, the 14 MB PNG has been converted into a 37 MB HDR image. Progress!

Open the Content Drawer and a file explorer, then drag that bad boy in.

It should display as Texture Cube. Texture is out. Must be Cube.

There’s some setting in the tutorial to add, need to create the material and a skybox blueprint.

It still looks like garbage


And so concludes my bullshit tutorial.

We tried and failed, then tried some more and failed again.

We laughed and learned, and be it a far cry from a story of perseverance, we get a story of one mans half-baked attempts at making a skybox in Unreal. It’s almost as if you need a real artist to actually build something real. I’m not that guy. Truly, I am a modern man.