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Adding light to sunset scenes in Bryce

Author: xalthorn

Tools Needed

  • Bryce


When you do a sunset scene, everything not facing the sun falls into darkness. If this is the effect you were aiming for, that's all well and good. If not, it can be annoying trying to get enough light on the scene so that you can see things a bit better.

This tutorial shows how you can add that extra light easily.


Step 1 - Our Sunset

To start off with, we need a sunset scene to mess around with. Here's one I prepared earlier.

You can see that the land masses are jet black, no light is falling onto the side we can see at all.


Step 2 - Into the Sky Lab

Everything we need to do is in the Sky Lab. To get there, click on the 'Sky and Fog' option at the top of the screen, and then click on the Cloud and Rainbow picture.

The Sky Lab has three screens, 'Sun and Moon', 'Cloud Cover', and 'Atmosphere'. We want to be in the 'Sun and Moon' screen.

Once you're there, you should see something like the following.


You'll notice that by default, the preview shows the Sky in relation to a simple sphere. This is a good idea if you have a complicated scene or if you're just fiddling with settings.

For the purposes of this tutorial, I want to see the preview rendered in the scene. To do this, click on the drop down selection arrow beneath the preview and select 'Render in Scene' from the list.

After changing that, the preview should change to something like below. I've circled the little drop down selector to help clarify things.


Step 3 - Add some ambience

In the same screen, there are two settings that will help us, an 'Ambient' colour and a 'Sky Dome' colour. The 'Ambient' colour sets the surface colour of every object in the scene.

I'll set the 'Ambient' colour to white and do a quick render to show that by itself, it has very little effect on what we're trying to achieve.



Step 4 - Let's try the Sky Dome

The 'Sky Dome' colour is different. This adds extra colour to everything in the scene that is facing the sky.

I'll put the 'Ambient' back to black, set the 'Sky Dome' colour to white and do a quick render. This has added enough light to allow us to see the parts that were in darkness before.



Step 5 - All together now

If we use the 'Ambient' colour at the same time as the 'Sky Dome' colour, it adds even more light to the scene.

I'll set both the 'Ambience' and 'Sky Dome' colours to white and do a quick render. This has added a bit more light to the scene.



Step 6 - Conclusion

There we go, a nice and easy way to add light to an otherwise frustrating scene.

Obviously, if you use different shades of grey rather than white, you will add different amounts of light. If you start playing with other colours, even more options become available to you.

Have fun.