|Name of gadget||Sun & Sky|
|Section||Cameras & Lighting|
|Number of Tweak pages||2|
|Last updated||2 April 2020 [v2.08]|
With only rare exceptions, a Scene needs a light source and Dreams provides a standard illumination solution. Even when creating completely new scenes, you’ll get a default Sun and Sky.
Grabbing this gadget from your logic gadgets and stamping it in your scene doesn’t create a new “Sun” (or Sky), it merely allows you to customise the built-in one, like a global setting. For this reason, only one of these can be active at any one time – but that won’t stop you switching between them or animating changes to their settings. (OK, technically, you can have multiple gadgets active, in which case settings like the brightness and colour will be averaged, but you can only have one sun and one selection of sky image at a time.)
The Sun appears as a patch of brightness in the sky (if you want it to appear!) and you can change its location, brightness, colour and size. You can also choose whether it casts shadows. Although it’s called the Sun, you could make it a less intense, silvery shade in a dark sky to stand in for a full moon.
The Sky has a base colour you can tweak, as well as a number of styles and fleck types to choose from. You can also determine the overall fogginess of the Scene and make the horizon more or less distinct.
You can make a couple of changes to the Sun and Sky directly on the gadget that can’t be made directly through the tweak menu (at present). These are the rotational position of the Sun and of the Sky’s pattern, as well as the “distance” (brightness) of the sun. Grab, move and resize the bright “Sun” gizmo on the gadget itself to change its angle, brightness and size; grab and rotate the sky sphere (the sphere just above the gadget) to rotate the Sky image. To change these while a Scene is playing, you will need to use the Action Recorder or Keyframes.
Example Tutorial (adapted from Media Molecule)
The best way to see all the effects that you can achieve with the Sun & Sky gadget is to stamp one in a scene and fiddle with it!
- Stamp a Sun & Sky gadget into your scene (preferably one with plenty of sky in it!)
- The big ball on top of the gadget is the Sky. Grab it (R2 trigger) and spin it, and watch the scene’s sky image revolve.
- The small bright ball on a line above the Sky part is the Sun. Grab it (R2 trigger) and move it around the centre of the Sky. Note how shadows and lighting shifts accordingly, and the sun probably appears in the sky when the sun is pointing “away” from the gadget.
- Open the tweak menu and change the colour of the sun, maybe give it a blue colouration and see what effect that has.
- With the sun visible in the scene, try making it larger and smaller by dragging the Sun Size slider and see the range of sizes avaialble.
- Switch the “Sun Visible” tweak off and on again to see that it affects only the appearance in the sky, not the illumination.
- Click on the Sky Properties tab of the tweak screen.
- Change the Sky Image and see what effects that has.
- Change the Sky Fleck Type to see how that affects the sky’s appearance.
Feel free to look through all the settings available. When you’re trying to find the right mood for your scene, it pays to experiment!
Click on arrows to reveal
Tweak Menu 1: Sun Properties
[image from v2.07; unchanged in 2.08]
- Menu page indicator
Whether you’re after the white hot midday sun of a scorching desert or the ruby rays of a relaxing tropical sunset, you can pick any colour for your sun right here. Pale blues may suggest the moon instead, or try a greenish or purple look for a surreal or alien landscape.
- Sun Brightness
Here you can specify how bright the sun appears in the sky.
- Sun Size
This tweak allows you to specify everything from a small point of light to a giant catastrophe-suggestive star.
- Sun Visible
The sun doesn’t have to appear in the sky to illuminate the scene and cast shadows and sometimes you won’t want it cluttering up the sky. Tidy it away by deactivating this option.
- Cast Shadows
By default, the sun casts shadows from elements in your scene, but perhaps you don’t want that – maybe you’re underground or it’s just a cloudy day. Deactivate this option to deactivate shadows. And if you’re trying to optimise performance, note that fewer shadows means better frame rates in Dreams.
- Sun Shadow Scale vs Detail
This tweak allows you to change the balance of sunlight shadows over distance – you can increase the level of detail close to the camera at the expense of shadows further away (low %) or increase the overall detail further from the camera at the expense of close detail and having softer shadow edges (high %). The effect can help make a scene seem small or, conversely, expansive.
This is where you turn the gadget on/off.
Tweak Menu 2: Sky Properties
[image from v2.08]
- Menu page indicator
- Sky Image
This slider can be used to select one of a number of built-in patterns for the sky. You can still impose a “tint” colour for the pattern, and use saturation and hue to further subtly alter its appearance. Not to mention rotating the whole sky using the widget directly. Combined with Fleck Type, the sky can adopt a whole range of appearances.
- Sky Fleck Type
The sky is drawn from flecks – like almost everything in Dreams – and by specifying the fleck type here you can dramatically alter the “texture” of the sky.
- Sky Brightness
Specify how bright (or dim) you want the sky to be, and the amount of corresponding illumination on the elements of your Sccene. Pull it all the way down for a night scene or ramp it up for high noon in dry, blistering heat.
- Sky Saturation
Not raindrops but colour! Use this slider to determine how much colour the sky has – if this is a low value, your skies will be very grey, regardless of colour.
- Sky Hue Cycle
Use this slider to change the sky’s hue; it works better with stronger colours. You can cycle through reddish to blueish tones. This affects all the colours in the sky image equally so if your sky ranges from red to yellow, say, a variation in hue to make the red look more yellow will also make the yellow look greener as a knock-on effect.
- Sky Tint Colour
When you need to get the sky to the perfect colour, the selection of Sky Images and the Hue Cycle probably won’t be enough on its own. Use the Sky Tint Colour to add a tinge of any colour you choose to the atmosphere, and use the Intensity slider below to determine how subtle the effect is.
- Sky Tint Intensity
Having selected a Sky Tint Colour to add to the sky, increase this value to increase the amount of effect that has.
- Horizon Definition
Use this to choose between a hazier or sharper horizon definition.
- Fleck Shade Randomness
Use this to change the amount of random variation in the brightness of the flecks that make up the sky, from subtle to dramatic. With Sky Tint Intensity at 200%, Horizon Definition and Fleck Shade Randomness at 0% you can create a sky that is just one block of colour.
- Fog Range
There is a default degree of “mistiness” in your scene, beyond which elements become increasingly obscured. Use this tweak to determine what that distance is. A lower distance can help improve performance when you’re optimising your level, or just lend an eerie effect to background elements. Note that there is also a Fog gadget that can be used for localised fog patches.
This is where you turn the gadget on/off.
Troubleshooting your sun and sky: one very common problem with this gadget is that no matter what settings you use, the sun and sky don’t seem to change as much as you’d like; you might set the sky to rich red, full intensity, but only get a vague purple, for example. In situations like this, far and away the most likely culprit is another Sun & Sky gadget lurking somewhere in your scene. When two or more are active, Dreams takes the average between them.
To solve the problem, find the rogue gadget and turn its power off or delete it altogether. Finding it can be a problem – it may be sneakily embedded inside a group or on a microchip. If you’re struggling to find it, try deleting one object at a time from your scene and then undoing the deletion before moving to the next one. Unless you suspect it’s your own Sun & Sky gadget, placed earlier, concentrate on any assets stamped in from the Dreamiverse. Creators sometimes leave these gadgets in their puppets and sculpts not knowing what problems it can cause. If you delete an object and the sky changes, you can be sure that there is something in that object affecting the environment lighting. Also look out for the Grade & Effects gadget that can cause similar interference.
v2.03: Fleck Shade Randomness tweak added to allow fine-tuning of the sky’s appearance.
v2.08: Sun Shadow Scale vs Detail tweak added to give the creator choice in the balance between shadow drawing detail and distance.