Is there a tool to create seamless skybox textures from non-seamless photos?

If I want to create a skybox using images from my neighborhood, (a 360 street view in front of my house for example), first I used my iphone to take at least 6 or more images, one for each direction/inner face of the cube that is the skybox. (panorama on iphone is actually harder because it doesn’t quite get the top or bottom… also it’s hard to go 360 in a circle)

The tricky part is each image must be a perfect square and the pixels should match up seamlessly not only from left to right but also top to bottom.

What I did was I took the images and I laid them out on a large area in photoshop layers and tiled them next to each other as if you had unfolded a cardbox box. Then I painstakingly used the copy, clone, blur and smudge tools to push the pixels around the edges of the images so that they flowed into each other. It was still hard to do around the top and bottom faces because when laid out that way not every face can be adjacent to each other. The only way to test if this looked right was trial and error.

Am I over thinking this? Does anyone have an easier way to do this?

Hi owen,

The easiest way to do this is with a 360-degree camera, but that’s a pretty specialized and kind of expensive (more so than I remember, actually) piece of gear. Apart from that, you can use a panorama stitcher to automatically do some of the work you were doing by hand; I don’t know exactly what kind of results you’d get with that out of the box, but it might at least reduce the amount of touching-up you had to do.

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does the 360 degree camera and the panorama stitcher give you a single image file? How do you know where to cut the 6 images needed for the skybox? In particular the top and bottom ones get tricky because they need to border each side face.

I guess in the end these don’t really turn out that well anyway. Any close objects that you have on the images have distorted perspective.

I think maybe what I really want is being able to have a seamless gradients from one corner of skybox to another corner. For example: I wish we could specify two (or maybe a series of) colors, but instead of the gradient going from top to bottom of a face, I want to mimic the sky of the setting sun where we get yellows, oranges and pinks near one corner and then blending into blues up high then deep purples to black, opposite the setting sun. Is that possible with skybox? Or is this easier to do using some other technique?

(I think facebook’s horizon has a scene environmental setting where you can specify time of year for winter, summer, etc and the of day and it will choose an ambient color for you.)

I think I’ll try out SkyMaterial, that might suit my needs better.