Should we change the sandbox default environment?


We had a discussion in another thread on the forum about environment lighting and it was suggested that maybe we need to look at changing the default environment IBL in the sandbox to a more color neutral environment that still offers some good range in lighting, but doesn’t bias the color of the object with the environment colors.

We use a neutral studio environment on the team when we are showing off many of our PBR upgrades, and are wondering if the community at large would rather change to a more neutral studio environment rather than an exterior environment for the default environment. This is the environment we use internally:

And on an asset:

And used on the first two assets in our last PBR video: New PBR Features

And the environment for you to try: (1.5 MB)

This is simply a Maya render that can be changed or modified in any way, so we could make a few different options for everyone to use, but wanted to get a feel from everyone about what the default environment should be. One additional thing to think of with an environment like this. It’s made to be higher contrast to really define the surfaces of the model, but that means that using a blurred version of it as the skybox is usually too distracting behind the model. We would need to create a lower contrast version of this type of environment to serve as the default skybox.

But we’d like to get your thoughts on a few questions as approach any change to the default environment.

  • Do you think it should be an interior or exterior environment?
  • If you think it should be an exterior environment, what time of day should it be? Should it be overcast or have a bright light source? Should the environment be warm or cool?
  • How color neutral should it be?
  • What kinds of models are you using in the sandbox (product, architectural, character, etc.)?
  • Should the default light map be high contrast with strong HDR tones (well above 1.0, 1.0, 1.0) or should it be lower contrast without such strong light sources?

Let us know your thoughts on the default environment so we can make an informed decision going forward. Thanks for your input!

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Sandbox white albedo is gray?