Flying High in the Sky

Josh Vang
4 min readJun 10, 2021

In Unity, one of the aesthetics a developer can do to make their game stand out is implementing a skybox. Unity Manual describes it as a wrapper around the scene that shows what the world looks like beyond your geometry.

Essentially, a skybox is an object, a 6-sided object in this case, that encompasses the game within. A great example is whenever someone looks at the horizon; even though the sky is above us, when looking far ahead, it looks like the sky and the surface meets to create a line.

Looking at the horizon; Source: Unsplash

Why would you want to create a skybox?

Using a skybox is probably one of the easiest way to set the tone for the scene. Although by default Unity has one implemented, this skybox won’t convey what you, as the developer, want the player to feel when they’re in the scene.

Unity’s default skybox

The above image has the Unity default skybox implemented. Even though it might look okay aesthetically, it doesn’t convey what I envision.

Lighting set to Red

On the other hand, just by changing a few settings, primarily setting it to use the color red and removing the skybox, the room become less sterile and more haunted and cursed.

Fully Implemented Skybox

Lastly, just by creating a Skybox material, I created a city skyline that conveys to the player that it’s currently nighttime and they’re room within this vast concrete jungle.

Creating a Skybox

Luckily for us, Unity has streamline and simplified the steps needed to create your very own skybox!

Initial Step: Creating the Images needed for your skybox

Before you start, you’ll need images for your as it’s required to have 6 images. In addition, you would want all of them to have the same sizes, preferably 512x512 px or bigger to lower the chances of blurriness.

Lastly, you would want your image to follow this pattern.

  • X (red) represent the Left(+) and Right (-)
  • Y (green) represent the Top (+) and Bottom (-)
  • Z (blue) represent the Front (+) and Back (-)

Step 1: Create a new Material

To create a material, just right-click in the Project -> Create -> Material

Step 2: Set Shader to “Skybox/6-sided”

Selecting the material you just created in Step 1, in the Inspector panel and underneath the material’s name, you’ll find the Shader options.

After clicking on the drop down menu, scroll down to Skybox and select 6 Sided.

To ensure the material is correct, the Shader will be Skybox/6 sided

Step 3: Fill in the sides

Now, it’s time to populate the materials with the images you created in the beginning.

Step 4: Adding the Skybox into your Scene

Now, after populating the skybox material with the images you created, it’s time to switch out the default skybox material with the new one.

Open the Lighting tab by going to Windows -> Rendering -> Lighting

After it appears, click on the Environment tab and at the top should be an option called Skybox Material. Either drag the new Skybox material into this option or locate it by clicking on the circle on the right.

Once you let Unity recompile the lighting, your skybox will be implemented into your game!