Preetham Sky Model

Preetham Sky Model

The Preetham sky model simulates sky color for a given time (year, day of year and time of day) and location (latitude, longitude). The main idea is to compute the color at zenith and use a clever distribution technique to approximate the rest of the hemisphere. This leads to a cheap, closed-form solution that is reasonably close to meteorological measurements and relatively easy to implement. However, this model is not perfect, and a rigorous criticism was made recently. In spite of this, the Preetham sky model provides nice backgrounds to CG scenes, especially when compared to many of the simpler alternatives, such as single colors or gradients. The main alternative is to go out and acquire panoramic photographs of real skies, a task that requires expensive hardware and is time-consuming. Also, photographs cannot be animated over time, providing only static snapshots of lighting conditions. Finally, this implementation could be improved by adding physically based glare and some form of tone mapping.


Download day-cycle [.mov]


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