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Chapter 9. CUSTOMIZING LIGHT, BACKGROUND... > Sky, Ground, and Backgrounds

Sky, Ground, and Backgrounds

In the real world, we're accustomed to an outside environment in which a sky is above us and ground is below our feet. In addition, a panoramic backdrop seems to be lurking far off in the horizon, behind objects in the foreground. If you're standing in the middle of the lone prairie, for example, a distant mountain range set against a blue sky might be that backdrop. When in Times Square, however, buildings form the background against which everything else appears.

VRML worlds, too, can benefit from sky, ground, and backdrops. Using VRML's Background node you can mimic the outside environment of our real world, creating sky, ground, and panoramic backgrounds. In addition to giving your virtual worlds a greater sense of realism, these elements also assist the user in navigation. Because the laws of physics that govern our physical world don't apply in the virtual world, it's quite easy to get turned upside down when exploring a VRML scene. A sky, ground, or background image, however, can give disoriented users an immediate sense of up and down, providing them with the visual cues they need to reorient themselves.


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