Scene light and panorama

Options for light source and environment and reflection maps for 3D viewports may be configured using the Scene Light and Panorama tool Scene Light and Panorama tool. You can access the tool the following ways:

  • Click the Scene Light and Panorama tool Scene Light and Panorama tool on the toolbar.
  • Click Edit > Edit Scene Light and Panorama in the main menu.


The Light parameters control how objects are lit in the Viewport window Viewport:

Sun position source

Switches between Time and Month and Direct Solar Entry. For Time and Month to work, the Scene Coordinate System must be set correctly.


Time of sun position.

Time Zone

Time zone of sun position.


Month of sun position.

Solar elevation angle

Altitude of the sun, the angle between the horizon and the center of the sun's disc.

Solar azimuth angle

Azimuth angle of the sun.

Solar intensity

Scene light intensity.

Ambient intensity

Scene light ambient intensity.

Shadow attenuation

Attenuation of shadows (blend to black).

Ambient occlusion attenuation

Attenuation of screen space ambient occlusion (blend to black).

Shadow quality

Switches between Low, Medium, High, and Interactive.

Radius mode

Switches between Manual and Interactive.

Ambient occlusion radius

Radius in meters of screen space ambient occlusion samples.

Ambient occlusion samples

Number of screen space ambient occlusion samples, or Interactive.

Interactive modes

The Interactive modes are designed to deliver great visual quality without the need to manually adjust parameters.

  • When Shadow quality or Ambient occlusion samples are set to Interactive, the best visual quality is used when the camera stands still, while the quality is reduced based on performance when the camera moves.
  • When setting Radius mode to interactive, the ambient occlusion radius is automatically adjusted for best visual quality in the center region of the viewport. To tweak this, set the mode to Manual.

Ambient occlusion

CityEngine ambient occlusion uses screen space ambient occlusion, a special real-time rendering technique that approximates ambient light occlusion. Ambient occlusion is a shading method used in 3D computer graphics that helps add realism by taking into account attenuation of light due to occlusion. Ambient occlusion attempts to approximate the way light radiates in real life and is especially well suited for outdoor scenes.

Solid shading without ambient occlusion
Solid shading without ambient occlusion is shown.
Ambient occlusion enabled
Ambient occlusion shown as enabled.

Low ambient occlusion radius
Low ambient occlusion radius is shown.
High ambient occlusion radius
High ambient occlusion radius is shown.


The panorama settings contain the background skydome shown in the 3D viewports:

Environment Map

  • Image to be used as the environment map.
  • The environment map is used to texture the sky in a scene.

Reflection Map

  • Image to be used as the reflection map.
  • The reflection map is used on reflections on generated models that have reflection enabled in their material settings.


Show or hide the panorama.

The directory ce.lib/maps/panoramas contains a selection of panorama maps.

In this topic
  1. Light
  2. Panorama