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LightWave lets you change the colors of the backdrop behind all of the objects in a scene. The settings are on the Backdrop Tab of the Effects Panel (Top menu > Backdrop). You can elect to have a solid color using the Backdrop Color setting or a Gradient Backdrop. By default, the backdrop is solid black.


If you have any reflective surfaces, and you want the backdrop included in the reflection, set the Reflection options on the Surface Editor’s Environment Tab to one of the backdrop options.

Gradient Backdrops

LightWave’s Gradient Backdrop settings essentially provide a quick earth-like environment background. Note that no shadows can be cast on the backdrop since it isn’t there. Although you‘re unlikely to use it much for real-life imagery, it is great for faking a sky behind mountain objects, instructional animations, and logo animations. Use it when you need something to stick in the background.

There are two gradient areas. Think of it as a huge sphere cut into two halves. One half rests on top of the Y-axis plane, and the other half sits directly beneath it.

The Sky Color begins all around the edge of the top half of the sphere and gradually turns into the Zenith Color moving towards the top. The Ground Color starts all around the edge of the bottom half of the sphere and progressively turns into the Nadir Color moving towards the bottom. Note that there is no gradual change of color between the Sky Color and Ground Color.

If you want the Gradient Backdrop to blend everywhere with no sharp color change, make the Sky Color and Ground Color the same.

The camera is always positioned right in the center of the sphere. Thus, if you move the camera, the Gradient Backdrop will always look the same. However, if you rotate the camera, you will see the various colors.

Left: Sky and Ground Squeeze both at 6.0, Right: Both at 20

The Sky Squeeze value determines how the Zenith and Sky colors are blended. The Ground Squeeze value determines how the Ground and Nadir colors are blended. The default value of 6.0 yields a nice spread between the various colors. A lower value will spread the change in colors over a greater area, and a higher value will compress the change.