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CubeMap Node

The Cube Map node creates texture maps using separate images for each face of the cube. It can also extract the individual faces of the cube from a single image containing an unfolded cube in the Vertical or Horizontal Cross layouts.

A cube map is produced by mounting six cameras at 90 degrees angle of views to point up, down, left, right, front, and back.

The node provides options to set the reference coordinate system and rotation for the resulting texture map. The Cube Map node is typically used to produce environment maps for distant areas (such as skies or horizons) or reflection and refraction maps.

CubeMap Node Inputs

The Inputs on this node change based on the settings of the Layout menu in the Inspector. The single input uses a 2D image for the entire cube, while six inputs can handle a different 2D image for each side of a cube.

  • CrossImage: The orange Cross Image input is visible by default or when the Layout menu in the Inspector is set to either Vertical Cross or Horizontal Cross. The input accepts a 2D image.
  • CubeMap.[DIRECTION]: These six multi-colored inputs are visible only when the Layout menu in the Inspector is set to Separate Images. Each input accepts an image aligned to match the left, right, top, bottom, front, and back faces.

CubeMap Node Setup

The Cube Map node uses a vertical or horizontal cross image represented by MediaIn2 node connected into the orange cross image input. The Cube Map node is used similarly to the Sphere Map node. It creates an environment that surrounds the geometry connected to a Shader node.

CubeMap Node Controls Tab

Layout
The Layout menu determines the type and number of inputs for the cube map texture. Valid options are:

  • Separate Images: This option exposes six inputs on the node, one for each face of the cube. If the separate images are not square or not of the same size, they are rescaled into the largest 1:1 image that can contain all of them.
  • Vertical Cross: This option exposes a single input on the node. The image should be an unwrapped texture of a cube containing all the faces organized into a Vertical Cross formation, where the height is larger than the width. If the image aspect of the cross image is not 3:4, the CubeMap node crops it down so it matches the applicable aspect ratio.
  • Horizontal Cross: This option exposes a single input on the node. The image should be an unwrapped texture of a cube containing all the faces organized into a Horizontal Cross formation, where the width is larger than the height. If the image aspect of the cross image is not 4:3, the CubeMap node crops it down so that matches the applicable aspect ratio.

Coordinate System
The coordinate system menu sets the position values used when converting the image into a texture.

  • Model: This option orients the texture along the object local coordinate system.
  • World: This option orients the resulting texture using the global or world coordinate system.
  • Eye: This option aligns the texture map to the coordinate system of the camera or viewer.

Rotation
The rotation controls are divided into buttons that select the order of rotation along each axis of the texture. For example, XYZ would apply the rotation to the X axis first, followed by the Y axis, and finally the Z axis. The other half of the rotation controls are dials that rotate the texture around its pivot point.

Warn About Bad Dimensions
Selecting this checkbox displays a warning message on the console if the dimensions of the image provided did not meet the requirements of the selected orientation mode.

Material ID
This slider sets the numeric identifier assigned to this material. This value is rendered into the MatID auxiliary channel if the corresponding option is enabled in the renderer.

CubeMap Node Settings Tab

The Settings tab in the Inspector is duplicated in other 3D nodes. These common controls are described in detail HERE.

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About the Author

Justin Robinson is a Certified DaVinci Resolve, Fusion & Fairlight instructor who is known for simplifying concepts and techniques for anyone looking to learn any aspect of the video post-production workflow. Justin is the founder of JayAreTV, a training and premade asset website offering affordable and accessible video post-production education. You can follow Justin on Twitter at @JayAreTV YouTube at JayAreTV or Facebook at MrJayAreTV

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