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Version: 3.8.0

Module 5: Make a Sky Castle Effect

Augmented reality effects can be applied to your environment to create an immersive feel. Sky effects in particular can help you showcase your creativity and engage your users. The Sky Castle template is easily customized and a great way to dive into AR environment effects.

This module walks through how to use and customize the Sky Castle template.

Module Objectives: By the end of this module, you should be comfortable with the following objectives:

  • Create your own unique sky effect using downloaded or created assets
  • Describe the three main parts of the Sky Castle template and how they can be customized
  • Apply your understanding of render groups to objects in AR effects

This video was recorded using Effect House v2.3.0. Later versions of Effect House have features that may not be covered in this video.

Use the Sky Castle Template

Open Effect House, go to Templates, and select the Sky Castle template.

Then select the appropriate preview media. Click the Preview menu, hover over Environment, and select Sky.

Notice that there are two render groups in the Hierarchy panel: General and 2D Foreground Effects.

Main Elements

There are three main parts to the Sky Castle effect: the Skybox, the AR Container, and the 2D Foreground Effects render group.

The Skybox object is a cube object with a skybox material that gets applied to your environment. Try unchecking the Skybox in the Hierarchy panel to see what it does. Notice that this Skybox is responsible for the pink sky background, so turning it off will reveal the original sky environment.

The AR Container is a Scene Object that contains the AR objects, which in this case, are the castle and rocks. All objects nested under the AR Container are included in the environment as floating objects. So, if you uncheck the AR Container in the Hierarchy panel, the castle and rocks will disappear.

The 2D Foreground Effects render group houses the Sky Segmentation object. Notice that the Skybox and AR Container fill the sky seamlessly behind the buildings. This is because of two things: first, the Sky Segmentation object detects and separates out the sky in the preview, allowing for realistic integration with your virtual effect. Second, the 2D Foreground Effects render group is at the bottom of the Hierarchy panel, which means that the Sky Segmentation Texture renders after other objects, so the buildings appear in the foreground. Therefore, turning off Sky Segmentation causes the buildings to be hidden by the Skybox and AR Container objects.

Customize the Sky Effect

Customize the Skybox

To customize what the Skybox looks like, import your own Skybox cubemap by going to the Assets panel, clicking the Add button [+], going to Import, and then selecting Cubemap.

When preparing your cubemap texture, ensure that the image ratio is 2:1, and the file doesn't exceed 1 MB in size. You can find your imported cubemap texture in the Textures folder.

Next, go to the Assets panel, open the Skybox folder, then open the Materials folder, and select Skybox_Mat. In the Inspector panel, click the Skybox Texture field, select your newly-imported texture, and click OK.

Customize the AR Container

To add different objects to the environment, you can either create your own, or browse for 3D objects in the Asset Library.

To import a premade object, open the Asset Library, find an object you like, and then click the download icon.

The object is uploaded directly into Effect House, into the Assets panel. Then drag the object on top of the AR Container in the Hierarchy panel, thereby placing it within the AR Container.

Then hide the Castle And Rocks from view by unchecking them in the Hierarchy panel, and readjust the position of your object in the Scene panel to see it floating above the buildings.

Learn More

Sky Castle (template)


Scene Object

Render Groups and Rendering Order