Tuesday, December 26th, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Blockade Labs rolls out Skybox AI 0.9

Originally posted on 27 June 2023. Scroll down for news of the Skybox AI 0.9 update.

Blockade Labs has updated Skybox AI, its browser-based generative AI tool for creating skybox environments from text prompts or rough sketches.

As well as 360-degree environment maps in JPG, PNG, EXR or HDR format, complete with depth maps, users can now download 3D environment meshes in GLB format.

Generate 6K 360-degree environments for use in games and DCC software
Currently available in early access, Skybox AI is an AI-based online tool that enables users to generate 360-degree panoramic images for use as backgrounds in games or DCC applications.

To guide the result, users enter a 400-character text prompt to define the look and content of the skybox.

Users can also choose from a set of preset art styles, including both photorealistic and stylised looks suitable for games, animations, matte paintings or architectural visualisations.

Once generated, the skybox can be downloaded as a 6,144 x 3,072px JPEG image in latlong format, with the option to generate a corresponding 2,048 x 1,024px depth map.

Sketch mode turns rough doodles into detailed skyboxes
Although Skybox AI has generated a lot of positive community feedback since its launch, excitement kicked up a notch in May 2023 with the rollout of Sketch mode.

Available on desktop machines and larger tablets, it enables users to sketch out the layout of the skybox they want to generate and have Skybox AI turn the rough doodle into a detailed environment.

Early user examples ranged from tracing over a photo of the Himalayas to generate a fantasy mountainscape to generating a sci-fi corridor inspired by the TRON movies.

Skybox AI 0.5: free user accounts let you access your skybox creation history
To that, Skybox AI 0.5, released in June, adds the option to register for a free user account on the Skybox AI website itself.

Accounts function as a history feature, enabling users to browse their previous skyboxes and review the prompts used to create them, and to re-download or remix the images.

Updated 10 July 2023: Blockade Labs has released Skybox AI 0.5.2.

Although it’s a small change in version number, it’s a significant update, rolling out the platform’s AI Model V2, which increases the visual fidelity of the images generated.

As well as generating images with more fine detail and better volumetric lighting, the new AI model has a “vastly better understanding” of creative prompts.

You can see side-by-side comparisons of the old and new AI models in the video above.

Updated 3 August 2023: Blockade Labs has released Skybox AI 0.6 and 0.6.1.

The releases mark the start of commercial pricing for the service.

While you can still register for a free account, they are now limited to 15 skybox generations per month, and the skyboxes they generate are watermarked.

Depth maps are now restricted to paid accounts, along with new advanced features like the prompt enhancer system (shown above), which fleshes out brief text prompts into ones that generate better results.

Users with paid subscriptions also get access to new readymade Premium art styles.

Updated 25 August 2023: Blockade Labs has released Skybox AI 0.7.

The update adds the option to export images in EXR and HDR format, which the video above describes as “HDRI” – although according to the welcome screen on the site, the files aren’t 32-bit images, so while they could be used to light a 3D scene in a DCC app, they wouldn’t actually be High Dynamic Range images.

As well as latlong images, it is also now possible to export environments as PNG cube maps, and to export HD videos of the environment.

Updated 30 October 2023: Blockade Labs has released Skybox AI 0.8.

The update expands the set of art styles available, with Technowizard subscriptions getting access to nine experimental styles, described as “extra powerful, but also more unpredictable”.

The new styles, shown in the video above, range from graphic design-inspired looks, including vector art and linocut effects, to more realistic ‘organic architecture’.

Lower-tier accounts now have access to 32 art styles, grouped by theme in the style menu.

Updated 26 December 2023: Blockade Labs has released Skybox AI 0.9.1.

The update makes it possible to generate world meshes from the 360-degree skybox image, complete with mid-distance elements like 3D buildings.

The feature, which uses Neural Radiance Fields (NeRF) to convert the 3D image into a 3D mesh, was previewed last month, although the algorithm has since been improved.

Meshes can be downloaded in GLB format at four resolutions, from low-poly to ‘epic’.

Updated 19 February 2024: Blockage Labs has released a free Unity integration plugin for Skybox AI, making it possible to generate skyboxes and 3D meshes inside the game engine.

Price and system requirements
Skybox AI is currently in beta. It’s browser-based, so it should run in standard modern web browsers, although some features are only available on desktop machines or larger tablets.

The free Unity integration plugin is compatible with Unity 2021.3.11+.

Users with free accounts can download up to 15 skyboxes per month. Exports are watermarked, and are licensed under a CC-BY licence.

Basic accounts cost $12/month or $120/year, Pro accounts cost $24/month or $240/year, and Technowizard accounts cost $60/month or $576/year.

More expensive subscriptions include advanced features – 3D mesh generation is currently restricted to Technowizard accounts – and can generate more skyboxes per month.

Try browser-based generative AI tool Skybox AI in early access

Read the Skybox AI terms of service
(Grants Blockade Labs a perpetual non-exclusive licence to content created using Skybox AI)

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