Friday, April 19th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Blockade Labs launches Skybox AI Model 3

Blockade Labs has rolled out a major update to Skybox AI, its browser-based generative AI tool for creating skybox environments from text prompts or rough sketches.

Its new AI Model 3 can generate 360-degree environment maps for games and real-time applications at 8K resolution, up from 6K in the previous releases.

Generate 360-degree environments for use in games and DCC software
Released in early access last year, 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.

A Unity plugin makes it possible to generate skyboxes from within the game engine, and the developers provide an API for integration with other software.

According to Blockade Labs, over 1.5 million users have tried it, and while most will be hobbyists, or people simply testing the technology out, it has been used in demos by NVIDIA and T-Mobile, and the technology is used in VR apps for Meta Quest and Vision Pro headsets.

Control the look and layout of environments with text prompts and rough sketches
The look and content of the environment are guided by text prompts, with the option to add a rough sketch to guide the layout of the scene.

Users can choose from a range of preset art styles, including both stylized and more realistic looks suitable for games, animations and matte paintings.

There is also a preset for generating skydomes, without any ground objects, to use as conventional skyboxes.

Generate equirectangular images with depth maps, cube maps, or 3D environment meshes
Once generated, the environment can be downloaded as an equirectangular PNG or JPEG image with a corresponding depth map, or as a cube map.

It is possible to export images in EXR and HDR format, although when the option was introduced, the files generated weren’t actually High Dynamic Range images. We’ve contacted Blockade Labs to see whether that has changed, and will update if we hear back.

Updated 7 May 2024: Actual HDRI generation is coming “later in 2024”.

There is also an experimental new option use Neural Radiance Fields (NeRF) to generate a 3D environment mesh based on the 2D image, which can be downloaded in GLB format.

AI Model 3 generates detailed environment images at 8K resolution
The new AI Model 3 makes it possible to generate much larger and more detailed images, raising the resolution for equirectangular images from 6K to 8K (8,192 x 4,096px).

At the minute, it comes with fewer preset styles than AI Model 2 – still available alongside it – and you can’t remix or edit images generated with it, or generate 3D meshes from them.

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

The Unity integration plugin is compatible with Unity 2021.3.11+.

Users with free accounts can generate up to 15 skyboxes per month, but actually downloading them requires a paid subscription.

Basic subscriptions cost $12/month or $120/year, and make it possible to generate and download up to 100 skyboxes per month under a CC BY license.

Pro subscriptions cost $24/month or $240/year, and make it possible to generate and download up to 250 skyboxes per month, with full commercial licensing.

Technowizard subscriptions cost $60/month or $576/year, have no limits on the number of assets generated, and include experimental features like 3D mesh generation.

Try browser-based generative AI tool Skybox AI

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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