How to put awesome Nebulae into the background of your tiltbrush sketches

Image for post
Image for post
WIP really neat spacey scene

I stumbled across Curtis Holts ‘Advanced Nebula’ tutorial on youtube a few weeks after purchasing the use of his generative structure plugin ‘BY-GEN’ for Blender, super recommend you do the same, fantastic resources.

Image for post
Image for post
I still need to watch a bunch more of his neat stuff.

I thought to myself, *Damn that would be really cool as a backdrop for my spacey tiltbrush sketches*, so using all free tools and the kindness of other artists and coders online, I (or We) did it.

Here’s how you can do it too.

Get Blender 2.8,

Get Curtis Holts Advanced Nebula .blend files via the links in the description of his video , it’s worth watching the video, even just to acknowledge all the help he got from various artists during development.

Have a good ol play around. Find a really fucking cool looking Nebula which really speaks to your inner Ian M Banks.

Watch this video on punching out cubemap images from Eevee using a neat camera rig they built., There’s a link to their rig .blend via the video description.

Copy that rig and the render node things (I’m not a Blender expert) into your fucking cool nebula and render out each image for Front, Right, Back/Rear, Left, Up and Down.

Image for post
Image for post

You can either load those images onto a cube in a new Blender file (like they do in the second half of the video) but I couldn’t figure out how to make each face an individual material (they don’t explain it), so instead I punched the images into this online panorama converter.

However, the front, back, up etc order is buckwild and way different to what the camera rig punched out so in preparation, rename your cubemap images that the camera rig rendered out using the following formula:

REAR.png -> b.png

DOWN.png -> l.png (also you may need to rotate this image to the left once)

FRONT.png -> d.png

LEFT.png -> u.png

RIGHT.png -> r.png

UP.png -> f.png

Image for post
Image for post
This was attempt 5 at re-naming…

Lob those renamed files into the ‘Six separate files’ option on 360 Toolkit and then Boom! An Equirectangular image of your fucking cool nebula should download pretty smartish.

Next load it into Lightroom or Photoshop to touch up the seams and maybe recolour it to look even more epic, export it as a jpeg.

Image for post
Image for post

Then go to this site ( and download the neat little file that will let tiltbrush interpret the equirectangular image as a 360 sphere. Follow the instructions about where to put it in tiltbrush.

Go into tiltbrush and load it in, make is huge and sit inside it feeling all spacey and fucking cool. Draw some neat spaceships or planets and stuff.

Massive thanks to all the artist and coders who made this possible by contributing their time and knowledge into just making cool stuff.

If you know of an easier way to get something like this done though, pls let me know!


Written by

Critical comments on immersive experiences from an extended realities creative producer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store