Spherical camera



Cornell box rendered with a sphere camera

Instrument This instrument is a spherical camera featuring equirectangular projection. It may be used for creating HDR environment maps for lighting in Ocean or many other image renderers which use the same environment projection.

Unlike many renderers supporting spherical image renders, this camera model supports depth of field effects. For this, you just need to set the focus distance, and set the radius parameter to the radius of the entrance pupil of an equivalent rectilinear camera. Please note that changing the aperture radius will not change exposure. This is because radius and exposure are linked to a third parameter, the focal length, which in the case of a spherical camera does not depend on field of view and cannot be related to the focal length of a rectilinear camera. Therefore, focal length is a hidden parameter in this model. For controlling exposure, you just need to set the f-number parameter. This will ensure getting the same exposure as a rectilinear camera. In the same way, f-number parameter will not modify depth of field.

This camera send rays isotropically. As equirectangular projection is not area preserving, some parts of the image (top and bottom, resp. zenith and nadir) will receive much less samples than others. Consequently, these areas will be much noisier. For this reason, the Equirectangular smooth filter filter was created for restoring uniform noise level over the image. It ensures that the image once reprojected on a sphere has uniform resolution and uniform noise.

Children Nodes

This node may have a variable number of output children with custom names.

Sensor sensor List of channels defined by a sensitivity spectrum
Output user-defined First output preset
Output user-defined Second output preset
Output user-defined


name type description
xresolution integer Horizontal buffer resolution
yresolution integer Vertical buffer resolution
pixelfilter list The ray pixel filter
shutter real Shutter time or exposure, in seconds
wlmin real Low bound of simulation wavelength range
wlmax real High bound of simulation wavelength range
pos vec3 The camera center position
forwards vec3 The viewing direction corresponding to the center of the generated spherical image. Should be orthogonal to up
up vec3 The zenith direction, corresponding to the top of the generated spherical image. Should be orthogonal to forwards
focusdistance real The lens focusing distance in meters. Set to zero for infinite focus distance
autofocus boolean Set to true for setting the focus distance to the first geometry met in the forward direction
fnumber real The lens aperture F-number
radius real The spherical lens radius. Affects depth of field, not image brightness

Ocean XML 5.0 example

<instrument type="spherecam" name="envmapcam">
     <prm xresolution="1024" yresolution="512"/>
     <prm pixelfilter="bilinear"/>
     <prm shutter="0.8"/>
     <prm wlmin="380E-9"/>
     <prm wlmax="780E-9"/>
     <prm pos="0.278 0.273 -0.8"/>
     <prm forwards="0 0 1"/>
     <prm up="0 1 0"/>
     <prm autofocus="true"/>
     <prm fnumber="5.6"/>
     <prm radius="1E-4"/>
     <sensor type="ciexyz" name="sensor"/>
     <output type="rgbimage" name="image">
             <prm colorspace="srgb"/>
             <prm depth="32"/>
             <prm xwhite="0.31271"/>
             <prm ywhite="0.32902"/>
             <prm hcc="0.32"/>
             <prm drawinfo="false"/>
             <filter type="sphereresolutionfix" name="filter2" enabled="true"/>