Advanced Features Advanced Render Physical Sky SKY Manager Sky Shader Object
Function available in CINEMA 4D Visualize, Studio
Physical Sky

Basic Coord. Time and Location Sky Sun Atmosphere Clouds Details Volumetric Clouds Fog Rainbow Sunbeams Sky Objects

Time and Location

Various times of day have completely different lighting moods.

Since the position of the stars (as well as your position on the earth’s surface) lies in direct correlation to time zones, you select a set time and date for your simulation. Of course both of these properties can be animated, although there are some specifics you should be aware of (see below).

Note that shadows cast by a sun light source are only a simulation of real-world conditions, i.e., they can differ from real-world shadows and are not suited for precise simulations.

Sky’s internal sun will change color according to the time of day.


This is where you enter the time and date of your Sky simulation. Click on Now or Today to set your scene to the actual date and time on your computer.

The mouse scroll wheel can be used to scroll through the days in the calendar. Simultaneously pressing the Shift key will let you scroll through the months.

You can change the time minute by minute by placing the cursor over the clock face and scrolling with the mouse wheel or by clicking and dragging the mouse up or down. Simultaneously pressing the Shift will let you change the hours. Alternatively you can click on the single or double arrows above the clock face to set the time in minutes or hours.

Numbers can be entered manually into the (time)data entry fields:

Atomic clocks are used to calculate the UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).

If the Time setting’s sub-channels can be displayed, the time of day and day will be displayed numerically. Days will be displayed as continuous number (start at 0=01/01/1970), time will be displayed as a float comma between 0 (= midnight) and 1(= noon the foillowing day).

Current Time

When active, this option will set the scene to the current time.

When a scene is saved with the Current Time option active, the time at which the scene was saved will not be saved with the scene. When this scene is again opened, the current time from the computer’s operating system on which the file is opened will be used. If you render an animation over a longer period of time, you will notice that the current time (and position of the sun and of the stars) will be referenced.

If Current Time and Today are both active, these times will also be referenced when rendering. Even an animation track for Time would be ignored.


If this option is active, the current date will always be used. The same applies here as with Current Time; the time and date at which the file was originally saved will not be saved with the file. When the file is opened again, the current time and date, in this case today, will be assumed.

Animate Date
Animate Time

If neither option is active, no interpolation between time keys will take place.

Let's say you have two time keys, the first with a value of 22.07 08:54, the second with a value of 26.09 18:54. If you were to interpolate these two values it would be impossible to estimate how long this interpolation would take.

This is why both options have the following function, respectively:

A note for time zones that use Daylight Saving Time: If your animation takes place during the switch to Daylight Saving Time, a jump in your animation will take place.

City [-2147483648..2147483647]

Click here to access the list of available cities, organized according to country and continent. Select a city that lies near the location of the city where you want your simulation to take place. Once a city has been selected, all Location parameters will be set accordingly.

Latitude [-90..90°]
Longitude [-180..180°]

Enter the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of the location from which your simulation should take place. The and ’’ fields represent the interim values for latitude and longitude, also known as the arc minute and arcsec. Don’t hesitate to enter 0 for each value if you don’t know the exact position, or if a sextant is not readily available. If 0 is entered, expect slight deviations in a constellation’s position. This also applies if you simply select the name of a city in the vicinity of the location where your simulation should take place from the drop-down menu.

A comprehensive online listing of global coordinates can be found online.

Time Zone

Leave Time set to Custom. If OS is selected, your computer’s operating system’s current date and time will be used. This can lead to unwanted results. For example, a scene that was saved for London, high noon, will be pitch black (night) when opened in Sydney with the OS option on.

Only if Time is set to Custom will the following three options be made available: Daylight Savings, Time Zone and DS Time Zone.

Daylight Saving

This is where you enter the Daylight Saving Time of your present location or the location where your simulation will take place. For, among others, the United States/Canada, for example, you would select First April Sunday to Last Oct. Sunday or the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. The two lower Daylight Saving Times apply to the southern hemisphere. You can find more information on Daylight Saving Time at

If your animation must run through the date on which Daylight Saving Time takes place, you should turn Daylight Saving to Off, otherwise your animation will jump during the time change.

Time Zone Diff. [-∞..+∞]
DS Time Zone [-∞..+∞]

Use Time Zone to enter the difference in hours to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time – 0° longitudinal). DS Time Zone must take into account Daylight Saving Time, i.e., the United States East Coast’s Time Zone would be -5, and its DS Time Zone would be -4.

You can find the difference for each region of the world at

Note that the regions to the West of GMT have a negative value.

Example: Let’s assume Chicago is not on the list of cities provided by Cinema 4D, but you want to render a skyscraper in Chicago using the current position of the sun. The GMT in the State of Illinois is -6; simply set Time Zone to -6.

Since Daylight Saving Time jumps forward 1 hour, Illinois’s DS Time Zone would then be -5.

New City

  1. Enter the corresponding longitude, latitude, Daylight Saving time zone, Time Zone, and DS Time Zone for your city.

  2. Click on the small button to the far right of the City slider and select New City from the menu that appears. The following window will open:

    Enter the city’s name, the country, and continent (the latter two preferably in English) and click on OK.

    The new city and location will be saved and will be available right away in the same menu you used to create the new city. All corresponding parameters will be set in the Location tab.

For technical reasons, continents and countries are only available in English.

Delete City

Lets you delete the currently selected city.

This command can also be accessed by clicking on the small button to the right of the City slider.