The most important element in telling stories with pictures is to make sure your viewer has something interesting to look at. Often, I use STK
to render scenes of aircraft, surface vehicles and facilities interacting with each other on or near the surface of the Earth. Surface and background imagery contribute greatly to holding a viewer’s attention.
On the surface of the Earth, you commonly see either a uniform blue or black sky. If you apply a global cloud texture to the Earth, you may see a few wispy white streaks overhead; or you may see no change at all. For a more realistic appearance, create a facility near the center of your scene and replace the facility model with one of our Sky Dome models. If you don’t have one, or you’re not sure where they are, you can download them here:
Sky Dome (Dark)
You may not see it the first time you load it. It’s single-sided, meaning it can only be seen from the inside. Arbitrarily scale your Sky Dome to 3 or 4 so that it is “outside” of your scene. If you scale it to 4, the cloud dome will be slightly smaller than the Earth. That’s not a bad thing; it just has to be behind everything else you want to see. If the bottom edge of the model is visible, you will need to apply a –Z Translation Offset until the edge is below the horizon.
The Sky Dome (Dark) model shows a variety of weather. Applying a +Z Rotational Offset will allow you to align the desired weather pattern to your scene.
These domes are useful for more than just clouds. The texture can be replaced with any panorama that’s 360 degrees around and 90 degrees up. You've got a little leeway on the 90 degrees up, but the 360 around is important because the sides have to line up.