Equirectangular panos to cubes with Blender

Baking equirectangular panos to cubes (or whatever you want) with Blender

While playing with Blender I’ve found a way to apply 360 panoramics images on a mesh; what’s the goal ? From my point of view there’s at least 3 :

  1. You can easily unfold the mesh, then print it out to make , hmmm for example,  something like that:  http://www.philohome.com/rhombicuboctahedron/rhombicuboctahedron.htm. This type of tasks normally needs a lot of work , using Hugin, templates .psd files etc etc..
  2. Transform it to a cube , in order to use it in a game.
  3. Playing with map projections ( why not? Should be a great game for geomaticians ;-p )

Let’s Begin:

First of all, if it has not been done: download blender on 2.7x  ==> http://www.blender.org/


Note:  I’m using a Debian based Linux 64 bits , I won’t be of any help with windows users for this point. And pictures should come later for this step-by-step.

Then open it and select the « Cycles render » on top of your window.

Select the cube and give it a material : click on « use nodes » then in « surface » select glossy BSDF », let it on 0 to make it a mirror.

then in the world tab enable nodes, let surface on « backgrounds », go click on the point at the right  of the « color tab  » and select « environment map »: then go selecting your equirectangular pano.

When you’ll select the rendered interactive view in the viewport shading tab ( just right of the « object mode » tab) you should visualize your mirror cube in your 360 pano.

Second Stage:

Now we need to apply the pano on the cube, so we’ll bake the environment on its surface – as it reflect it.

note: for those who wants to try it with hdri maps remember that it won’t bake all EV , so you should be surprised by the poor result , this work must have been done before, so use a tonemapped picture.

Cube selected, pass on « Edit Mode » , as you’ll have to mark seams and UV unwrap your object.


  • Create a new image in the UV/image editor (AltN or Image > New). Give it a consequent size to preserve quality.

  • Add a texture node to the objects material(s) and select the new image.

  • Then bake the environment on it: render tab, go at the bottom, to get the « bake tab »,  on bake type select environment, then bake it.

The result will be the full pano mapped on your Unwraped cube; results depends on how you have unwraped it.

Look at this little screencast for more infos:


Equirectangular to cube with Blender from fabkzo on Vimeo.

A finished example of my own there with more experiments:


Opensource Panoviewer: Panocube by FabKzo on Sketchfab



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