Introducing some of the new Image Effects

June 9, 2010 in Technology

Good day,

This is Ole from the (in)famous Unity Demo Team ™. I would like to show you a preview of some of our new handcrafted and ready-to-use Image Effects we are planning to release with Unity 3.0.

Let’s look at some examples.

windmills with new image effects

For this screenshot, i stacked together a total of three different Effects. The new Bloom effect (which will feature layer masks in addition to the traditional alpha channel based glow intensity), the Sun shafts effect and the new image based Lens flare Effect (here in all its horizontal glory).

Speaking of lens flares, we are finally able to create “New Star Trek” style scenes in Unity, as can be seen here:

startrek

Skybox based sun shafts are doing a nice job on many outdoor scenes while being a surprisingly cheap image effect. The new Skyboxes we will provide in the new 3.0 Standard Assets will all come with a predefined alpha channel to work nicely with sun shafts:

sunshafts

We also included a new Depth of field image effect:

dofCar

There will also be some not-so-obvious effects that might find some love: Crease shading, a more complex color correction using Unity’s animation curves, unsharp mask for contrast enhancement, a new outline image effect and more.
Let’s put those outlines on our Lightbulb scene. We will get this:

outlinesBulbs

The Outline effect is a also a nice base for creating more complex NPR (Non-photorealistic rendering) image effects, such as sketch/scribble shading, halftoning, etc.

Let’s have a look at what we can achieve with our (old and dying) Island demo. We can e.g. turn this…

island_normal

into high art such as this…

island_scribble_2

or even this…

island_scribble_1

just by blurring the edges and using it as a foundation for an image based shading. You can supply different scribble textures (or just a dot texture if you like old printers a lot).

That’s it from me. Demoteam out.

Comments (34)

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  1. kinl

    July 19, 2010 at 9:01 pm / 

    Lens flair was always a fashion thing in cinematography, which has fallen in and out of fashion more time than you can shake a stick at.. all cinematography guidelines are not hard and fast rules but guides for the beginner, after all the best cinematographers are known to break these rules creatively to get the best results, we should remember we also don’t view the world through our eyes in widescreen, wide angle, telephoto or through multiple viewpoints.

  2. laurent

    June 27, 2010 at 3:05 am / 

    @DemoTeam : Any chance of improved Ambient Occlusion (because you rock) ?

    Note on lense flare: watch Split Second – it’s Bay-tastic !

  3. Chad Chatterton

    June 13, 2010 at 10:04 am / 

    Well said Bluster.

  4. Bluster

    June 12, 2010 at 11:00 pm / 

    The flare effect is an Anamorphic Lens artifact. The Star Trek SFX/Cinematography team searched specifically for those lenses. They even had a team shining bright flashlights from the sides of the camera during filming to add them in. It denotes a particular artistic feel associated with mid-evolution sci-fi films, much as say dabbing paint in pointillistic dots to structure mass, form, light and color will drop you into the impressionists category by insinuation. At the Red Camera forums where some of Hollywoods award winning cinematographers hang out, an Anamorphic lens with good glass from the 40′s-70′s is a prize to be treasured. But..they aren’t photoshoppers but cinematographers. I will go with the cinematographers on this one.

    Great stuff for those who want a particular cinematic feel characterising mid-to-old school sci-fi films or bright city lights detective yarn styled gameworlds…

  5. Cameron

    June 11, 2010 at 8:26 am / 

    About the lens flares/glare/glow/streaks THIS is by far the best example of them I’ve ever seen. Proper use of exposure, HDR and DOF too and it’s 7 years old!
    http://www.daionet.gr.jp/~masa/rthdribl/

    Effects aren’t bad, but they can be badly used.

  6. PuckerFactor

    June 11, 2010 at 3:39 am / 

    @Mael …that’s because you are not seeing a lens flare you’re seeing a “glowy streak of light” …if it gets worse go to an optometrist (I’m serious) it’s a common malady effecting human night vision.

    Lens Flare to quote Wikipedia…”is the light scattered in lens systems through generally unwanted image formation mechanisms, such as internal reflection and scattering from material inhomogeneities in the lens.”

    they also say this “JJ Abrams, the director of the 2009 version of Star Trek, admitted that his use of lens flares was “ridiculous”.

  7. Koblavi

    June 10, 2010 at 9:01 pm / 

    Awesome!!! The Gap between Unity and AAA is very thin now!!

  8. Superwaugi

    June 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm / 

    Wow, that´s more than great again! We will make wonderful games with it! Thank`s a lot!
    Are there also Iphone examples…or do we have to worry, if we can use it in the future? The 7.6. is 3 days past….and no word from you concerning the TOS issue?
    Please tell us at least, when we will hear something from you about it.
    Thank you!

  9. demoteam

    June 10, 2010 at 1:30 pm / 

    @Mal: the x models support shader model 3.0 afaik, so they will work just fine. on older gma’s that only support 2.0, some of the complicated effects ones don’t work at the moment but we will try to enable 2.0 support for all.

  10. Mal

    June 10, 2010 at 1:22 pm / 

    Do these effects work on integrated Intel chipsets ( eg X3100 )?
    I’m aware that these aren’t great, but they are the most popular graphics chipsets out there ( unfortunate, but that’s the reality ).

    They look great btw!

  11. Filto

    June 10, 2010 at 1:22 pm / 

    Also about the lensflare discussion. Flares occur in the human eye aswell they just don’t look like a camera lensflare. I remember the lens flare debate and how it was a “no no” years ago but I think alot of that came from everyone using the lensflare filter in photoshop and just putting it in every image. I would say it was overused but it servers its purposes from time to time.

  12. Filto

    June 10, 2010 at 1:15 pm / 

    Really cool. Now we are talking! I was wondering though how customizeable the effects will be? The flares in unity 2 suits your scene at some occasions but I would rather see that you couldd alter color, width, lengts of shafts and so on because predefined effects are often very limiting. Also will there be standard level adjustment so one could increase contrast, brightness rather than just color balancing?

  13. Frank

    June 10, 2010 at 1:05 pm / 

    Yes you didit that´s what i´m looking for … cool job my friends

  14. Mael

    June 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm / 

    @PuckerFactor: Interesting… because when I look at a bright street light or car headlights, I see exactly what I see in the “Star Trek” example on this page. I definitely see a horizontal streak of glowy light emanating from the light source, which alters its angle depending upon how I look at it. It makes sense because we have a ‘lens’ in our eyes so why shouldn’t we get flares like those?

    Well, anyway, can’t really argue it… I know what I see so I think it’s a great feature and really makes lights pop. No idea why you say it’s a big ‘no no’ for cinematography when all the best films out there use it (Star Trek for example…). I feel it just makes lights more realistic and prominent, and it looks cool. I know it can be misused but I definitely believe they’re beneficial if used correctly. When I was taking my visual effects class at University, our lecturer said the same thing, and I couldn’t have imagined having the camera look at the sun without a lens flare; it wouldn’t look realistic as you wouldn’t see the brightness of it.

  15. Mikeydoodz49

    June 10, 2010 at 11:12 am / 

    Wow, those new effects are pretty amazing. I’m feeling the outline ones. Perfect for story-like cutscenes.

  16. demoteam

    June 10, 2010 at 10:46 am / 

    @hector78: they do work, although MSAA might give “artefacts” of some sorts when using certain Image effects that require reading of depth (e.g. small halos/outlines)

    @Chevreuil: they require render textures, so as long as render texture is a PRO feature, the image effects will be PRO only :-(

    @Ashkan: will do .. or: already done :-)

    @Juric: at the moment, they don’t work on iPhone as most of the effects are pretty heavy. but we will look into it.

  17. Aras Pranckevičius

    June 10, 2010 at 10:39 am / 

    @hector78: good mornings! Image Effects should Just Work(tm) with anti-aliasing since Unity 2.6.

  18. Chevreuil

    June 10, 2010 at 10:34 am / 

    Does some of this effect will be in the new Indie version? (I’m a student! I can’t afford Unity Pro or I will have to don’t eat for 6 mounths!)

  19. hector78

    June 10, 2010 at 10:19 am / 

    Looks really great.

    One question though: Will they work with antialiasing? We are not using any of the current image effects because of the lack of antialiasing.

    Thanks,

  20. Ashkan

    June 10, 2010 at 7:43 am / 

    great work guys. i really love the outline shader. is this the first phase of SSAO?
    i lovethose scenes that just show the outline and edges with black and other parts in colors like white or light blue. please add a color tone shader that we can use to blend grayscale textures with other colors
    thank you

  21. Juric

    June 10, 2010 at 12:19 am / 

    Could you show us some iPhone scenes/examples? (to the comparison)

  22. Robert Cummings

    June 9, 2010 at 11:33 pm / 

    Looks pretty spiffy. Really like it guys, you are going the extra mile, and your customers are watching and appreciating it. Every optimization and effort you make is noted. Keep it up!

  23. James

    June 9, 2010 at 11:17 pm / 

    Still Needs:
    - 3D LUT for real color grading/correction instead of curves
    - Tone mapping
    - Linear lighting workflow

  24. Ender13

    June 9, 2010 at 10:01 pm / 

    Oh my god this makes me so happy! The godrays and bloom shaders are exactly what I’ve been wanting!

  25. brokenpoly

    June 9, 2010 at 9:25 pm / 

    You forgot to mention the excellent lens artefacts you included too :) Vignetting and chromatic aberration are by far my favourite effects!

    Great work Ole!

  26. Lars Steenhoff

    June 9, 2010 at 9:09 pm / 

    Love it thanks for sharing!

  27. Stuart

    June 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm / 

    Very impressive! Thanks for sharing.

  28. PuckerFactor

    June 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm / 

    The new effects look great! …although I hope most people realize that lens flare is a totally un-natural effect that the human eye never sees…it was popularized in the 70′s by avant garde cinematographers…it’s been considered a big “no no’ by the mainstream film industry as bad cinematography….however…it looks brilliant in Bladerunner and could look great in certain scenes for a game.

    Keep up the great work guys.

  29. Joris Henky

    June 9, 2010 at 7:40 pm / 

    thank you thank you thank you! The lightrays are really a think i just must have :D and a new depth of field i think i love you guys :D

  30. Hamzeh Shabani

    June 9, 2010 at 7:35 pm / 

    Oh my god.
    it’s nice!
    Thanx Unity,Thanx.

  31. Adams Immersive

    June 9, 2010 at 7:08 pm / 

    Cool! I’ve been wanting to do a woodcut look based on a custom grayscale tile, and now I can!

  32. ImaginaryHuman

    June 9, 2010 at 7:05 pm / 

    Nice effects, man. Cute light-bulbs with feet on them, too. I like the pencil-drawn style of the first `high art` example.

  33. Tinus

    June 9, 2010 at 6:56 pm / 

    Epic! I might know a thing or two about Unity scripting, but shaders are an area I haven’t really touched yet. When I opened this post I was going “depth-of-field, depth-of-field, please!”, and look! Depth of field. The godrays/sunshafts are no doubt a cool addition. It’s also good to see the existing effects have become more parametric.

  34. Joachim

    June 9, 2010 at 6:50 pm / 

    Nice work. Looks awesome. I really like the sketching shader.

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