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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:


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:


We also included a new Depth of field image effect:


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:


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…


into high art such as this…


or even this…


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.

34 replies on “Introducing some of the new Image Effects”

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.

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

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

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…

@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”.

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!

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!

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.

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?

@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.

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

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

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!)

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.


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

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!

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

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

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

Great work Ole!

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.

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

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

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

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.

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