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Unity’s new Standard Shader is physically-based for higher visual quality, a more intuitive workflow for artists and faster iteration. And  to answer popular question – yes, we want this shader to be available to all Unity users including Unity Free.

Get an overview of the highlights from our video:

Our Physically-based shader has been maturing for quite a while. It is built on ideas we first developed for our Butterfly Effect production which have then been pushed further to become an integral part of how Unity 5.0 is built.

Much of what makes Unity special is the user experience. Therefore, it was crucial for us to develop the shader’s interface in collaboration with its actual users, so we iterated closely with top industry artists at all stages of development. We also worked with companies that specialise in capturing physical material data. We wanted to get the flow right, be intuitive and artist-friendly, and choose solid standards to make this future-proof. We are happy with the results and we hope you’ll be as well.

So… tell me about the shader.

Physically-Based Shading

PBS is the emerging industry-standard for 3D-authoring tools used in major film productions. It allows for a very large amount of freedom with intuitive rules.

No matter what textures or material values you choose, your object will look as you would expect in the real world and will react correctly to changes in lighting. Stronger highlights are usually smaller, objects tend to be reflective at grazing angles, etc.

One shader to rule them all

Our PBS can recreate many different materials, from stone and wood to metals and plastics, with control over blending within the same user interface.

As an artist there is far less browsing and guessing through the shader tree; just choose the new Standard Shader and tweak it to your heart’s desire for looks and performance.


Adaptive shading

The shader interface has texture slots that control the shader’s behaviour. Adding and removing textures re-programs the shader so it only contains code needed for the slots that are used. It is, essentially, the “pay as you go” of shading.

If a slot requires additional controls for tweaking, those will appear when the slot is used, and will stay out of sight otherwise. For instance, it will only be possible to tweak the normal map’s strength, if you actually have a normal map. This way the UI remains lean and doesn’t get cluttered with controls you don’t need.

Fully integrated

PBS can’t function optimally unless other systems are designed to support it. To that end, Unity 5.0 features native HDR workflow, better cubemap tools and more sophisticated ways of capturing lighting information in the scene, amongst other things. Everything you need to make Physically-Based Shading shine is built in!

Physically-based shading is just one of the new features upcoming in Unity 5, and we’re really looking forward to sharing it with you. You can read more about the new Unity 5 features here.

doll 2-2

58 replies on “Physically-based shading upcoming in Unity 5.0”

The character was custom created for us. It doesn’t really have a name, but, when anybody at Unity talks about “The Doll”, well, we know who it is about :)

Can anyone tell me who the character model is and from?
I thought it was the female sith/dark jedi from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” but after finding out who she was, Asajj Ventress, it’s a different person.
I’ve been trying to find something or someplace to find a name for the character but the only thing I can find is the doll editor and such from the file names, but nothing to find this character.

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Price $1,500 reasonable

Update $600 Unreal

$900 year (75×12) Unreal

cryengine is the best option, if really $10 month. Will get thousands of users if Unity not change your plans.

Man, you guys are continuing to up your game. And the fact that you’re including so much awesome stuff in the free version is huge! You’re definitely making a difference in many young developers lives.

Right! Unity users will be more potentials for an economic proposition! Because a huge of technology has been trigger this few day…

@HASSEL , I’m not twisting anything, asking for $5 a month or $1 a month, it’s pretty much the same thing to me.
And yes I know Unity is not the only engine around, so what I said is that, instead of pressing them to lower their price so YOU can use it, just move to whatever engine is cheaper.
Developing software costs money, costs money to YOU, and costs money to THEM.
Try to hire an artist or a coder for 5 dollars a month so you can make your game really cheap, not sure if you gonna go very far.

You ar twisting everything with just 1$ a month. No one implies that, except you. As you may or may not know it is not just Unity on this planet to make a game. You’ll need ASSETS and other software that all cost lots and lots of your Dollars. Many just want more flexible payment, that’s it.

How about Unity at 1$ a month ?
Would you guys like that ?
How about free for everyone ? Then their engineers can go and sell hot dogs, or work at Macdonalds.., how does that sound ?
Do you guys even realize that $5/month is ridiculous ?
If you can’t pay $1500 for an engine that is easy to use, then go to Unreal and see how far you will go.
To be honest, I can’t even understand what will you do as a game if you can’t pay $1500 for the engine, where the hell will you find the art/sound for your game.
Btw, if you want to publish you game done in Unreal or CE in consoles, go ahead, go talk to Epic or Crytek and see how much they want.

We Hope Unity Team Use Unreal Engine 4 Source Code it`s Full Source To Make Moving clouds , physical shader , and awesome Rendering in unity source they can use Unreal Engine 4 Source Code its Free now ,

Mike Gig , Unreal Team .

As I see, with PBS is small but nice step to come closer for AAA. And I think saying Unity is expensive, and not the only option anymore is quite wrong.
Only option for what? Making AAA title, or sandboxing at home never finishing a game? Or for crossplatform, mobile and web publishing work earning real money? Unity do this for free with some limitations, but this is enough to start it without a penny. Pro feauters tons of useful developing functions for stuios and AssetStore will patch the holes between.
And for the AAA: UE is not the only option anmyore for playing around in AAA quality.
sticking to the topic: With this new shading workflow, arent the old techniques (shaderlab, surface), will get useless? What about the visual coherence? What about the developers publish at AssetStore with their shader templates / solutions/ editors? Is this new shading clears the field or fit into the the available palette?
Is this a direct “tool” only for using in couple of iterations, and the results (wood / stone, copper tempaltes) may have subcategory in the store or it is more flexible or reprogrammable?

What a beautiful video. Glad to know this is going to be included in free. Thank you Unity team

They put it that way simply because they are very self-critic. And that is not a bad thing, at all.
The fact is UE4 even on beta is still a more complete engine than Unity.
I won’t leave Unity for UE, I can’t for my own reasons. But Unity is definitely not the only option anymore.


“UE4′s low cost means goodbye Unity Free.”

Unreal Engine 4, under its new subscription-based model, is available today. Epic Games warns new users that the engine is “powerful, but not very polished, and it requires a beefy desktop computer.” The developer outlines some rough areas, including Mac OS X and Android support and sparse documentation, saying “If you’re looking for a more polished product, please check back in 6 months.” [Source.]

Gosh, what a compelling sales pitch: spotty support for anything other than Windows; no console support at all for the moment, and crap docs? But hey: at least you get the source code! What’s not to like?

As for CryEngine: you do know the difference between a game engine, and a complete toolchain like the Unity Editor, right? If you’re not a proficient programmer, you’re definitely going to struggle with CryEngine, no matter how cheap it is.

(Oh yes: and CryEngine’s tools are all Windows-only.)

This looks amazing :). Great work guys! I love that you only pay for what you use and that the UI reflects this. I’m using Marmoset skyshop and loving it and can’t wait to see how the new Unity shader compares.

On the side note, I hope Unity does not go the royalty route. I personally do not find it compelling, if you are extremely price conscious, Unity free is still your cheapest option. If you have a successful game you’ll be glad you are not paying 5% and not having to do all that extra accounting work. Unreal 4 is a lot better than UDK (license and technology), but Unity in my eyes remains the better choice for most indie projects.

UE4’s low cost means goodbye Unity Free. Unity Pro could still compete since it’s more feature complete, but it costs more to use. The biggest features here will most likely be Pro only. They didn’t add much for this update to make it worth purchasing or paying the upgrade fee. They also add stuff and then forget about it being incomplete and buggy. Unity’s NavMesh system was promised an update back in Unity 4.0 to be much more useful and it never came.

Guys, you realize this post was about shaders and not Unity’s business model? I’m sure you can find more appropriate places to express your concerns about their pricing policies. Having said that, and not that I have any need to defend Unity, you can do a lot of things with Unity free, from a complete 3D or 2D game to even AR or VR without paying a dime. Yes, with limitations, but the tools you have in the free version are more than enough for many many games and apps. If you really need some specific pro features and you don’t have the will or the money to buy the pro license, either rethink your idea or change your game engine. If you plan to make a living out of your project, I’m sure even 5000$ will not stop it. After all, was your planned income really that low? Finally, if Unity biz guys are reading this then yeah, why not reducing the price a little?

Apart from that, great job! I have a few questions too about the workflow.

*How does that affect the scripting? Will we have access to those features only through the inspector?

*Will we still be able to create shaders inside scripts?

*How reusable is the process, is it based on duplicating materials and tweeking values for similar materials?

*Will this still be ShaderLab or whatever it’s called?

*How’s the process to adapt to mobile? I know you said it’s multiplatform, but I have a hard time believing mobile devices will run ok with this quality. Will we have to create several materials per object and select them depending on the target platform?

Thank you!!

Regardless of the price, my burning question would be if the Mono runtime would be finally updated to a more modern one with the respective GC/JIT improvements.

This is just my opinion and somehow I just can’t stop posting here. I think it is because Unity has given us the possibility to express ourselves and write what we think. I have seen many here using words like fuck and all other kinds of shit to describe their feelings and I have to say that now days that’s O.K. as everyone has and should have their own right to describe their own feelings as they all live with us in our subtle world in which we all live. Think about it and then have your own opinion. It must be very interesting for Unity staff to read these comments as it all comes from the consumers. So stop having a go at others and their opinions and just write yours. What do you actually wish to expect? Only time will tell. But I am now sure that the different directions of Cry, UE4 and Unity are just a base to your individual likings and pricings. High quality won’t be that more important to the consumer later, as simply good will be good enough for 99cent. Those who wish commercial AAA will sooner or later compete against double A or maybe Angry birds and who likes plants vs. Zombies. (I do!) Make it or Fake it. Take it or hate it. It’s your choice.

Oh, just seen above the new preview video of your automata. It looks really good but why didn’t you wind him up and show us some Mecanim?

I have just sold my beloved Brompton bicycle and will now be buying Unity at the end of the month. This way I can stop thinking about all of this and just get on with it. I do not need Pro at the moment for any business reasons, just there are so many things I miss and hate having to do without and even I own many assets that are just for Pro version. I am also looking very much forward to entering the dark side.

What I think Unity needs to work on the most are their tools for everyone regarding shaders, lighting in general, and physics.

One of the reasons why a AAA won’t currently exist in Unity is not because of how their platform is engineer, but because it just looks BAD when you make something without making your own shaders/lighting/etc which requires a relatively large studio of talented experienced developers to do so (not indie friendly).

If they can come CLOSE to CryEngine’s graphical potential (since no online games will ever use their highest quality level for anything) then it’d become a bit easier to make good AAA products.

As it stands, their new physical shader is nice and all, but I’m unsure if it’ll come close to what the Alloy Plugin on AssetStore currently can get to.

Just my 2cents :)!

Going through many, many and again many of my assets I do love the idea of non-coding games (well nearly almost). I personally see the future of RQD (rapid quality development) And yes I just made that up but it sounds good. The world of tablets and smartphones is just kicking off. Think about stuff to come like Myo, oculus, Kinect2, leap and all those things that are wishing to give you need games experiences (and not just game). Think about a Smartphone that projects a HD image with minimal power a 3m diagonal picture onto any surface or even holography later, think about the interactions still possibly to come and will come. What could that be? Well, I think that what you can imagine will be possible to create at some point of the E-evolution. The EV growth rate is 42% and yes, I did make that up too as I love Hitchhicker’s guide to the galaxy and 42 is very important.
So combining stuff like Playmaker, Bevahior designer, motion controller, Adventure Creator, A*, Energy bar, Mad level manager, TC, WC, RTP, Mecanim AI and so on and on and on. You could, through all these wonderful developers would have in collaboration with each other at some point a rapid dev, non-coding environment where every dick and harry can use their own individual creativity to develop a game that people play and like. This time will come and we are good on the way with Unity. I am looking forward to all this and will stop bickering about prices and I will buy as soon as I can afford it.

I was at GDC all week. Unity’s booth was packed, more than the other engines. Dozens of people were Unity employees, including the geniuses who wrote all the Learn sections and more, and were very approachable to answer questions, show how I’m doing things wrong and what not.

The number of other companies producing amazing tools for unity is insane.

Unity is inexpensive. And powerful, and comprehensive and getting better all the time.

$1500 is NOT a lot of money. Especially considering the whole point is to make your investment back. If you don’t plan on it, then use the free version — that’s FREE.

One shader, one model, like a studio environment ibl lighting, very cheap and useless demo for unity like always. Why dont you try to make some demos for environment or for a game? You did the same thing in butterfly effect video but its useless. There is no AAA game in unity and it wont be. Everybody knows that.

I’m quite disappointed with the responses and reviews which seem quite out of touch with both the reality and history of AAA game engines.

First off, Unity’s prices have stayed the same for the last 3 years. They’ve introduced a monthly pricing model that gives the developer the option to assess whether a 75$ x 12 months ($900) is a better ROI than a $1500 flat price.

Second, Unreal only used to privately license their game technology to AAA studio’s at which the cost was rumored to be around $750,000 per game license. Only recently have they engaged the public with low cost barrier to entry.

Third, Stability and documentation is highly questionable and is stated on the Unreal Engine site as
“Mac OS X support hasn’t undergone serious developer testing yet
Android support is rough and hasn’t undergone compatibility testing
iOS deployment currently requires a Mac
C++ programming documentation is sparse”

And Crytek has only announced their plans to release their engine, but it doesn’t take a lot of research to determine that their plans to engage the public are far from complete.

This isn’t necessarily an attempt to defend Unity but shed some light on the reality of the situation. Please open your eyes before you open your mouth.

Oh, I forgot to mention that if they make their Physical Shader system Pro-Only they’ll lose to the Alloy Shader plugin hands down.

Alloy seems to be what they based their new standard unity shader system on. However, from what I’m hearing it won’t be Pro Only, but HDR will be pro only still, BLEH!

Yea, let’s break it down shall we?

CryEngine: Cheap for monthly full version, but is almost impossible to do really anything “out of the box” unless you’re either a genius or have a team of professionals with 5+years of making games to iron everything out. CE is NOT an easy toolset to work with at ALL.

UnrealEngine: Looks nice, but lacks quite a bit of good working features that Unity can make up with using its AssetStore. With Unity5 UnrealEngine no longer has any real noticeable advantages other than price which can easily be trumped with minor work on your own part.

Unity: Ungodly expensive for something that is hailed as the “Indie Developer’s Wet Dream”. Honestly Unity, you guys are going through the roof with price here. Stop neglecting the fact that you got your popularity from Indie developers. Being expensive means people will go towards the MUCH cheaper competition even if they don’t have all the flashy things you will have with Unity 5.

If I wanted “flashy amazing graphics” I’d go CryEngine.

If I wanted cool AI scripting and crappy shader baking I’d go UE.

I want lightweight, easy to manage, and the ability to buy something to use in my games that will save me a buttload of time (AssetStore). However, these prices for what I get are becoming absurd :(!


Just a thought, what would Unity say to maybe?

1. 19.99$ / month Unity Pro
2. 29,99$ / month /Unity Pro + Add-ons + 5%
3. 39,99$ / month Unity Pro + Add-ons + Team + 5%
4. 49,99$ / month Unity Pro + Add-ons / Team + No %
5. Unity Pro buy 1000$
6. Unity Pro + All add-ons 2500$
7. Unity Pro + All add-ons + Team 3000$
8. Possibility to buy coupons on the asset store 25, 50, 75 or 100$
9. Possibility to have an asset store auction to resell assets you personally don’t need anymore.
10. Free version with dark skin.

Do people know that UE also picks 5% of any sales? Add that to the typical 30% bite from Apple/Steam/Google… It’s a different pricing scheme, and UE doesn’t have any 2D capabilities (unless you emulate them).

About physically based shaders… hadn’t never heard of them, and it’s an awesome feature. Not having to tweak the shaders anymore rocks.

$5 maximum $10 , in the worst scenario $15 and give Unity pro + Ios pro +Android Pro for Unity 3d , everyone will stay here , Unity is full of free user , its time to monetize them all , and move on HARD.

Right now with $75 +$75 +$75 and forcing a 12 month payment for each , you are throwing us out , you destroy Unity reputation , assets will be down (why buy something for $65 , when the exact same thing is given for a $19, INCLUDED??

Unreal engine 4 with only $19 and giving everything away to the user is the best solution , same with Cryengine.

Unity devs , hear us out , we want to stay (we got used of Unity and its pipeline) but you are kicking us out right now.

@ ROBERT CUMMINGS: I agree with your entire sentiment, only except this part:

“Do not look at prices, these typically will not make a difference to anyone but a hobbyist.”

I do agree that a more professional developer looks at tools that’ll do the job more than price, knowing that a fit tool is worth its price.

A professional, for instance, doesn’t complain about a Wacom Cintiq’s price–they step up to the professional class and work for it.

I also agree that what tool you’ll want depends on your project scope and personal preference.

But still, if I can gain an engine that gives me many of the features I’d need to stop by the Asset Store to gain in Unity, for a lower monthly subscription price, and one choice is even including their complete source code, that’s something to consider.

Unity Pro is a per-user licensing cost. Unreal Engine 4 is one cost for the whole team. CryENGINE 3 is per-user licensing, but its cost is only about $10/month plus no royalties.

Sometimes, value is not so much a matter of mere cost but more a getting the most out of your money. But still, Unity 5 is bringing some strong features for itself.

I think it’ll still be a high preference for many developers, just on Unity’s wider platform publishing alone. Though, they’ll want to consider how they go about their monthly subscription model now.

For the features you’re paying for with Unity Pro at $75/month, they all come standard in both competing engines for less, per user on your team.

I don’t say any of this to instigate for Unity devs. On the contrary, I want to see Unity stand the best chance in the face of a new era in game engine competition we’ve all very suddenly entered.

@Chris – yes, the Doll model has a single shader.

@Rolando @Superchris1 – the Standard Shader will be in Free. It’s too early to say exactly which features will be Pro-only.

agree with people above me. unity is getting way to expensive why will someone choose ue4 or ce over unity ? look at the price of unity its unbelievable so fucking expensive

yeah 5$USD a month is great


agree right…
Unity need to do something or else they are losing everyone…

i believe Unity 5 need to be 5$USD/month royalty free

CRYENGINE is freaking cheap just 9$USD/month
why will i choose Unity over CRYENGINE?
CRYENGINE is better than Unity and Cheaper than Unity,,,

Sorry, it’s “performance things”, not “pefrance things”, bad typing on iPhone with too big thumbs.

Same question, this perfect function I will buy PRO version AGAIN x 3 to make a great game if I have hundreds thousands budget for 1 game, and only if I have a team of 10+ Members.

In these years as Indie from U3D 1.x, I never have any chance to use 95% functions of PRO version but only pefrance things and have to pay full price for the license TWICE, 1 for PRO, 1 for iOS PRO.

Now I have no more money for this because all I have earned by U3D had paid for PRO licenses, and even not enough.

So, please give me a break, just give me functions of performance on iOS as an INDIE version and lower much price, or keep PRO price but 1 license only for iOS + Android without paying for 3 times at least USD 3,000 ~ 4,500 about every 2 years.

Pay for U3D make me even too poor to buy any new iMac or mobile device for dev. I am so afraid the old iMac grand-pa will die anytime afrter so many years using.

@up Is not trolling. It’s just good time to talk about Unity’s options: perpetual license when nobody can say how long will you receive updates or YEARLY subscription with monthly installments.
Competitors just showed us that there are other options.

Yes Robert Cummings ,
You say exactly what I said, rather read what I wrote instead of just comparing a title like goodbye unity. So I’m getting bored of people not reading.

Getting bored of the troll comments like “goodbye unity” because it’s enormously short-sighted. UE4 has a different workflow to Unity, and both actually have features the other does not – evaluate what is best for your game. Do not look at prices, these typically will not make a difference to anyone but a hobbyist.

As for me I am happy to use the right tool for the job, and that tool remains to be seen. But Unity 4 remains our choice for mobile and 2D at present. For our 3D title we are eager and interested in what Unity 5 may bring to the table.

Competition is healthy :)

Goodbye Unity! Or maybe not?

According to my comment here and over the last few days, I too am one of those quibbling about the price flexibility of Unity. I have been taking a look again at some of the competitors and have seen some really drastic and positive changes in this direction. I mean 19$ +5% is something that got me really interested and thinking about, if Change, then now! UE4 looks really good too. BUT and here comes the biggie and my suggestions to everyone. I have been intensively learning Unity for just over a year now and have been purchasing assets at an alarming rate, just to get as much undermy belt as possible. Before I started with Unity I also did look at the different engines out there and decided for my personal liking and abilities that Unity was the choice. I have never regretted this choice. All of these engines have their advantages and disadvantages overreach other but at the end of the day you have to commit yourself to one of them and get good at it and not keep yoyoing. My point here is that I will be staying with Unity no matter what, because I have already invested so much time and money into it. For others that want their c++ you have other engines, for those who love the ease of the asset store and Unity stay here. For completely new beginners your choice lies in your willingness to learn c++ or not, How you prefer your licencing and how you personally work and think. The choice is a individual as choosing and buying a car. Unity! I am here to stay but be cautious of your competitors and WOW us with some amazing stuff.

I have the same question as ROLANDO AZCORRA. Will it be Pro only? I’m working on a game in the basic Unity package (I’m not that rich and still learning), and by the time that’s done, I’d probably like to switch the shaders to PBS if possible.

Of course, if it’s pro only, $75 a month (if it stays that way) won’t be a big deal. I could most likely switch all my shaders over to PBS in a month’s time frame!

Well anyway, great job Unity! Good work! Expect me to be getting the basic package for sure, even if PBS is not included. (When I have more cash and a little more experience, I’ll be going all out pro!)

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