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The Blacksmith Releases: Executable, Assets, Tools and Shaders

, June 24, 2015

Hey. We’ve promised to release the assets and our custom project-specific tools and shaders from The Blacksmith realtime short film. Well, here they are.

First of all, you are welcome to download the executable of the demo.

The assets from the project, along with the custom tech, come in two main packages for your convenience: ‘The Blacksmith – Characters’ and ‘The Blacksmith – Environments’.

Below follows more information about what you can expect from each package, as well as some explanations about specific choices that we made. We’ve tried to not just release something of documentary value, but also make it more usable for you, in case you want to do something with it yourselves.

And let me answer straight away a very popular question you’ve been asking on previous occasions when we’ve released demo materials: yes, you can use all of this in whatever way you like, including in commercial projects. The standard Asset Store license applies. It would be our pleasure if you find the releases helpful on your own way to achieving success.

The Executable

We’ve added some simple interface for control over the playback of the demo:

  • Interacting with slider will allow you to scrub back and forth
  • Clicking on play-pause button, or anywhere else outside the UI, will toggle playback mode of the demo to playing or paused
  • Slight look-around is possible by pausing the playback and moving the mouse pointer.
  • A ‘mute’ button to toggle audio of the demo

You have the option to choose among four quality settings presets:

  • Low – Recommended for machines which are not able to run the demo in higher settings
  • Medium – Recommended for high-end laptops and less powerful desktop PCs. It runs at 30 FPS in 720p on a Laptop (Quad Core i7 2.5GHz with GeForce GT 750M)
  • High – Recommended for most desktop PCs. It runs at 30 FPS in 1080p on a desktop PC (Core i7 4770 with a GeForce GTX 760)
  • Higher – If you have a card that is better than GTX 760

It could take more than 30s to load, depending on your platform.

‘The Blacksmith – Characters’ Package

This project contains:

  • The Blacksmith character
  • The Challenger character
  • Hair Shader
  • Wrinkle maps
  • Unique character shadows
  • Plane reflections

Download ‘The Blacksmith – Characters’ package from here.

Blacksmith and Challenger

We have placed each character in a separate scene.

We have re-skinned the Challenger character so now it is a little better prepared for a more universal usage than the specific needs of our film. You are welcome to drop him in another environment and experiment. You still need to do some work if you want him to animate nicely. We have included sample animations ‘idle’ and ‘walk’.


You will also find the main character, Blacksmith, in this package. We haven’t done any re-skinning on him: he is more complex than Challenger and would have taken us more time. We are including the original 3D character asset and you are free to use it in any way you like.


We are including the original, full-size 4K textures of both characters. In our project, we use a smaller version – 2K or less – of some of the textures.

The characters’ models and textures were created by Jonas Thornqvist and Sergey Samuilov.

Hair rendering

To achieve those anisotropic highlights that are so characteristic in hair, we decided to create a separate hair shader. As a complement to this, we also added a rendering component that calculated ambient occlusion for the hair, and set up a multi-pass render approach to avoid sorting errors between overlapping, translucent hair polygons.

The hair package and an accompanying example scene can be downloaded from the asset store. Don’t forget to check out the readme for more details about how it works, and how to configure it for your own projects.

Wrinkle maps

To add more life to the Challenger’s expressions in The Blacksmith, we added a rendering component for blending ‘wrinkle maps’ based on the animated influence weights of the Challenger’s facial blendshapes. The rendering component blends normal and occlusion maps in an off-screen pre-pass, and then feeds these to the standard shader as direct replacements for the normal and occlusion maps assigned in the material.

Available as a separate package here, and a dedicated blog post about it can be found here.

Unique character shadows

We wanted to make sure our characters always had soft, high-resolution shadows in close-up shots. We also needed to make sure we had enough shadow resolution to cover the rest of the world. To achieve this, we added a method of setting up a unique shadow map for a group of objects.

Unique shadows can also be grabbed as a separate package from the Asset Store, and more details are available in the dedicated blog post.

Plane reflections

Plane reflections in The Blacksmith are, in essence, the kind of planar reflections one would normally render for reflective water surfaces. The twist is that once rendered, we convolve the reflected image into each mip-level of the target reflection texture. During this convolution, we use the depth information of the reflection to force sharper contacts for pixels close to the reflection plane. The goal of this contact sharpening is to simulate the effect ray tracing would have in non-perfect reflections. The result of this convolution is a reflection texture suitable as a drop-in replacement for reflection probe cubemaps, with the material’s roughness still dictating which of the different mip-levels are sampled for reflection. We use a modified Standard Shader that, based on a shader keyword toggle, samples reflections from this dynamic reflection texture instead of reflection probe cubemaps.

‘The Blacksmith – Environments’ Package

This project contains:

  • The Smithy
  • The Exterior
  • Atmospheric Scattering
  • PaintJob tool (paint vegetation on any surface)
  • Vegetation system
  • MaskyMix Shader
  • Modified Standard Shader
  • Tonemapping

You can toggle between FPS and animated camera (press C) and between several light presets (press V).

Download ‘The Blacksmith – Environments’ package from hereBe warned, it is quite large.

The Smithy

Looking like this:

Game view of Smithy interior in ‘The Blacksmith - Environments’ package

Game view of Smithy interior in ‘The Blacksmith – Environments’ package

The Exterior

We decided to re-arrange the original exterior from the movie in order to make it more relevant to game production, which we hope would be of more use to you.
We haven’t gone too far with the polishing. If you spend some additional time on it, it could be a good basis for some action of your own. Here is how it looks as we’ve provided it to you:


The difference is that, for our film, we had arranged the environment according to the cameras. If you are still curious, here is a screenshot of how the environment of the original project looks in Scene view:

Scene view of the original Blacksmith project

Scene view of the original Blacksmith project

There were assets we didn’t use in the rearranged scene, but we still wanted you to have them. You will find them in the project.

Almost all of the gorgeous assets in this package were created by Plamen ‘Paco’ Tamnev. He also built the exterior environment scene.

Atmospheric Scattering

Our custom Atmospheric Scattering solution comes in this project. Find more details about it in this dedicated blogpost. For your convenience, we have also uploaded the Atmospheric Scattering as a separate package on the Asset Store. This way you don’t have to extract it yourself from this rather big project. Get it here.

PaintJob tool

This tool allows the artist to paint vegetation projected onto any geometry, not just Unity Terrains. It was a way for us to to explore how we could make the most out of the built-in Unity terrain tools, while also fulfilling one of the requirements we had for the project.

You are welcome to extract it from ‘The Blacksmith – Environments’ and use it in your own projects.

Vegetation system

There were a couple of things that we wanted to do with vegetation in The Blacksmith: we wanted it to be soft; we wanted custom shading on it; we wanted it to support dynamic GI; we wanted it to blend with whatever it considered to be ground; and we wanted it to work without being forced to use Unity terrains. PaintJob already took care of the latter, but to solve the rest we needed to do a little bit of a custom setup. We decided to build a component that would capture the PaintJob data – as well as any other hand-placed vegetation marked for capturing – and generate a number of baked vegetation meshes for which we could retain full control over rendering. Among other things, this allowed us to apply any kind of custom sorting we wanted, or reproject light probe data into dynamic textures.

MaskyMix Shader

Maskymix is an extended Standard Shader that mixes in an additional set of detail textures based on certain masking criteria – hence the name MaskyMix. The masking is primarily based on the angle between a material-specified world-space direction, and the per-pixel normal sampled from the base normal map. The mask is also modified by a tiled masking texture, as well as the vertex-color alpha channel of the mesh – if present. Depending on the masking thresholds specified in the material, the additional detail layer is mixed in based on this final mask. If the mesh provides a vertex alpha channel for masking, the vertex color can optionally be used for tinting the detail layer albedo.

Modified Standard Shader

The Blacksmith used quite a few tiny Standard Shader modifications to tweak things to our liking, or add small shader features that we wanted. Not all of these make sense outside of the main project, but some of them are included in the surface-shader based Standard Shader used in this package. These modifications are typically things like: optionally sampling per-pixel smoothness from the albedo alpha channel instead of a dedicated texture, or being able to control the culling mode of any material, or having additional control over the color and intensity of bounced global illumination.


We’ve explained in an earlier blogpost how we used Tonemapping and applied Color Grading for The Blacksmith short film. Since the short film was shown, the Tonemapping was taken up by a Unity engineering team, and is now being developed properly into Unity.

The HDR sky textures in the package are from NoEmotionHDRs (Peter Sanitra) / CC BY-ND 4.0. Used without modification.

That’s all from us for now. Having delivered everything we promised, we’re ready to go off to new adventures.

If you do something with our assets, we are very curious to know about it. It would be nice of you if you post it as a comment here or drop us a line at And if it is something which others could use, please consider sharing back to the community.

Have fun!

Edit: Here are the links to the blogposts where we explain specific systems in more detail:

Wrinkle Maps in The Blacksmith

Unique Character Shadows in The Blacksmith

Atmospheric Scattering in The Blacksmith

83 replies on “The Blacksmith Releases: Executable, Assets, Tools and Shaders”

OK i can not decompress this stuff in Unity. some windows pops out and unity crashes… and i have pretty high end rig

How do you assign the render texture? Is the script supposed to make one? If I look at the example there is one already assigned, but not if I copy the scripts and shaders to another project.

Stop complaining myname:p i cant even dl the bloody thing wish they would torrent it or break into smaller pieces:(

I was really interested in the water in the distance, because i noticed nice looking localized surface differences. So I downloaded the environment pack, and imported it. Hours go by as are missing “ReadAllBytes”. The pack clearly has to be reimported as per the instructions. Over an hour later I notice that the whole water area is mysteriously missing however.

Some time later I find out planar reflections are in the character pack. So naturally the water environment must be in the character pack and not the environment pack. So I downloaded that and imported it, with tonnes of error messages again under no less. The water plane or beach is nowhere to be seen. Now the shaders are there, but no example of how to use them. Examples aren’t necessary since trial and error will lead me to a solution eventually. But it would be nice to see how it is all set up. Since it’s easy for authors of said content to set everything up, or write instructions for that matter. There may be instructions, but if there are, they are probably hidden in an unrelated folder or something.

I’m not entitled. Just please don’t make me waste hours of my time. Just write “the nice looking water is not included for some reason” under the teasing image. I would be completely satisfied with that.

Hi trying to get the last file the enviroment package to download and i am not winning. When trying to dl gives me 2 files a temp and a json file of only 200kb after a few hundred mb throws an error and the dl folder is left empty. Deleted the package in the C:\Users\(userName)\AppData\Roaming\Unity\Asset Store-5.x; but does same thing. Really want this any other way to get the file. A torrent cloud dl etc ??

[…] Source link […]

Hi, I’m using Unity 5.1.2f1 64bit and when trying to import The blacksmith packages, i recieve the following error
Failed to import package with error: Couldn’t decompress package

Do i need a different version or a patch.?

Love it! Such a great package to learn from
I have been trying to learn more about how the terrains(mountains, not cliffs) were created – I don’t see any hightmaps in the project – how were these created and in particular all erosion and such. (I can see the erosion in the normal map, but still kind of miss some kind of hightmap that would model the terrain accordingly )

Thanks again for sharing this!

I assume the executable is for PC’s only?

Can you also provide an OS X version?

I’d love to see how this would run on my Mac Pro 6-core!

Hi, this is beautiful. When I build a scene with the challenger character (incl. from a blank new project), unfortunately I get the message

“Assets/Features/Hair/HairShaderGUI.cs(7,23): error CS0246: The type or namespace name `ShaderGUI’ could not be found. Are you missing a using directive or an assembly reference?”

Now, I’m a bit of a Unity noob (still learning), what am I doing wrong?

NICE I downloaded a 1.2 gb demo, just to find out that is a 64 bits demo… Why dont you said it on the requierement section???

By the way, I cant download the assets from the assets store. When I press “Download” in the asset window, it say %7, a second later %102 and get stuck there. Never download…

Why dont you ppl direct download the assets?

You didn’t use Unity Terrains, only 3d meshes for terrains and mountains. Is it a valid choice in terms of performance or it’s better to use Unity Terrains?

I’m wondering whether using Unity terrains for my game project or not. I don’t need a very big terrain, and the path is almost lineal (with only an alternative path), so I’m thinking about using meshes instead of unity terrains.

I would like to hear your opinion about it, please!

If it was a real game project, we would’ve used Unity’s Terrain. In this case it wasn’t important, so going with a simple mesh seemed the easiest and fastest thing to do. The obvious downside – quite low-poly look of the near features, needlessly high-poly in the distance, only two sets of textures, no way to modify it in engine, etc.

If I try and export something such as the mountain peaks as a package and use it in a project I get pink textures, and errors with the shader :
include callback failed
can’t find include file ../code/AtmosphericScattering.cginc
can’t find include file UnityStandardSurface.cginc
I’m updated to the latest path of unity 5 , I’m quiet new to unity , any help would be really appreciated

Totally useless if your project has metalness based setup shaders. Indeed, this package supports only the Standard Shader Specular Setup, which is a variation of the commonly accepted standard, which uses metalness across platforms (Maya, Unreal Engine, Mental Ray’s Mia material X etc). This package makes things look good for real, but as i said, it’s totally useless for those who started and keep working on a project using the base version of Unity’s standard shader. It would be nice to see it written in the description before downloading 4 gigas of data that needs to go to the trashbin rightafter. Definitely gonna be using it as soon as the base metalness setup would be supported, as it should have been from the beginning

Conversion, especially manual like in the tutorial you pointed me to, is not a viable solution at this stage and size of my project, there are too many materials involved to afford this approach. Most of them are also Substance materials, which makes this process even more lengthy to update all of them to the converted maps. Thank you for pointing me to that tutorial, but i already read it time ago, when i was gathering infos on the PBR workflows.

I really like the quality of the vegetation system and got it working for me, actually not that obvious since there is no real explanation. But at the momemt it is only working for the Forward Rendering Path, so will there be a Deferred Rendering version of the Undergrowth Shader be available at some point, I would really love that. Anyway thanks for sharing.

Hi Leon.

It’s supposed to work in deferred as well, but it seems like a bug has snuck in where it doesn’t always write correct depth when running the deferred path. I’ll see if we can get that bug fixed in a future update.

How do you setup the vegetation System. I cant find any information about it :( . Searched for it and tried to figure it out myself but it does not work.

Since you’re currently so generous making all those cool assets publicly available, I’ll ask again if there’s any chance to do this with some things of “The Butterfly Effect” as well? I’m especially interested in your volumetric explosion approach in this one. It looked amazing at the time.
Doesn’t matter if it’s broken with Unity 5, I want a good starting point for the raymarching approach.
Pretty pleaseee? :)

In case anyone forgot, I’m talking about this one:

Can’t download the environment assets, Asset store download button keep switching to error :(.
Can’t we get Torrent for the environment packages. . . ?

I am so happy that you released all assets seen in your fantastic demo.
But I would like to know where I can find the models and textures of the glowing stones and the metal mask.
If anybody knows, I’ll be glad to know too. :)

That’s an oversight, sorry about that
Now I added them in the hierarchy root of the Blacksmith scene – HoveringMetalPieces
In a couple of days we’ll upload the new version of the package with some other small improvements as well

I notice after downloading the assets, in the project you don’t use Unity Terrain. As a developer I can see why, it can cause slowdown and has some issues.

Is the Unity team working to improve the performance of the terrain, or should we take a hint from Blacksmith and use a regular mesh + paint tool?

yep, and I’m wondering if I must use terrains for my project or not. I don’t need a very big terrain, and the path is almost lineal (with only an alternative path), so I’m thinking about using meshes instead of unity terrains.
I would like to hear from The Blacksmith developers about it.

Unfortunately, these releases uncovered an issue affecting some users. There’s a fix in the Unity 5.1.1p2 patch release which is available now.

To fix the ‘everything pink’ issue in some of the Blacksmith packages, please install this patch release and then reimport all shaders or the entire project.

11:25 to 2:15, so almost three hours at 3Mb download speed. After the download and selecting “all” of the assets, the Import button was clicked and the unpackaging process started, but then Unity 5 crashed out. But then immediately restarting Unity 5 and selecting the dedicated project the “Hold On” message box showed all of the green-line Processing to the designated directories which took about 10 minutes with only 14 warnings and no errors in Unity 5.1.1f1. Selecting the Blacksmith scene and Maximize on Play with , the WASD and mouse pointer direction worked perfectly. Excellent interior shadows. Then switching to scene Bridge_small_02 there was an amazing automated flythrough. In either scene case, after clearing the initial Warnings was the singular Warning “The referenced script on this Behaviour is missing!”

This is a most wonderful set of assets to get the creative juices flowing. It has made me realize how large a small scene can become and makes me think of how to view this much territory, as this scene is contained on the craggy bastion(I like the Norse/Viking burial ship in the crevice), as a complete setting for an adventurer as one part of an Avatars journey in a larger world. Thank you.

I’ll try to take in the “intent” of the points you were trying to make about Shaders, Mapping conventions and the like but it will be a while before I’ll get over the “wow factor”. Thanks again.

Can you go into more detail on your planar reflection shader? I do something similar, where I compare normals during the blur, so my screen space reflections do not blur across areas of significantly different normals. It was pretty trivial, but I have been unsuccessful in approximating the effect the distance to the reflected pixel is affected by roughness. I have seen some using screen space cones.

Hi, the planar reflections use the actual depth of the reflection (reflected pixel distance from oblique near clipping plane) to modify the convolution kernel.

Did they release any camera control / director stuff with package? That was one thing I was really looking forward to using…

It does sound a little like QB, I’d agree, but it’s actually quite different. PaintJob uses actual Unity Terrains, it doesn’t place prefabs or objects, and isn’t a ‘system’ of its own. What it does is to automatically project a Unity Terrain onto the scene, based on various configurable rules. This terrain can then be painted with vegetation, detail objects and trees using the normal terrain brushes. These will all get rendered and optimized by the terrain system without actually rendering the base terrain mesh. (or, as in our case, we actually just grab the output of these paintjobs, and feed it to our own vegetation system for custom rendering)

Has anyone gotten the character or environment package to open? I have the latest release of Unity 5 and I’m getting 56 errors after importing the package– mostly shader errors. Any thoughts?

We are aware of the project import issues resulting in pink for some users. They are engine-related, and we are getting a fix into the Unity 5.1.1p2 patch release available within a day or two.

I’m still getting lots of warnings and errors on importing the package.

– A bunch of script missing warnings
– Missing prefabs
– MissingReferenceException: The variable m_indirectLighting of VegetationSystem doesn’t exist anymore
– Also, if you import both the Characters package and Environments package, there are duplicate shaders and files

hi, i used to have the pink error because of a shader error on unity 5.1.1, so as you said i installed de patch 5.1.1 p2, but know individual package like character shadows, work perfectly, (except on opengl version, but i use dx11), but the character pack can not be discompress, so i download it from asset store, but then it says:

Failed to import package with error: Couldn’t decompress package

whats the problem? it is just a general bug?

Thank you very much!

I have played around with the hair shader.
I have added a few single-sided well-ortiented planes to the challengerhair in Blender.
When I texture this new hair mesh with the “challenger_hair” material, only the original planes are textured.
I have posted a screenshot here:

Does anybody see why my additional planes are not textured?

Thank you.

Its awful you can only download via the store. My download keeps going past 100% now its on 620% will it ever stop? Downloading big files from the asset store seems way too glitchy.

When i try to import ‘blacksmith environment package’, shader compiler just get error, and my OS crashed..

Hey Elaha, I got the same problem, all of my application windows gets duplicated many times over and my computer basically freezes apart from the mouse and some windows still barely responding.

Please provide a direct or torrent link, downloading big files from the asset store is a real pain.
Thank you.

Amazing, thanks so much for sharing! Looking forward to the Director sequencer tool going into Beta sometime, we are doing a lot of interactive narrative experiences in our lab and are very excited to eventually use that tool in our research.

This is amazing, thank you for all of your work and your dedication to indie game development!!

I would like to see how this asset would look if it was cleared with the asset store’s “rules” for uploading an asset. Point is , if this was to be used in a real game it would loose a lot of its details and quality.

Also it seems to me that the team always tries to avoid the standard capabilities of Unity by making custom solutions, to production problems, this clearly means Unity 5 does not have what it takes to take on a project like this and this forces the team to create custom solutions.

I am still downloading the project but if it is anything near the Viking village , i have noticed that on that project they don’t even use the metalic standard shader to show metals and also they even use Unity 4’s water for water. Either the team was not up to date upon making the project or Unity again was setting them back. Any comments ?

“Our Stockholm-based Demo team is a small and rather autonomous unit within Unity’s R&D department. We use Unity for production, and we aim to create our content alongside development of the next Unity versions. This makes us the first users of certain new features and systems.”

“Usually, we cannot have perfect alignment, because every production has its unique needs and challenges. In these cases we have to prototype our own solutions to the specific problems we meet. Eventually, when it makes sense, we hand over our prototypes to the main R&D team for proper implementation in Unity. For instance, the first prototype for Physically Based Shading in Unity was done for the Butterfly Effect demo; a project which made the need for such a shading system very apparent.”

More info about how this demo team works:

Regarding using specular workflow instead of metallic in Viking Village – it’s mainly a matter of preference.
More info about how these work:

I was thinking the same thing as METHEXIS STUDIOS as I’m trying this out. This demo uses an entire VegetationSystem component that doesn’t resemble anything in Unity. Is Unity’s vegetation system really unusable that you have to completely replace it with something that no one has any clue how to use? I assume it’s because the terrain is all mesh based instead of using Unity terrain, which kind of confirms my suspicion that the Unity terrain system is just too CPU intensive to be used in real production.

I think it should be mandatory that demos like this use only what Unity can do out of the box and not what you can add to it. Otherwise it is a bit of an illusion and is going to frustrate a lot of people.

[…] wurde es technischer: Unitys CTO Joachim Ante zeigte die „Blacksmith“-Demo, um schöne grafische Effekte der Engine vorzuführen, und gab bekannt, dass viele der Assets aus […]

Thanks for listening Unity! I’m struggling to download them at the moment, but I guess its just all the requests, really looking forward to getting stuck into these!

“The Blacksmith – Environments” no longer available. How unprofessional Unity. Thanks for not sharing. Thanks for nothing.

Wow. Something that wasn’t available to you 24 hours ago and all of a sudden you’re acting entitled to it. Their servers probably got flooded and went down temporarily. Have some damn patience you crybaby.

Awesome. Thanks Unity for sharing this. Just hope to be fixed downloading is not allowed about environment pack

“Unfortunately, The Blacksmith: Environments is no longer available”
What happened? I hope that it’s because to many downloads and not permanently removed.

It’s unbelievable! Unity 5 gave everyone access not only to features that used to be Pro-only.
Now it gives everyone access to true AAA quality example projects. Awesome, Unity T.!

[…] As the presentation moved to the technology behind Unity, CTO Joachim Ante dived into The Blacksmith demo to show off its beautiful graphical features and announce that many of the assets from The Blacksmith are now available to use on the Asset Store. Additionally The Blacksmith runtime demo is now available for download. For more information on The Blacksmith project assets and demo visit: […]

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