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Enlighten will be replaced with a robust solution for Baked and Real-time GIobal Illumination

, July 3, 2019

Unity is required to remove Enlighten but will continue support as-is through 2020 LTS. We have a robust replacement for Enlighten Baking with the CPU and GPU Progressive Lightmapper. A real-time GI replacement solution will be delivered in 2021.1.

Due to Geomerics shutting down Enlighten as a product, Unity is required to remove Enlighten.

Unity will continue support for Enlighten in the built-in renderer as it currently exists today (as-is, with no new platform support). The 2020 LTS will be the last version to contain Enlighten functionality for the built-in renderer, and it is fully removed in 2021.1.

Projects authored with HDRP Preview Enlighten functionality will continue to be supported as it currently exists today (as-is, with no new platform support) in 2019 LTS, with full removal of Enlighten functionality from HDRP in 2020.1.

Our Lighting team has been focused on making a robust solution to replace Enlighten baking over the last years as well as provide great alternatives for the fast workflow possible with real-time Enlighten pathway through improved baking. The CPU Progressive Lightmapper is production-ready. Our GPU-based Progressive Lightmapper is used widely now with a great set of features and is targeted to be production-ready in the 2020.1 release. We’re continuing to add improvements, focusing on highly-iterative workflows, with every release.  For example, in Unity 2019.1, we’ve added NVIDIA® OptiX™-based AI denoising, which gives you perceptually noise-free lightmaps up to 10x faster than before and many other features targeted for easier, more intuitive workflows and faster iteration for artists.

In 2019.2, we’re adding Intel® Open Image Denoise, which makes this fast iteration functionality available on all Editor platforms for our users. We’re also adding sophisticated sampling methods to improve baking iteration speed such as multiple importance sampling from offline rendering which gives you clean bakes when using HDRI environments. We’re improving the control of lightmap layouts by letting you specify the number of lightmaps you want, and adding more convenient artist options. If there is any feature parity missing from Progressive Lightmapper in order for you to make the transition please give us feedback on our Global Illumination forum.

Light Probe workflows will receive significant attention over the coming releases. Light Probes offer a great quality of lighting and flexibility for authoring – they do not require UVs and they are fast to compute. We’re working on workflows to enable easier Light Probe placement with volumes and automatically place Light Probes for terrains. We are also adding support for streaming light probe data sets to make workflows better suited for streamed worlds and large team development.

We are also fully committed to delivering a real-time GI replacement solution in 2021.1. The Unity team has a solid plan to solve this complex problem the right way, with great artists workflow and optimal runtime performance for 2021.1.

We understand it is frustrating if you are affected by this. Deprecating features is not something we take lightly. This is not the outcome we wanted. We are committed to providing great workflows for authoring lighting, whether for baked lighting or for real-time global illumination. Please join us over in the Global Illumination forum and discuss this with us, we are here to help you make the transition.


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  1. Geometrics didn’t shut down Enlighten, they out-licensed to Silicon Studios. Why mention the competition is under another brand when you could lie that it’s being shut down? Nice antitrust.

  2. I don’t care the reason, but it was about time Enlighten was put to rest (and I think it’s funny so many people are angry, when everyone’s been complaining about Enlighten since day 1).

    I think good new graphics tech has slowly been added since Miss Tatarchuk (graphics VP) started leading the graphics department. I hope they can make something good to replace Enlighten. And I agree that this sort of stuff is better done directly in-house rather than rely on a blackbox system, with no source code. This way they’ll be able to do whatever fixes or upgrades they need, whenever they want or need to. I think it’s the right step forward.

    Anyway the ones who want to know more about the rest of the reasons why they chose this should really check the forums. I think their reasoning is totally correct.

    1. Concerned user

      July 9, 2019 at 11:19 am

      I think the concern e.g. message from most users is that Unity is in a state of flux.

  3. Let’s be honest here…are we that naive to believe that there will be a replacement by 2020?

    I am also asking myself…why am I paying for this? sigh….

  4. I honestly don’t understand why people consider this a lie instantly…

    I’ve been using Enlighten for years. I tried to switch to PLM CPU and GPU and had crashes all the time.

    In the latest version, it’s now fine and working like a charm for my needs, 10x faster than Enlighten.

    On my side, I’m very happy with PLM and just want to say great job on the new workflow it’s light-years ahead in terms of performance compared to the pain I was having with Enlighten.

    It seems it’s getting even better in future release – I’m pretty excited :)

    I’m not using Real-time GI due to the performance overhead.

    Keep up with the good work on PLM and I hope to see DXR soon to replace Real-time GI :)

    1. The lie is in them saying they will provide a replacement as soon as 2020.

      1. Why is this a lie?

        1. How many systems did unity started working on and never finished, shipping a halth**sed tool for developers to use?!
          Go count them, I wait. If you really believe they can pull a replacement without prebuilt SDKs to implement then you didn’t learn anything from they way they operate.

  5. Once again this company lie to their costumers. And people still support unity!

    1. People support Unity because it’s a great engine and always will be. That is all the matters to real game dev.

    2. Beached Whale

      July 7, 2019 at 3:40 am

      Unity is pushing hard for us developers. I trust Jesper and his team

  6. I don’t quite get it, in HDRP you can just use Progressive CPU or GPU for real-time GI, right?

  7. Michael Joseph Prefontaine – from Gamesfromscratch blog

    I am the Global lead at Silicon Studio and the biz side PM of the Enlighten team. I can provide more information from our side.
    When we initially purchased Enlighten in 2017 we approached Unity to provide support, but were told bluntly they had zero interest and had already invested in developing solutions to replace Enlighten as soon as possible.
    Geomerics is indeed shutting down all operation. However Enlighten is not at all dead. A large amount of the technical issues stated in the forum are also due to Unity owning an older version of the SDK, as many of those issues have been not only solved but surpassed.
    We are currently developing a large range of updates including next gen consoles, which we are very far along with, and STADIA, which we were announced as a partner publicly at GDC 2019 in the Google presentation. We are also working on ray-tracing technology and a number of other SDK updates with new features. We will be releasing the 3.10 SDK update this summer.
    We were equally shocked and have officially asked for a retraction.

    1. That’s right, he posted it in the gamefromscratch site because that’s where all this FUD originated.

  8. Setriakor Nyomi

    July 5, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    I think there needs to be a follow up blogpost to clear things up. Because there’s a lot of conflicting info floating around. It is not enough to simply have discussions on the forum.
    Also please give a straight answer: Is Geomerics shutting down Enlighten?

    1. They already did, then they sold the rights to the tech no Silicon Studios. Since they have nothing to do with Unity they are not mentioned in this post.

  9. Due to Geomerics shutting down Enlighten as a product, Unity is required to remove Enlighten and Unreal Engine version 4.22 release is upgrading to latest Enlighten 3.09 to lay the groundwork for use of Enlighten in combination with real-time ray-tracing in Unreal Engine.
    The changes to support draw call merging are a key building block for making Enlighten lighting data available to ray-tracing shaders. This brings us a step closer to our vision for the combination of high accuracy real-time ray-traced effects with Enlighten global illumination. We will be presenting more about this combination in the future as our research progresses.

    1. Don’t misleading people here. You have to purchase Enlighten in order to use with unreal which is not cheap. This is ehy Unity should come with their owned solution for realtime GI.

      1. We would like to pay for an working up to date HDRP integration..

    2. Jesper Mortensen

      July 5, 2019 at 9:50 am

      We have been on the latest version of Enlighten since April 2017. Enlighten SDK 3.09.

  10. Could you please remove the slanderous quote “Due to Geomerics shutting down Enlighten as a product, Unity is required to remove Enlighten.”.. They’ve been shut down for years now.

    You could easily put “Our licence is with Geomerics/ARM and it runs until 2023 at which point we have to remove Enlighten to comply with the contract. The current feature set will be available until then in the builtin pipeline (i.e. 2020.4 LTS).” instead, and everyone would be happy.

    This sounds like an attack on Enlighten tbh

  11. “Due to Geomerics shutting down Enlighten as a product, Unity is required to remove Enlighten.”
    I would like to ask that you correct this misleading statement, if you don’t want to renew the license with the new right holders, to get new features, say so, don’t go “oh that old piece of crap isn’t being developed anymore, it’s all buggy and lacks features so we’re forced to develop our own version”.

    1. Jesper Mortensen

      July 5, 2019 at 9:50 am

      We have been on the latest version of Enlighten since April 2017. Enlighten SDK 3.09.

      1. The situation and the communication is quite a bit confusing and could be more precise and less unsettling. For sure, the creators of Enlighten, Geomerics and the new Owners Silicon Studio, which aqquired Geomerics and the Enlighten technology, are absolutely diffuse to outsiders. They dont seem to communicate fully open and transparent… they just tease anything and then silence. They even erased, like everything, regarding Geomerics. Then there are some weird Statements from them(?) on some other Site, which cant be really verified or taken as usefull information, since thers too much context missing. For Unity3d Users, the lighting system has allways been a bit DIY, which can enable more creativ freedom but also sows uncertanty at the same time.

        So Enlighten 3.09 maybe used since April 2007, but as far as i can tell, there are some microupdates like in the 2018.1.0 “GI: Upgrades Enlighten SDK to version: 3.09.P1.62184”!?

        With that, there are some Questions: will there be more Updates like the announced Enlighten 3.10 integreated into Unity3d? Does the contract only cover a certain SDK Version or does it include updates as well? Will there be more some in temporary inbetween workflows like Enlighten + Realtime Raytracing before the license runs out? The experimantal repository just has no progression! Are there any grippy Details about a internal Global Illumination System, i mean it shouldnt be that secret PR wise in kontext of this blogpost… what are your plans!? Theres are also some Voxelcone based Raytracing Systems, especially SEGI, which is under the MIT license after it has been deprecated. Why not port it onto the Scriptable Renderpipeline put the open image denoiser on it and give it some nice cascaded and asynchronus capabilites for big worlds!? That would be a nice insert into the progressive ligthmapper and your internal Realtime Raytracer.

  12. Isaac Surfraz

    July 4, 2019 at 11:42 am

    I dont understand why you directly lied in this blog post and claim that “Due to Geomerics shutting down Enlighten as a product, Unity is required to remove Enlighten.”

    Thats not true though, enlighten still exists its just owned by someone else. Its not geometrics shutting down enlighten, its unity not choosing to license it off the new owner.

    Can the article author please clarify?

    1. Jesper Mortensen

      July 4, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      Our licence is with Geomerics/ARM and it runs until 2023 at which point we have to remove Enlighten to comply with the contract. The current feature set will be available until then in the builtin pipeline (i.e. 2020.4 LTS).

      1. Isaac Surfraz

        July 4, 2019 at 3:46 pm

        Fair enough, is there no way to get a license with the new owners?

      2. Which one of those two is correct now? because there is no way both of those statements can be correct at the same time.

        “Due to Geomerics shutting down Enlighten as a product, Unity is required to remove Enlighten.”

        “Our licence is with Geomerics/ARM and it runs until 2023 at which point we have to remove Enlighten to comply with the contract. The current feature set will be available until then in the builtin pipeline (i.e. 2020.4 LTS).”

  13. Can we get a table showing all the option we have.

  14. “We’re working on workflows to enable easier Light Probe placement with volumes and automatically place Light Probes for terrains.”

    Or you can just download AutoProbe from the asset store and get that today in any version of Unity. Just saying…

    (Yes, I’m the author)

    1. Not sure Unity blog is the good place to auto promoting your charged plugin.

  15. 1) So it means we’ll have to choose between Realtime GI and stay on 2019TLS or switch to Baked GI and get the new features of Unity 2020, right ?

    2) If I downgrade from Realtime GI to Baked GI, I’ll lose the contribution of dynamic lights to the GI, and if I change the static lights’ intensity, their direction or any other parameter, the Baked GI won’t reflect these changes, right ?

    1. Jesper Mortensen

      July 4, 2019 at 10:02 am

      1) Correct. To use Realtime GI with HDRP you have to stay on 2019.4 LTS. To use Enlighten with builtin you can upgrade until 2020.4 LTS.

      2) If you use baked lighting the indirect light will not update in-game when changing the static lights. Using shadowmasks you can change intensities and still have correct shadows, but the indirect bounced lighting will not change.

  16. A post about realtime GI without mention RTX? Weird…

    1. I thought the same. RTX is the answer to realtime GI (at least the industry is investing a lot on this tech)

      Unity has a build. Does not worth to mention on a post about lighting in Unity?

      1. Jesper Mortensen

        July 4, 2019 at 10:09 am

        We are investing in hardware accelerated ray tracing; DXR and Vulkan RT. We will share updates on that separately. Stay tuned.

  17. Unity Progressive CPU/GPU Lightmappers fail me hard. By hard, I mean both crashed Unity after some 10 mins into baking (the exact ArchViz scene in this blog post). I sent the crash reports and haven’t heard from Unity once. I have had great success with Bakery asset bought from the assets store. Unity should really just throw in the tower and start over with Bakery algorithm.

    1. Please post the bug-report number for Unity staff to pick up.

    2. Jesper Mortensen

      July 4, 2019 at 9:57 am

      So sorry to hear that. We are baking ArchViz Pro 6 on both CPU and GPU Lightmapper, so would be good to understand why it is failing for you. You can get in touch with us over in the forum @

      1. Seriously now, Bakery works like a charm. Your progressive gpu lightmapper has crashed on me several times. WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BUY THE SOURCE OF BAKERY FROM THE AUTHOR?? I’m pretty sure he would be ok with it for the right price!

  18. I’m really glad you’re finally getting rid of enlighten. The sad thing is that it took the company that makes it to stop making it for you guys to move. Unity’s lighting system is something that I always thought needed to be remade from scratch almost. It’s just a huge mess, it needs a “nested prefabs” like update. You had beast, then enlighten… Neither were good, and then comes ONE GUY and makes a better lightmapper than an entire team at unity has ever made with Bakery, and he even offers AMAZING support. I’ll be eagerly waiting unity’s next solution, in the meanwhile I hope you guys open more of your API so Mr F can do more stuff with bakery.

    1. Jesper Mortensen

      July 3, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      I do like Bakery. However as a company we can not rely on closed source like Optix and deliver features that tie you to a specific GPU vendor. That said, in Unity 2019.2 our GPU Lightmapper performance is significantly improved. And we have added support for Optix and Open Image Denoise AI denoising, improving performance another order of magnitude. Finally, we are committed to delivering a progressive refinement solution to improve on iteration.

      1. But thats the issue, no body whants to use Unity 2019 right now. Is slow and bugged. Same for all your lightmappers, Enlighteen and progressive lightmapper produces slow and bad bakes.

      2. Sticking to hardware agnostic tech sounds right…but looking back, the whole Enlighten pipeline was a complete mess.

        Let’s be honest…ever since its introduction in Unity 5, it had so many limitations and issues that it pretty much was unusable in most cases…

        After so many years of improvement, the whole pipeline becomes slightly more usable, and now it has to be abandoned.

        on the other hand, Bakery, while not hardware agnostic, pretty much justed works as expected. It has been around for like a year now?

        Comparing the two cases, I am not sure Unity made the right choice…
        Sometimes, we need stuff that just works.

      3. Michael Prefontaine

        July 4, 2019 at 2:46 am

        This article is misleading on many levels. Silicon Studio Corporation purchased Enlighten in May of 2017 and has been operating, developing and licensing since then. Unity had been approached at same timing but the decision to discontinue usage had already been made.
        Since that point Enlighten has been licensed out to and implemented by a large number of studios. Development has already begun for next generation consoles, and is rather far along, including the recently announced partnership with STADIA at GDC. A large number of updates are also in development including support for ray-tracing based technologies.

        1. Jesper Mortensen

          July 4, 2019 at 3:26 pm

          Our licence is with Geomerics/ARM and it runs until 2023 at which point we have to remove Enlighten to comply with the contract. The current feature set will be available until then in the builtin pipeline (i.e. 2020.4 LTS).

  19. From the Github commit #3944 for HDRP it looks like support for real-time Enlighten is actually being dropped for 2019.3 and NOT the LTS or 2020… Just FYI.

    1. Jesper Mortensen

      July 3, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      No, it will remain in 2019.4 LTS for HDRP.

    2. Jennifer Nordwall

      July 3, 2019 at 5:25 pm

      If you upgrade a project and use HDRP (a version that doesn’t support Enlighten), it will still be available in 19.3. If you create a new HDRP project in 19.3, it will be hidden.

      1. This is getting more frustrating…

        why do this?

        Support it if you are supporting it.

        Don’t support it if you are not supporting it.

        This is just making things worse.

  20. Julien Fournier

    July 3, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    I’m worried a bit about the CPU and GPU baker performance right now. We’re having very long computation time on CPU with our big scenes and on the GPU side, it looks like we dont have enough vram. Haven’t tried on 2019 yet tho.

    1. Jesper Mortensen

      July 3, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      GPU Lightmapper has made huge performance improvements in 2019.2. There’s a technical blog on that here:

      Memory consumption we are working actively on with a two-pronged approach. 1) Simply reduce memory requirements by optimizing the code, 2) introducing modular bakes that lets you set up the bake units and the dependencies. The latter works well in a multi-scene setup, where you have already set things up for streaming such that you have a spatially coherent division of the world in tiles for instance.

      1. Julien Fournier

        July 3, 2019 at 6:46 pm

        Just tried both 2019.1 and 2019.2 in GPU mode with our project. Still falling back to CPU with CL_MEM_OBJECT_ALLOCATION_FAILURE. In CPU mode, I have many overlaps warning and it takes over 14 hours. I only can get a decent bake time with enlighten for now.

        1. I’ve had this issue previously, try some of the following if you haven’t already (fixed it for me):
          – Disable Prioritize View
          – Reduce lightmap size to a very small size first to see if it helps then gradually increase to see from which resolution it starts to crash
          – Disable filtering to see if it helps (for me it’s ok on Auto)
          – Number of samples doesn’t seem to affect this error

          If it still doesn’t work you might need to wait until more memory optimizations are done, or upgrade your GPU for one with more VRAM?

  21. Hopefully a lesson has been learned here, and we will see more skating to where the puck will be not where it is, and so far Bakery has proven more production ready and nimble than all of Unity’s investment thus far from my perspective at least.

  22. I am happy that Unity is parting ways with Enlighten – it has been around for too long and has not been really good for couple years…

    I am worried about one thing though.

    It looks like HDRP will not have any realtime GI solution for a full year. Given that HDRP is slated to exit preview by 2019.3, it technically will extend this preview state by another year as it will not have any sort of GI implementation.

    Am I misunderstanding something here? If not, this is quite a big deal for many HDRP projects…

    1. Jesper Mortensen

      July 3, 2019 at 4:33 pm

      Enlighten will be available in 2019.4 LTS that will be supported for two years until 2022. I am hoping that this can help carry over HDRP projects.

      1. Yes I understand, but that would force HDRP users to stick to 2019LTS until 2021. To me, that sounds very unproductive given that HDRP is supposed to be the new flagship graphics pipeline and all new features of Unity2020 and later will be missed until 2021. Given the track record of 2017LTS (some major things are decided to be left broken eg. UI garbage and graphical jobs etc), I am personally not confident enough about this decision.

        I get that the whole Enlighten situation is out of Unity’s control to some degree, but that doesn’t mean developers will be very understanding when it comes to deciding the engine for a project – especially if it is expected to be missing GI support for a full year. Projects starting now and for the next year or so will be forced to either use the built in pipeline or some another engine.

        This alone breaks my heart…HDRP has so much potential…
        I hope you guys reconsider the whole HDRP GI support.

        I really sincerely do.

        1. Bruno Coimbra

          July 4, 2019 at 4:39 am

          You missed something there, HDRP does have support for Realtime GI with Enlighten, just like the built in renderer

  23. Too bad Unity is endlessly implementing new features and dropping it few years later by replacing it and forcing user to make “transitions”…

    1. Jesper Mortensen

      July 3, 2019 at 4:35 pm

      We introduced Enlighten in 2015 and are retiring it in 2023. It’s had a good run but its a different time now, new solutions are needed.

      1. And since 2015 it never worked until this day.

      2. Not supporting new platforms when the next console generation is right around the corner means Enlighten is as good as dead already. At least if you have any expectation of targeting consoles.