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Kick off 2021 with powerful procedural tools that work alongside example-based AI superstar nodes.

Welcome to 2021 – and our first ArtEngine release of the year. While we’ve always had you covered when it comes to the example-based workflow, we’ve dedicated this past year to developing some powerful procedural nodes to augment your example-based toolkit and offer you the best of both worlds. Read on to discover some key highlights of new features and get a sneak peek of what’s to come.

Procedural power

We’re excited to launch our procedural toolkit with our new Pattern Array Node. By leveraging this node, you can quickly and efficiently create complex, seamless patterns of bitmaps or materials on huge canvases. You can also use it as a Scatter node to disperse bitmaps and materials in natural-looking formations.

The Pattern Array node is used for structure or employed as a Scatter node. Here, the node was applied to naturally scatter leaves across a sand material.

Check out this video to learn how to create your first pattern.

New and improved nodes

Along with growing our family of procedural nodes, we made some major improvements and additions to our example-based node family, that include:

  • A new Noise node: Add an extra touch of randomization by generating Gaussian, Cells, Crystals, Clouds or other noise profiles.
  • A new Basic Shapes node: Produce your own basic shapes, then plug them into the Pattern Array node or use them as masks on other images.
  • More realistic ambient lighting approximations: Enjoy more physically accurate results thanks to a new algorithm in the Ambient Occlusion node.
  • Better normals: Leverage the Multi-Angle to Texture node with our Radial Compensation slider to generate better normal maps.
  • Batch processing: Use our batching workflows to batch process thousands of files with a single click (available for ArtEngine Studio users only).
basic shapes and pattern array nodes

Create countless variations using the Basic Shapes and Pattern Array nodes in conjunction.


ArtEngine Seam Removal and Mutation nodes remain as powerful as ever.

Next up: The fun stuff

2020 was all about tooling up, as ArtEngine officially joined the Unity family. This required us to spend significant time working on stability issues and migrating to the Unity licensing system – but we’re finally ready to take on the fun stuff. That’s why we’re so pumped to share our product roadmap for 2021. 

While you will see fewer releases, each one will be packed with more features. Here’s a sneak peek of one of our exciting features coming later this year. 

Introducing Style Transfer, a node that will let you capture the style of one image and apply it to another. Whether you want to replicate the vibe of your favorite 80s retro game, or snazz up your Unity scene with some Van Gogh-inspired visuals, we invite you to unleash your imagination and have some fun with AI! 

Two go in, one comes out…

As our users continue to multiply, so does the wonderful art that you create. If you have any feedback for us, or are interested in having your artwork featured, please drop us a line at, on our Discord channel or the Unity Forum.


Try ArtEngine for free


Artist attributions: Victor Kam

The following is intended for informational purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. No purchasing decisions should be made based on the following materials. Unity is not committing to deliver any functionality, features or code. The development, timing and release of all products, functionality and features are at the sole discretion of Unity, and are subject to change.

15 replies on “New year, new nodes in ArtEngine 2021.1”

This seems out of my price range, but hopefully it finds an audience. There may be people out there making enough on their Unity creations that $100 a month is worth it, and if it is, then it helps to fund the creation of the Unity engine. I will say, the only negative, is that it may feel some of the indies like us feel left out, because we’re missing out on some of the cool new goodies. But, I guess we’ll see how it works.

Its not really just about indies. I run a company and work on large scale enterprise projects, pay for unity licenses etc. I pay for adobe, I pay for substance, I pay for everything – money is not an issue if there is value. But at this price point, its just doesnt make financial sense to go for it when you can get a better more mature and just as integrated offering from a competitor for a fraction of the price. There is just no value here.

This pricing is prohibitive for everyone, enteprise and indie alike.

Yet another product that has “will be abandoned soon” written all over it

Unity, as a company, seems to be absolutely obsessed with making all the worst possible decisions and driving down the value of the company as much as they can. I hope shareholders see just how negatively people feel about Unity’s future, and do everything they can to do a complete 180.

Here is the winning strategy to make users happy, it’s very simple:
– Focus on making sure the core engine is extremely stable & robust before thinking about any bells & whistles
– Every feature must be accessible to everyone. Paywalled features give off the impression that they’ll not be supported properly because not enough people will be willing to use them, and there will be no community knowledge/resources about them
– Communicate clearly what your future goals are with things like DOTS and SRPs. It’s hard to get answers at the moment
– Stop spreading your dev resources on a million different things. FOCUS your resources on high-quality production-ready features
– TEST your engine. And no engine can reasonably claim to have been tested if its makers haven’t shipped an actual game with it

In agreement, I feel like after all the billions from going public, they should put aside a couple million at least and make a small game with a small team that has a mandate to turn a profit, without access to all the internal help the spotlight team gets etc.

Instead of giving us the “our developers make games” response which is what we get – not what we are asking is it. Making games in your spare time, or before you joined unity etc etc does not count the same as using the engine to make a commercial high quality production and then using results as a feedback loop to improve the engine.

There is just no way that consulting existing companies using your engine, is getting all the quality data you need for this, you need to dog food your engine.

This has been brought up for pretty much the last decade, and the need isnt going anywhere, if anything its becoming more apparent.

Nobody is asking you to make a AAA game like fortnite and pivot your focus, just make a small 4-8 person funded team and try and make a game that actually makes a profit with your engine. The insights from that alone you will gain will improve your insight into what really matters, which is something unity as a company clearly lacks.

Good ideas.

I think this would help to change the company culture just a little bit. Unity is an amazing company, but everyone’s culture can use a prod in the right direction. And here’s what the small issue in their culture is right now, the developers they have all want to be making the cool new stuff. They want to be on the teams that are making beta software, beta features, beta upgrades. Experimental things. They look highly on abandoning old software that’s long in the tooth. They’re seen as forward thinking. As the young guns. It’s considered brave to cut off support for widely used features that haven’t been talked about in a while.

What they should be doing, is fostering ease of use. Making better quality of life. Increasing the quality of current features. Promoting those team mates who take care of the every day features. Who make sure nothing is broken.

I completely agree with you.
Your last point is huge IMO.
If Unity were to develop *big* games themselves, I think so many issues in the engine would simply disappear.
They would face real, immediate, continuous large-scale production problems (the problems their users face). By tackling those problems in order to simply facilitate their game’s production, they would be naturally be fixing the issues which are most relevant and valuable to users. For once, the developers and users would be aligned in their goals and motivations.
Nothing is as fast and effective for the design of creative software/tools than those tools being used for large-scale productions by the tool developers themselves, or in tandem with them.
Unity developers can’t understand their engines’ problems (and thus cannot solve them) if they are not making game projects *at least* as large and complex than their users, all the time, like their users.
This should be obvious, but it seems to me that Unity devs think secondhand information from users is sufficient, which it isn’t. It’s not even possible to express the depths of what is missed.

Looks like a nice tool, but the price model… this is what I feared would happen with Unity after going public. Itemizing off each new feature in expensive payment plans. I worry the Unity’s future will look like this across the board, and eventually the goal will be to get every Unity user to fork over money on monthly basis if they want to use the new versions of the engine. Sooner or later, it will reflect Adobe CC but at enterprise price levels. I will jump ship if it gets to that point.

I would use a new tool like this if it were not going to cost me over $1000/year. Sell it as an asset on the asset store for a reasonable price. I don’t know. I’m not feeling optimistic about the future of Unity. Sorry.

The future wont look like this, because everyone will leave by then. Most of us working on enterprise projects are already evaluating unreal or further. In a year or 2 I am not sure I will be using unity at all, given all the turmoil in the last 5 years and now the fact that while the engine and workflow turmoil is not over yet, they are already trying to squeeze money out of things in silly ways like this.

As said, this will likely die out because of the silly pricing, I just cant understand how anyone making the decisions on pricing chose this price point. Did they literally not even look at the competition first to get a benchmark?

Even if this becomes free for free tier, it wont matter because once you need to pay you would swap to substance (substantially cheaper and lightyears ahead in tech) or quixel mixer (free entirely)

The only good thing here is the generic buzzword “AI Assisted” but substance suite comes with alchemist….so where is the value here? There just isnt any.

I could understand if it was super difficult to get materials from substance or quixel into unity….but it is not and they provide support themselves for this. So this is dead in the water most likely, but is anyone surprised? What unity service has come out in the last 5 years that really has been decent and widely used? The best thing they offer is multiplay, and that was already existing before they bought it, the hard work was already done.

Interesting product but the prohibitive cost is very disappointing.
Why would someone pay more for this when they can get the Substance suite?
The AI stuff seems very useful in a vacuum, but in comparison to what’s available, most of it doesn’t seem *that* much better than the kinds of parameterized solutions you can easily achieve in other node-based texture software.
It seems like more of an incremental improvement on a very small set of artist tools rather than a monumental leap over everything that’s currently available, which is what Substance Designer/Painter was able to provide.

In addition, why make this blog post and pretend like Art Engine is something any Unity user might use when in fact it’s ridiculously expensive, and for that reason not suitable for independent developers? (or frankly any developers, again considering the competition)

Unity has so many good opportunities to give their game engine a *huge* leg up over the competition but they seem to frequently miss them.
Given its inaccessibility and lack of features/production value compared to the competition, I would not be surprised if this was another slowly forgotten and abandoned project…

I think ArtEngine is awesome at what it does, but on marketing/business front it needs some serious new plans. Considering their direct competitors are either totally free (quixel+ue4) or cheaper(substance suite), I don’t see the benefit of being conservative with ArtEngine. It is simply hurting the product. Free tier for Unity developers is a must.

This ArtEngine thing is never going to take off unless it comes included with the engine or as a free package. The extent of how Unity’s management DOESN’T understand its community/users keeps baffling all of us. Great example of how the corporate decision-making process consistently fails at solving even the most basic problems

It can be paid, that’s not the problem, but a base price of $95 per seat is INSANE.

What are you doing Unity? From ‘democratizing game development’ to ‘enterprise only’?
This software costs more than the ENTIRE Adobe CC collection.

Sort of looks like a much worse substance designer, kind of interested in why anyone would pick this over substance designer given the price?

It costs 4x the amount a license costs to get the ENTIRE substance suite. This just seems like a massive rip off, offering a service that is much weaker than the competition (quixel still exists too) but at a much higher price point.

If this had been rolled into the engine you would have had your first “look at us, we have the good features now” feature to brag about instead of UE always getting the juicy stuff for their users, but instead its at a really high cost with a much much slimmer set of features.

Its a shame, this could have been something amazing with the right mindset.

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