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This week Unity stormed SIGGRAPH 2017 — the world’s largest and most influential computer graphics conference — giving attendees an in-depth look at the latest breakthroughs for artists and creatives in the world of interactive entertainment.

Those who visited our booth and Unity Central were treated to daily demos and speaker sessions on topics including advances in real-time rendering and cinematic storytelling, as well as first-look deep dives for Unity’s photogrammetry workflow and de-lighting tool. The amount of knowledge being shared across 5 days was inspiring.

 Timeline and Cinemachine

Head of Cinematics Adam Myhill wowed creators with the speed and flexibility Unity’s powerful new real-time cinematic tools offer. Artists can use the Timeline sequencer to easily blend and tweak animations without any additional code. Our intuitive smart camera system Cinemachine optimizes the artist workflow and gives room for experimentation by eliminating hours of hand animation, camera programming, and revision. These cinematic tools enable you to retain control over creative decisions up until the end of the creation process, empowering you to create more content in less time.

Find out more about Unity for Artists.

Unity’s Photogrammetry workflow and de-lighting tool

Our Field Engineer Mathieu Muller and Technical Artist Cyril Jover gave attendees an engaging in-depth look at Unity’s photogrammetry workflow, which makes it easy to transform high resolution photographs into photorealistic 3D objects and textures. Using this advanced workflow and Unity’s de-lighting tool, you can now create reusable high-quality digital assets efficiently, saving time and money.

Get the free Photogrammetry workflow guide 

OctaneRender in Unity technical preview

Unity and Otoy also showcased a preview release of OctaneRender, a physically-based renderer that will work directly inside Unity for beautiful hyper realistic game-cutscenes, 360 videos and VR films.

Octane will complement Unity’s real-time processing by rendering assets offline at speeds up to 50x faster than CPU based engines.

“Art is how we experience reality with other humans.” – Issac Cohen (@Cabbibo), Unity Artist in Residence, giving a talk on simulation as art during SIGGRAPH 2017

Research and VR

Aside from all of the Unity activity in Unity Central or at our booth, we were very excited to sponsor this year’s VR VIllage, a space in the expo hall for attendees to discover the potential of real-world applications demonstrating new ways to communicate and interact with virtual and augmented realities. And located right next to the VR Village was the VR Theater, where cinematic experiences like Baobab’s Rainbow Crow and Scatter’s Zero Days were given a bit of the red carpet treatment, complete with lit-up marquee and spotlights!

In addition to holding sessions on VR topics spanning tools, ethics, and rendering, a few of the Unity Labs researchers shared two technical papers, which you can read in-depth at the links below:

To find learn more about Unity’s experimental projects, research, and explorations into the future of game design, VR, AR and development, check out the Unity Labs articles.

It was an inspiring week exploring the potential of our ever-expanding creation engine for gaming and real-time entertainment. Take a look at the Unity SIGGRAPH 2017 landing page for a full list of talks. We plan to share some of these talks with you on YouTube, so keep your eyes out for those in the coming weeks!

9 replies on “Unity debuts new artist tools and innovations at SIGGRAPH 2017”

To make movies.. in Unity… and to sell those movies?? it’s Oscar….
It will take some time, people stop playing with VR… this time, the other engines will go a long way. As an example – a product from Amazon …
or team unity has already conceded defeat???

VR, VR, VR, VR It’s a shit. Where a new landscape, deffered decals, pbs speedtree shader and other useful things.

replace “a” by “the” and you have VR It’s the shit. Just kidding, I agree VR is a waste of time. But let them burn time on it and improve the graphics perfs for it, not all bad, even though in the end no consumer will use VR.

Octane is in alpha so be car full i had to hard restart my pc when i tried to pre render a scene with it. however it seems to improve the real time lights as well …

At the moment Octane is in alpha stage and is not compatible with Ati video cards but looks like this will change in the future.

I’m glad Unity is focusing more on artist tools, but I have one gripe with what’s being worked on right now; it feels like all the artist tools currently in development are more oriented towards “non-games” than towards games.

I see a lot of XR stuff, pre-rendering stuff, “movie” stuff, etc…. It’s like Unity decided to cater to bandwagon-jumping old business people instead of catering to its actual community and developpers. Where are the fundamental tools for making games?

Don’t get me wrong… things like Timeline can be very useful for games, but Unity is missing some extremely basic artist tools that should be the priority instead. Things like:
– Integrated node-based material editor
– Terrain tools that aren’t from the 1950’s
– Integrated deferred decals
– Tools for automatic convex decompositions of colliders and convex hulls generation
– Dedicated windows for editing prefabs and particle systems instead of having to put them in scenes
– etc…

That de-lighter, the iridescence, sphere lights and other things are cool, but what good are they when the shadow filtering is crappy (and there are no options for it), there are no colored light cookies (thus no hue variation in lights), and there are no options in regard to light falloff?
Those things, on top of other things, are FAR more limiting to me as a game artist than lack of sphere lights or in-engine tools for de-lighting.
I mean I guess I can’t totally blame Unity for trying to get ahead with VR development, even the non-real-time stuff, but I feel like they’ve neglected some very important artistic and graphical features, and are prematurely jumping ahead to adding more advanced things without fleshing out and improving the stuff that’s already there.

I feel the same as you when it comes to the new tools. They feel as if Unity is going more towards movies and animations instead of game making.

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