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65 replies on “Global Illumination in Unity 5”

[…] Global illumination is an important part of the context that’s needed for PBS. To get a comprehensive overview of how it will work in Unity 5 nothing better than to check our blogpost on Dynamic GI […]

[…] Większość komercyjnych silników graficznych wprowadziła te patenty już jakiś czas temu – CryEngine czy Unreal Engine. Na Unity trzeba było poczekać do wersji 5.0. Obecnie autorzy, którzy są na etapie beta testów najnowszej wersji silnika chwalą się swoimi udoskonaleniami. W związku z tym, jako uzupełnienie, warto poczytać jakie efekty to przyniosło w poprawie jakości i dodaniu nowych możliwości dla twórców Unity: […]

[…] posts Global Illumination Frame debugger Audio Mixer High-performance physics New animation features Physically-based […]

[…] Here’s a link to a recent article talking about it’s implementation in Unity 5: […]

What is the impact of enlighten?Is it going to stuggle with something like a gtx780 like eu4 or is it less demanding in therms of hardware?

[…] wanted to make sure it still works in Unity 5 (it does,) and also explore some of the much-touted global illumination features in Unity 5 and see how SilverLining might integrate with […]

And another question: what exact controls will we have over static lightmap components? I’ve used to color grade them heavily in photoshop, so can we expect exposure / contrast / color correction at least (preferrably in HSV and Lab space)? Or can we just have them exposed to Editor scripting APIs?

Will it be possible to hide certain objects from camera but still make them cast and receive GI (realtime and/or baked)?

[…] en savoir plus sur les méthodes d’illumination globale je vous propose cet article du moteur de jeu video en 3D temps réel #Unity3D que j’utilise pour développer mes […]

Sounds good, makes a bit more sense now! Thanks for chiming in to enlighten me, on a weekend no less.

Ok yes.. pun intended :)


Procedural levels at level load will not be supported in regards to realtime GI in 5.0. We will investigate in the future, but have no concrete plan.

That said, reflection probes + all the physically based standard shader goodness can be used without enlighten. Enlighten add’s only the bounce light part, everything else will continue to work even if you bake your scenes with enlighten.

You can place as many dynamic objects as you like. They can receive GI lighting via lightprobes but they will not contribute to the GI.

For completely procedural worlds, where no base geometry is static, you can still use the universal shader. And all it’s advanced shading. Our plan is also to support reflection probe baking at runtime in either 5.0 or 5.x. (TBD). So you can rely on reflectivity, skybox SH extraction and directional lights to get very nice lighting for completely procedural scenes.

Is there any way to do the pre-compute step at runtime, like during a loading screen? I understand a fully dynamic and changable world like Minecraft can’t be done, but what about a level that is procedurally constructed during a loading screen and then remains static while the player is actually playing?

or are dynamic structures /trees something that could be tackled in the same way lighting the player might be using light probes? You mention they’re relatively cheap, in a large outdoor setting could/should these be generated/placed in a grid format at design time or is that the wrong way to go about things?

@JESPER MORTENSEN This looks great! But wondering how we should be preparing for our game with some procedural elements.

We’re doing static landscapes, but will have player created buildings (with placement location not pre-determined), and dynamic trees (you can cut them down) will we be able to utilize anything from this in combination with current lighting solutions?

If not, I assume we’ll be able to fall back to current lighting solutions completely in Unity 5 if need be? (Currently using Sunshine)

In this case are we able to take advantage of the new built-in PBL/Standard shader stuff, or is that completely tied into Enlighten GI? Thanks :)

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Hey Jesper, where can I find this “X3 shader following sun” shader? is it already build in into beta5? I could not find anything related. I want to turn up the exposure for the pbr reflections to values bigger than 1.0 without actually changing the brightness of the skybox (it*s a dark space enviroment) but I could not find anything like this.

[…] Se quiser saber mais e inclusive aprender sobre iluminação global, basta acessar o site oficial. […]

[…] Show Links Global Illumination in Unity 5 […]

Will unity 5 support transmissive materials?
Coloured shadows – light passing through stained glass and casting colour onto receiving surfaces?

@MURGILOD: The uniforms used in the shader are the same. The Standard shader does part of the evaluation per pixel and part per vertex though. Coefficients coming from real-time GI are mixed with the baked ones on the CPU.
When it comes to functionality — you gain real-time GI, obviously. :)

@HeliosDoubleSix OMG THOSE ARE AMAZING! Your tests do not look like realtime! Unity 5 is going to be pretty awesome. I can only imagine how this will impact VR.

@Richard think of it this way, ‘real time lighting’. It’s always a good thing. I’m sure you could create scenes that are very similar in look on unity 4.0, but they’d take longer and would be less interactive. Yes the artists have done a good job with the models and lights in these two scenes, but the real benefit is the ability to have this level of detail in real time. You’ll have to discover your own way to take advantage of this tool artistically. Trust me, getting mood and atmosphere will be a LOT easier now.

@JESPER: While I agree a direct side-by-side comparison isn’t going to make sense – it’s not like you just turn up the texture rez or something – it would be interesting to see a trained artist create a ‘best possible’ scene using out-of-the-box features in Unity 4, and then to take the same amount of time to create a similar ‘best possible’ scene using out-of-the-box features in Unity 5. Would help demonstrate that all the lovely demo shots for U5 aren’t just that you hired better artists this time around ;)

Great article :)
Great to see you will be supporting the “removal” of objects from the static GI in 5.x
In regard to this, how performance heavy will the “Enlighten transparent” objects be in comparison with normal static meshes?

Will the light probes generated by enlighten be the same (both functionally and in terms of accessing in shaders) the same as they are in Unity Pro?

[…] know at this point, Unity 5 has been receiving massive visual upgrades. One of these is the new realtime global illumination powered by Enlighten (the very same which powers the GI in Battlefield […]

“Would it be possible to pre-compute at run-time on a custom level mesh? I wouldn’t mind early noise or having the user wait for a procedural scene to bake if it meant I could get good GI.”

That is unfortunately not realistic right now. It may be something for us to look into in the future.
For Unity 5.0 or 5.x, we are however looking at making the reflection probe baking available at runtime. So while you don’t have full GI you still get a big boost in graphics fidelity from having awesome looking reflections for fully procedural levels.

“Unity 4.x style static lightmap baking at one side, the Enlighten hybrid solution in the middle, and a fully dynamic/run-time GI (possibly using Power VR tech) at the other end. Hopeflly, with the ability to blend between these options.”

Enlighten also performs full lightmap baking. Any light can be marked as fully baked or not. Depending on that setting unity will generate full high resolution compressed lightmaps or not.
Any light can be marked fully baked or realtime gi, also the sky light can be marked fully baked or is fully dynamic. All of this is integrated into the iterative bake pipeline. So unity will automatically detect anything that requires baking and do it in the background. This also gives you very nice previews, because as soon as you change a light that is marked as baked, then it will switch back to dynamic GI until all baking has completed, at which point it will automatically switch back to fully baked lighting. All this happens in the background without interrupting your workflow. So it is really nice for trying out things and getting very fast iteration time on your lighting, irregardless of if it is fully baked or realtime GI.

Can’t wait to try Enlighten. As I see it, there should be a spectrum of GI options:
Unity 4.x style static lightmap baking at one side, the Enlighten hybrid solution in the middle, and a fully dynamic/run-time GI (possibly using Power VR tech) at the other end. Hopeflly, with the ability to blend between these options. I just hope Unity pursues the fully dynamic high-end side of things. I personally would like to load user generated levels at run-time and I am disappointed that there currently is not a good GI solution for this.

Would it be possible to pre-compute at run-time on a custom level mesh? I wouldn’t mind early noise or having the user wait for a procedural scene to bake if it meant I could get good GI.

@ARAS Do said shadow improvements include 3×3 tap PCF filtering? Hopefully they do, because the shadows will instantly look 100x better if so ;)

I believe this is really a huge milestone for Unity regarding the look of the output. Quite awesome! And this was also a really interesting read – can’t wait to play with this … a lot! :-)

@Shkarface, I’d rather first we finish said shadow improvements, and blog about them once we have them :)

If we’re doing a game with the static lightmapping option, is there still a step where we need to set light probes and bake those into the scene or is that handled automatically in the bake process? Also, what exactly is the reflection probe doing in the example?

@Shkarface: we do have some shadows improvements in 5.0 (some already in, some more coming – stay tuned). But probably “more major” upgrade of both shadows & image effects will come later in 5.x.

Wow! It’s really awesome – the proper light can change the whole graphics and the ability to add realtime lightmaps and lightprobes is a tool all designers were long waiting for. It’s great that Unity is ahead of industry, as always!

I drop a leave a response whevneer I appreciate a post on a site or if I have something to valuable to contribute to the conversation. Usually it’s a result of the passion communicated in the post I read. And on this article About | Air Plane Games Review. I was excited enough to post a thought I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright. Is it just me or does it look as if like a few of these comments appear as if they are coming from brain dead folks? And, if you are writing at other social sites, I would like to keep up with everything new you have to post. Could you make a list every one of all your community sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

I have been playing with the new GI while in beta and with some features not finished yet. For those who are curious as to where it is currently:

It is quite fabulous in many regards, I’m just hoping they will fix some of the limits on it preventing really high detail light maps which are hobbling my efforts. There is much left to do, but the promise of what it can offer is outstanding

Global Illumination on high end mobile devices. Great news! Speaking of “graphical fidelity”, what about HDR and Linear Workflow on high end mobile devices?

HI Victoria,I may be spouting an uluoppnar opinion here, but I’m beginning to wonder how much good these promo items do. I recently attended Lori Foster’s event and came home with a bag full of “stuff” that I barely had time to scan. I haven’t looked at it since. How much did all those authors spend of their own money just to have the stuff dumped and the bag reused? Or possibly have all of it stuck in a closet somewhere?I sometimes bring my promo stuff to a friend’s used book store and let her doll it out a bit at a time. I think it makes a bigger impact that way. But I may be the exception. Most authors will promote only their own stuff since the competition is so fierce.I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe I’ll blog about that and see what kind of feedback I get.Ash

I prefer to be able to see the “Graphics Fidelity” of the new features, is to compare the real time renders of Unity 4.x vs Unity 5.x side by side in a video for the same scene. Using the maximum settings of both versions, and so on…

This is awesome, thanks for the info. what about Shadows and Post-Processing Effects as making graphically amazing games would require these effects besides PBR and GI, any updates and/or plans to ImageEffects or Shadows?

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