Glitz and glamour — An introduction to post-processing in Unity

Unity has a built-in post-processing package that can be installed and used quite easily. Go to the “Window” drop-down in the main toolbar in Unity and select “Package Manager”. Under the “Packages menu select “Packages: Unity Registry” to get the selection of built-in packages. Find the “Post Processing” package and install it.

Next, we need to create an object that we can use to control our post-processing effects. We will add a “Post Process Volume” component to this object and assign it a new Post Process Profile by clicking the “New” button.

We are going to set the volume to “Is global” so it affects everything in our scene. A local post-processing volume is good for when you want to only have certain effects active in certain areas of your game. For example, let’s say your player dives underwater or walk into a dark tunnel, you could have a collider that triggers a different volume to become active.

Next, we need to add a “Post Process Layer” to our main camera in order for our changes to take effect. So let's create a new layer to assign post-processing to and then assign this layer to the layer in our post-processing layer component. Now we have done this let's assign our Post Process Volume object (I have named mine “PostProcessManager”) over to the post-processing layer.

Now post-processing is ready to go. Select your PostProcessManager and click on “Add effect”, hover over the dropdown “Unity” you will be given several options for post-processing:

· Ambient Occlusion: adds a darkening effect to creases, holes, intersections, etc which are close to each other

· Auto Exposure: mimics how your eyes are affected by light. For example, when leaving a dark tunnel and walking out into the light. It gives a staggering about of light and slowly dials down the intensity

· Bloom: Takes the emission data from materials and enhances them. Basically makes your materials glow

· Chromatic Aberration: disperses colour along the edges of the camera. You would see this effect when a game has a warp drive on a ship jumping out our a plane.

· Color Grading: the simplest way to describe this is it is like applying a filter to your image. Colour grading can be used to correct or alter the colour and luminance of the final image.

· Depth of Field: depth of field is a simulation of a camera lens focus. It blurs the edges of the image and pulls the user's eye to the correct place in the scene.

· Grain: this one most people would be familiar with, this is like the old-school film grain attached to the camera as a texture.

· Lens Distortion: this effect distorts the final rendered picture to simulate a real camera lens.

· Motion Blur: this effect you would also be familiar with if you ever played a racing game, as the player hits full speed or uses a boost the screen starts to blur.

· Screen-space reflections: this effect re-used screen space data to calculate reflections. You see this when a player looks into a fish tank or into a puddle

· Vignette: this effect darkens the edges of the camera and the stronger the effect the more the screen is darkened. You could see this in an FPS when the player starts taking damage or in games like Battlefield when the player is being suppressed

That’s all for now.



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Luke Duckett

Luke Duckett

Unity developer with a love of learning all things programming.