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Nerd For Tech

The Power of Lighting With Probes and Emission

Within Unity, we have many methods in which we can light a scene. Today, I’ll be going over a couple different ways we can light something, and how they work.

Emission Lighting

To start, we will take a look at emission lighting. Within Unity, emission lighting is when the colours and intensity of a material are presented in such a way as to make it appear the object is self-illuminated. Generally, there are maps that are made by the art team that detail which parts of the object will be brighter than others:

As we can see, the edges of this display case have illuminated edges, which in our scene give it the illusion that it has a source of light on it. When we go back into our editor, we can adjust the intensity of the emission in such a way so that it can either emit a lot or absolutely no light:

Light Probes

Within Unity, there are 2 main uses for light probes:

  1. Primary use is to provide high quality lighting on moving objects in your scene
  2. TO provide lighting information for static scenery when it is using Unity’s LOD (level of detail) system

What makes the use of light probes so efficient is that in scenes with a lot of things going on, and what looks like there could be multiple sources of light, we can implement a massive grid of probes and have effectively a single source for our light:

Scene which appears to have a lot of light sources
The massive grid of probes to give 1 source of light

In order to achieve this level of lighting, there is hours worth of work put into it to allow it to work so well.

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