Unity 4.3 Essential Training
Illustration by Mark Todd

Unity 4.3 Essential Training

with Adam Crespi

Video: Adding and fine-tuning shadows

Shadows are an essential part of lighting. Soft shadows are the ideal.
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  1. 2m 57s
    1. Welcome
    2. What you should know before watching this course
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 24s
  2. 21m 21s
    1. Designing the game
      4m 39s
    2. Setting the project
      4m 9s
    3. Exploring the Hierarchy, Scene, and Inspector windows
      5m 45s
    4. Creating and transforming objects
      6m 48s
  3. 21m 34s
    1. Organizing the Assets window
      2m 55s
    2. Exporting objects from 3D modeling programs
      8m 33s
    3. Importing and configuring models and textures
      4m 54s
    4. Setting properties for models and textures in the Inspector
      5m 12s
  4. 29m 8s
    1. Introducing the game environment
      4m 27s
    2. Placing the player controller
      4m 29s
    3. Publishing project settings
      5m 32s
    4. Adding sky and fog
      8m 17s
    5. Fine-tuning the First Person Controller
      6m 23s
  5. 57m 25s
    1. Creating the terrain geometry
      3m 29s
    2. Forming the topography
      9m 54s
    3. Painting the terrain textures
      7m 9s
    4. Painting trees and forests
      10m 55s
    5. Painting grass, shrubs, and 3D geometry
      9m 38s
    6. Painting detail meshes
      8m 46s
    7. Adjusting terrain settings
      7m 34s
  6. 39m 45s
    1. Creating materials and assigning shaders
      8m 56s
    2. Handling multiple materials
      7m 13s
    3. Adding textures to a material
      3m 57s
    4. Manipulating textures
      5m 20s
    5. Adding reflections to materials
      8m 1s
    6. Creating lit materials
      6m 18s
  7. 47m 12s
    1. Creating GameObjects
      5m 2s
    2. Understanding components
      6m 15s
    3. Using colliders for barriers
      6m 22s
    4. Using colliders for triggers
      8m 1s
    5. Exploring physics
      8m 22s
    6. Working with Physic materials
      5m 3s
    7. Adding joints to rigid bodies
      8m 7s
  8. 20m 33s
    1. Setting up prefabs for animation and batching
      5m 8s
    2. Animating an object
      6m 32s
    3. Adjusting timing in an animation
      3m 50s
    4. Animating transparency and lights
      5m 3s
  9. 11m 58s
    1. Importing skinned meshes
      4m 51s
    2. Separating animations into clips and states
      3m 14s
    3. Creating transitions between states
      3m 53s
  10. 30m 22s
    1. Customizing ambient light
      2m 59s
    2. Creating the sun using a directional light
      5m 49s
    3. Using layers and tags for lighting
      3m 32s
    4. Adding spot and point lights
      4m 25s
    5. Using point lights for fill
      4m 30s
    6. Adding and fine-tuning shadows
      5m 10s
    7. Creating lighting effects with cookies
      3m 57s
  11. 9m 15s
    1. Adding scripts to GameObjects
      2m 42s
    2. Using correct script syntax
      6m 33s
  12. 23m 7s
    1. Setting up a 2D project
      3m 13s
    2. Importing sprites
      2m 30s
    3. Slicing in the Sprite Editor
      3m 6s
    4. Layering sprites and setting the sorting order
      5m 12s
    5. Creating 2D colliders
      3m 12s
    6. Adding 2D physics
      2m 25s
    7. Animating 2D elements
      3m 29s
  13. 30m 25s
    1. Creating light shafts and sunbeams
      5m 20s
    2. Using ambient occlusion to add gravity
      4m 37s
    3. Adding depth of field
      8m 40s
    4. Applying motion blur
      5m 46s
    5. Tuning color for mood
      6m 2s
  14. 38m 16s
    1. Exploring water effects
      7m 36s
    2. Working with wind zones
      2m 8s
    3. Using an audio source
      4m 3s
    4. Creating a sound zone
      5m 59s
    5. Triggering audio
      3m 37s
    6. Adding audio effects
      3m 13s
    7. Creating particle systems
      2m 26s
    8. Adjusting particle systems
      9m 14s
  15. 25m 23s
    1. Setting up occlusion culling
      5m 52s
    2. Enabling batching to reduce draw calls
      3m 28s
    3. Testing in the game window using statistics
      4m 27s
    4. Building a development build and debugging
      6m 0s
    5. Building the executable
      5m 36s
  16. 49s
    1. Next steps

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Watch the Online Video Course Unity 4.3 Essential Training
6h 49m Beginner Mar 10, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Interested in game making? Start in Unity—a game engine for mobile and desktop games and real-time simulations. Author Adam Crespi shows techniques used in game development with Unity and introduces the basics of scripting and game functionality. First, learn how to import models and textures, organize your project and hierarchies, and add terrain, water, and foliage. Next, Adam explores how to use lighting to bring the game to life, and add rendering, particles, and interactivity. The end result is a sample game with a lush environment, fully animated characters, and some basic interactive gameplay.

Topics include:
  • Designing the game
  • Creating and transforming objects
  • Importing and configuring models and textures
  • Setting properties in the Inspector
  • Creating the terrain geometry
  • Building materials and adding shaders
  • Creating GameObjects
  • Exploring physics
  • Animating objects
  • Lighting the scene
  • Creating 2D game elements
  • Adding special effects
3D + Animation Developer
Unity 3D Unity
Adam Crespi

Adding and fine-tuning shadows

Shadows are an essential part of lighting. But we have to make some judgment calls over what is acceptable in our shadows. Casting and calculating real time shadows is enormously, computationally intensive. And so we need to be very careful about what lights cast shadows and what kind of shadows they are. Right now, the only shadows I have are those from the sun coming into the space, and actually shadowing off the roof and inside this building. I'll look at my sun first and adjust the shadow quality. And then I'll see if there's any other lights I can put shadows on.

I'll select my sun. Scrolling down in the hierarchy and picking the sun. And right now it's set to soft shadows with the default quality settings. I'll zoom in over by the balcony and take a look at how these lights are behaving. Soft shadows are the ideal. They spread out as natural light does and have the appearance of the light diffusing and light bouncing into the shadow correctly. They're computationally fairly expensive, and so we want to use them very carefully. We have hard shadows as well, and the difference is that hard shadows are, as the name suggests, hard.

They are as crisp as possible, given the quality settings from the start of the shadow, all the way out. And it's really a judgement call in the look we want versus a physically correct shadow, one way or another. We may want the game to be very hard edged and our shadows to be very crisp, in this case, throwing in sharp relief the pattern from the window mullions onto the floor. For this game, though, I want it to be softer and warmer. So I'll choose soft shadows and let those shadows fuzz out. It's using shadow map or depth map shadows, where it's approximating the spread and fuzz of a natural shadow by calculating that shadow in RAM and then projecting it forward.

For our shadows then we can choose in here different quality settings and we want to balance the quality we're using versus the computational hit. Very high resolution shadows look terrific but are more overhead to think through and may slow down the game. I'm going to leave my sun at high resolution but then I'll play with the softness and softness fade. Within our soft shadows then, softness at zero gives us a very crisp shadow. Softness all the way up fuzzes that shadow out completely. I'll put this down about, oh, two and a half or so, so it's got a little spread to it without being excessively fuzzy.

The softness fade then, is the edge of that shadow, how diffuse it is, or how crisp. Again, pulling softness fade all the way back results in a crisp but aliased shadow. I'll pull mine up in the one and a half, almost two range. And finally there's bias, bias relates to the shadow map. And what that does is it says, if that shadow is bleeding around the front of the object because it's approximating the fuzz of the shadow, push it forward. I'm going to leave the bias alone, but I'll crank it up temporarily, just to show what it looks like when you adjust it.

I'll zoom in on the window frame. And right now it looks roughly so like those shadows are coming from the frame. We are getting a bit of an artifact right here around the base. Where there's a little bit of a spread in the shadow, pulling that bias around may push that shadow out too much, but it may avoid a shadow bleed around the front of those objects. Pulling bias down to zero then, may wrap the shadow around the front to that window frame, and so a little bit of bias in here, 0.05, 0.07, is just enough to push that shadow forward.

In this case, even 0.07 is too much. I'll pull that back down and it looks about as good as I'm going to get. The shadow strength finally, is the opacity of our shadow. By default at one, they're very hard and very black. I'm going to pull this back, and what I'm doing here with the shadow, in addition to just simply lowering the strength value, is simulating the bounce of light into the shadow from adjacent objects. Light bounces in the world. And when light bounces off objects into shadows, the shadows appear lighter.

And so we can use our shadow strength to soften the rendering, so we don't have heavy black shadows. We have darker shadows plus the color of the material they're over. And we can get a good adjustment in here. I'll click Play and see how this looks and run around the scene a bit. My shadow quality is looking decent. I've got a little bit of dottiness going on, but it's not terrible. I can live with it and I'm planning to blur this later. I also haven't increased my quality setting, so I'm still seeing some aliasing. some better anti-aliasing, a little glow, color correction, and depth of field in the image effects will help smooth this out.

The shadows look pretty good, and inside my scene is holding up nicely. I've got decent light overall, some light spot in the ceiling here and there. And, decent light in the volumes. What I may end up wanting to do, as a side note on this, is take that ceiling and put it on its own layer and use a different light to aim up and light up just the ceiling, leaving the point lights free to just hit the walls in building interior a. For now though, I like how my gallery is going. I've got good value in the lighting and I can definitely see the can lights and I feel like they're contributing to the light.

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