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Using ambient occlusion to add gravity

From: Unity 4.3 Essential Training

Video: Using ambient occlusion to add gravity

Ambient occlusion is really a wonderful thing for 3D work. As I play forward though, it's a nice way of adding some gravity into the scene.

Using ambient occlusion to add gravity

Ambient occlusion is really a wonderful thing for 3D work. What it lets you do is settle everything down. Here's what ambient occlusion is in a nut shell. At some point light is general and therefore ambient in the scene. It's not from anywhere in particular. Adjacent objects block that light. Giving us grounding darkness in the corners of walls and floors, or up at the ceiling where the ceiling meets the wall. Under characters feet and under furniture, it's that lingering darkness. Not a shadow, but simply darker than the rest of the room.

It's a terrific thing for grounding pieces. Making stuff look like it's in contact with whatever it's adjacent to. We'll add on Screen Space Ambient Occlusion as an image effect here, to help add some of that grounding darkness to our scene. I'll pick my main camera and I'll scroll down under my sun shafts and add a component. I'll choose Image Effects and Rendering and Screen Space Ambient Occlusion. I'll scroll down and we can see in here in the SSAO effect is that it's got a sample count and it's medium low or high.

A radius and this is in scene units, an occlusion intensity. How much darkness is there in a blur? There's also an occlusion attenuation and minimum Z. Finally, there's a shader, and a randomization within it. What this lets me do, in a nutshell, is put in the occlusion and say, how big is the spreading darkness in the corners? I'll start out with a radius at 0.5, and see how it looks. I'll put the sample count up to high, just to see if I can really see it. And also if I can pull it back down, and notice any difference.

I'll press Play and see how it behaves before I adjust it more. We can definitely see the ambient occclusion, it's the low darkness along the walls, really grounding them and making them look like they're contacting the floor. Up at the ceiling, it's a little bit on the dark side, and a little heavy, so I could probably pull that distance back. As I play forward though, it's a nice way of adding some gravity into the scene. It's definitely too heavy on the ceiling. It works really well on the walls, probably because down low they're darker any how.

But, in some places, it's a little bit too much. I'll get out of the preview, and check out the eclusion seeing if I can pull it back just a little bit while still maintaining that gravity in my scene. Here's what I'll do. I'll pull back the occlusion intensity to 0.8. Maybe that'll reduce the darkness just enough that I can get by here with a lower sample count. I'll drop the sample count to medium, and press Play again. This is better. I still have some darkness up here, but it's not nearly as, well, ferocious as before.

The walls are definitely grounded, and everything is definitely in contact with adjacent objects. I'll pull this back just a little bit more, as I don't want to counter act the white walls in my gallery. I'll pull the radius back to 0.35 and see how it looks. I'll also play with the occlusion attenuation. The rate of fall off in that occlusion I'll try this by pulling it up a little bit higher, to 1.5, so it falls off quicker. That's better. What I've got now, now that I've adjusted the occlusion, is some fairly tight grounding darkness in the corners, without being oppressively heavy.

I could even pull it back a little bit further, or just leave it alone for a good feeling of gloom in there. It's up to you how you would like it to look, but this is a great way to really add some gravity in the room. Keep in mind, though, that because it's a screen-space occlusion, and we've got limited quality available. That on small tight things like the Emma's feet for example. We're not going to get a ton of occlusion, they're also in a spotlight which is going to mute out most of the occlusion. And it's just a screen space effect, not actually a rendered occlusion like we'd use in 3DS Max or Maya.

If you do need occlusion in tight, dark areas such as the vents or outlet for example. Or maybe on a sculpture or other model where a normal map has been baked out. Render that occlusion out and composite it into the diffuse texture. This screen space occlusion is good only on geometry. And so a lot of times, because we're using textures to put in final detail. The screens' base occlusion will be kind of a general wash of darkness. More than a fine detailing and darkness popping things out. It looks pretty good.

And definitely helps kind of ground my scene. My gallery is really coming to life. And here's that car one more time. As I get close enough, it knocks into the other car and the two d-sprites drop down in their own physics.

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This video is part of

Image for Unity 4.3 Essential Training
Unity 4.3 Essential Training

78 video lessons · 8985 viewers

Adam Crespi
Author

 
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  1. 2m 57s
    1. Welcome
      41s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      52s
    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
      49s

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