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Turn on gorgeous effects with the Post-Processing Stack

Last updated: January 2019

What you’ll get from this page: A quick catch-up on recent updates to the Post-processing stack, one of the key toolsets for artists in Unity. And, three additional resources to check out to boost your skills with the stack.

Post-processing is the process of applying full-screen filters and effects to a camera’s image buffer before it is displayed to screen. The effects simulate physical camera and film properties, to greatly improve the visual quality of your content with little coding and setup time.

What’s in the stack?

The stack is an über effect that combines a complete set of effects into a single post-processing pipeline. The benefits of the single pipeline setup are that effects are always configured in the correct order, it supports combining many effects into a single pass and all effects are grouped together in the UI for a better user experience.

You can access it via Package manager in the editor, this is the tested and verified version of the package. If you’re after the very latest development branch of PostFX v2 then it still will be hosted on GitHub.

The effects included are:

Ambient Occlusion

Auto Exposure

Bloom

Chromatic Aberration

Color Grading

Depth of Field

Grain

Lens Distortion

Motion Blur

Screen-space reflections

Vignette

What’s new?

A number of the effects were rewritten to optimize their application in one pass. We added a volumetric workflow so that you can apply one global volume and add smaller volumes that the effects will override in between. There are new debug views, mobile optimizations and a framework for some custom effects as well. The stack also includes a collection of monitors.

As well, wherein previously you had a profile that could be applied to the camera and then edited as an asset, now you have new Components to work with:

  • The Post-process layer Component, which goes on the camera
  • The Post-process volume Component, for volumes contained by triggers where effects are applied
  • The Post-process debug Component, for visual debugging tools
Top three resources

Docs and starter guides

The latest version of the stack, along with a handy quick start guide, is available on GitHub, or via the Package Manager.

From the blog: Amazing visuals, updated

Josh wrote this blog post that provides a detailed overview of the latest features, how to set them up, how to use them with other systems, such as Timeline and Cinemachine, and using them in mobile content. A must-read before you start using them.

How to apply the effects, step-by-step

Josh also had a session at Unite wherein he showed step-by-step how to turn on and apply the effects. He used the scene shown below, from the Asset Store: a nice-looking one with high-quality textures and good lighting. By adding post-processing effects, he takes it from good to gorgeous. Very little coding was required, only for the camera flying through, which you can do with an animation track or the Cinemachine dolly track.

Unity-post-processing-effect-stack2

The first half of his talk covers how to set up a Global Profile, how to override the Global Profile where needed, to apply individual Post-Processing Profiles, and how to blend between Profiles (it’s all very easy!).

In the second half of his session, he explains how to think about and use these effects from a cinematic or film approach, and how to debug them. That part of the talk starts around the 22:00 mark.

Finally, if you've not yet tried it, check out the Unity Hub. It's where you can download all of the latest Unity versions, betas, and many learning tutorials. It also provides different templates, not just for 2D or 3D projects, but templates for the new scriptable rendering pipelines, and an example project that uses some of the packages, such as the Post-processing stack, to help get you started.

More resources

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