Preparing Unity Render Settings

Checked with version: 2017.3


Difficulty: Intermediate

The following advice focuses on achieving a believable visual target. Understanding how Unity’s rendering features can be used to realistically mimic the real world will enable you to quickly achieve your project’s believable visual goal. For greater depth information, visit Unity lighting and rendering tutorial.

Linear rendering mode

In simple terms, this sets Unity to do lighting and shading calculations using physically accurate math before transforming the final output into the format that works best for monitors.

To specify a gamma or linear workflow, go to Edit > Project Settings > Player and open Player Settings. Then go to Other Settings > Rendering and change the Color Space to Linear.

Defining your color space should be one of the earliest decisions in your project because of the drastic impact on the final shading and lighting results. Unity has good documentation explaining each workflow.

Rendering mode

In the Spotlight Tunnel Sample Scene, Deferred rendering mode is used. This allows content creators to work with multiple dynamic lights efficiently, combined multiple reflection cubemap and be able to use the existing Screen Space Reflection features in Unity 2017+.

Set this in Graphic Settings > Rendering Path or set in Camera > Rendering Path

For more in depth rendering mode information refer to the Unity documentation.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Camera

When rendering believable lighting, much like real life, content creators will be dealing with lighting values and emissive surfaces that have a brightness higher than 1 (high dynamic range). These values then need to be remapped to the proper screen range (tonemapping). This setting is crucial to allow the Unity camera to process these high values and not clip it. To enable this, select the main camera on the scene. Ensure that HDR is checked in the inspector tab for the selected camera.

HDR Lightmap encoding (optional)

The "Spotlight Tunnel" Sample Scene didn’t use baked lighting, however if you are planning to work with High intensity (HDR) baked lighting, setting the lightmap encoding to HDR lightmap is recommended to make sure the baked light result is consistent. The option can be found under Edit > Project > Player settings > Other settings > Lightmap encoding (Unity 2017.3+ only). Detailed information for Lightmap encoding can be found here.

Tonemapper for your Scene

To display HDR lighting properly, tonemapper need to be enabled in the project. Make sure Unity Post Process asset are installed in your project.

Setup in Post Process stack V1: (the version used in the “Spotlight Tunnel” scene.)

  • Create a Post Process Profile Asset in your project and configure it as such:

    • Enable Color Grading > Tonemapper > ACES (Academy Color Encoding Standards)
    • Enable Dithering Dithering allows the Scene to alleviate banding artifact introduced by 8 Bit/channel output from HDR Scene. Modern engines use this technique to circumvent the limitation of 16M colour output.
    • Leave the rest of settings in tonemapper alone for now.
  • Select the “Main Camera” and Add component, Post Processing Behaviour.

  • Assigned the Post Process profile previously created to the profile slot. For Post Process stack V2, please refer to the readme of the package as it is currently in Beta development phase.

Enable Image effect for viewport

This enables user to see the tonemapper all the time while working with the Scene view.

^Notice the highlight rendition and the dark tunnel value separation improvements in the tonemapped Scene. If you look at the non-tonemapped Scene, you can see how the highlights didn’t converge to a unified color. (the yellowish burning sun in this case).

This setup essentially try to replicate how a Digital camera captures a Scene with a fixed exposure (without exposure adaptation / eye adaptation features enabled).

At this point, content creators have achieved proper foundational scene rendering setup that should give believable results with a wide range of content.


  1. Introduction to Lighting and Rendering
  2. Choosing a Lighting Technique
  3. The Precompute Process
  4. Choosing a Rendering Path
  5. Choosing a Color Space
  6. High Dynamic Range (HDR)
  7. Reflections
  8. Ambient Lighting
  9. Light Types
  10. Emissive Materials
  11. Light Probes
  1. Introduction to Precomputed Realtime GI
  2. Realtime Resolution
  3. Understanding Charts
  4. Starting the precompute process
  5. Probe lighting
  6. Unwrapping and Chart reduction
  7. Optimizing Unity's auto unwrapping
  8. Understanding Clusters
  9. Fine tuning with Lightmap Parameters
  10. Summary - Precomputed Realtime GI
  1. Lighting Overview
  2. Lights
  3. Materials
  4. The Standard Shader
  5. Textures
  6. Using Skyboxes
  7. A Gentle Introduction to Shaders
  8. Using detail textures for extra realism close-up
  9. Frame Debugger
  1. Cameras
  2. Image Effects: Overview
  1. Meshes
  2. Mesh Renderers and Mesh Filters
  1. Where to Start?
  2. Preparing Unity Render Settings
  3. Lighting Strategy
  4. Modeling
  5. Standard Shader/Material PBS and texturing
  6. Lighting and Setup
  7. Understanding Post Process Features
  8. Dynamically Lit Objects
  9. Sample Project File
  1. Using Cameras
  2. Using Lights
  3. Fun with Lasers!
  4. The Particle System
  5. Cinematic Explosions - PIT
  6. Cinematic Composition - PIT
  7. Image Effects: Overview
  8. Fun with Explosions!
  9. Exploring the Blacksmith Environment
  1. Turning it up to 11: Making Unity 5 look Awesome!
  1. Substance - Introduction
  2. Substance - Understanding PBR
  3. Substance - Working with PBR in Unity
  4. Substance - Using Substance materials in Unity
  5. Substance - Optimization for Substance materials
  6. Substance - Creating rock shapes
  7. Substance - Creating rock material, Pt 1
  8. Substance - Creating rock material, Pt 2
  9. Substance - Creating the dirt ground material
  10. Substance - Creating the rock ground material, Pt 1
  11. Substance - Creating the rock ground material, Pt 2
  12. Substance - Publishing the Substance
  13. Substance - Creating a blocking scene
  14. Substance - Creating the ground model
  15. Substance - Modelling the rock assets
  16. Substance - Texturing the upper body
  17. Substance - Exporting textures from Substance Painter
  18. Substance - Creating a scene in Unity, Pt 1
  19. Substance - Creating a scene in Unity, Pt 2
  1. Introduction and Goals
  2. Flame Particles Overview
  3. Particle Emission and Color
  4. Adding Movement To Particles With Noise
  5. Creating The Ember Particles
  6. Adding Lighting To Particles
  7. Creating Sparks With Particle Trails
  8. Particle Question and Answers
  1. Introduction and Goals
  2. Adding a Second Camera
  3. Adding Minimap Icons
  4. Render Textures and UI
  5. Adding A UI Mask and Border Image
  6. Questions and Answers
  1. Session Introduction
  2. Rendering In Unity
  3. Anatomy Of An Unlit Shader
  4. The Vertex Function
  5. The Fragment Function and Color Tint
  6. Making A Transparent Shader
  7. Displacing Vertices and Clipping Pixels
  8. Questions and Answers
  1. Introduction and Session Goals
  2. The VideoPlayer Component
  3. Texturing Objects With Video
  4. Playing and Pausing
  5. Playing A New Clip
  6. Displaying Current Time and Clip
  7. Animated Playhead
  8. Questions and Answers
  1. Overview and Goals
  2. Tonemapping and Color Grading
  3. Camera Movement & Animation
  4. Post Processing Volumes
  5. Timeline & Cinemachine
  6. Questions and Answers