Ambient Lighting

Checked with version: 5.1

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Difficulty: Beginner

An important contributor to the overall look and brightness of a scene is ‘ambient lighting’. This can be thought of as a global light source affecting objects in the scene from every direction.

Ambient light can be useful in a number of cases, depending upon your chosen art style. An example would be bright, cartoon-style rendering where dark shadows may be undesirable or where lighting is perhaps hand-painted into textures. Ambient light can also be useful if you need to increase the overall brightness of a scene without adjusting individual lights.

Without using one of Unity’s precomputed lighting solutions, ambient light will not be occluded and therefore will not be physically accurate. However if either Baked GI or Precomputed Realtime GI are enabled in your scene then this ‘skylight’ will be blocked by objects in your scene - giving a more realistic result.

Ambient Light The same scene with no light whatsoever (Left) and with only Ambient Light (Right). Notice how the visible Skybox does not change when changes are made to the Ambient Intensity.

Ambient Light Now using Precomputed Realtime GI by marking the objects as static. Notice how light is now occluded in areas of contact between surfaces.

A significant advantage of using ambient light is that it is cheap to render and so particularly useful for mobile applications where perhaps it is desirable to minimize the number of lights in your scene.

Ambient Lighting can be controlled in the Lighting window from the ‘Environment Lighting’ section (Lighting>Scene>Ambient Source).

The default value is for the ‘Ambient Source’ property to be set to ‘Skybox’. The Skybox in this case is the default procedural Skybox that - with default settings - contributes a blue tint to the Ambient Lighting of the scene. The other options for the ‘Ambient Source’ include a solid color, or a ‘Gradient’ which is a simple color ramp applied over the hemisphere.

Note that changing the color of the ambient source does not affect the visible Skybox, instead it only affects the color of lighting within the scene.

Graphics

  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