Unity Lighting Fundamentals

Unity has an incredibly robust lighting system, and it can be hard to know where to start when approaching it for the first time. This course will introduce you to the foundational knowledge you need to begin lighting scenes in Unity.
Course info
Rating
(73)
Level
Beginner
Updated
Sep 26, 2017
Duration
1h 26m
Table of contents
Description
Course info
Rating
(73)
Level
Beginner
Updated
Sep 26, 2017
Duration
1h 26m
Description

Perhaps more than any other single design component, lighting can really make or break your game. Not only does it allow your player to actually see your environments, but it also sets the mood and clues the player into the type of world they're exploring. In this course, Unity Lighting Fundamentals, you'll learn the basics of lighting in Unity. You'll start by learning each of Unity's different light types. Next you'll explore when its the best time to use each light source. Finally, you'll learn how to make use of the different features of Unity's lighting window. You'll finish off the course by taking what you learned and applying it to fully light a dynamic scene, making use of different render effects along the way. By the end of the course, you will be able to approach any lighting scenario in your own games and make informed decisions about how to light them from a stylistic and technical standpoint. Software required: Unity 2017.

About the author
About the author

Joy Horvath is a game developer, educator, and Certified Unity Developer.

More from the author
Designing Game Puzzles in Unity
Intermediate
5h 7m
Jun 13, 2017
Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Course Overview
Hi everyone, my name is Joy Horvath and welcome to my course Unity Lighting Fundamentals. I'm a Unity certified developer, educator, and designer. I've worked with Unity since 2010 and spent five years teaching Unity courses at different schools and tech camps all across California. I love making games and showing others how to make their own. In this course we're going to learn the basics of working with the Unity lighting system. Lighting is a true art form and when you're first getting started it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, Unity has an extremely accessible set of tools and a responsive rendering engine, which makes learning how to light your scene significantly less intimidating. Some of the major topics that we'll cover include basic light theory, Unity's four main light types and when to use them, creating custom skyboxes that match the mood of your scene, how to work with global illumination while still maintaining dynamic objects, and how to light a game scene from planning to completion. By the end of this course you'll have touched on all of the major elements of the Unity lighting system and will be comfortable enough to begin lighting your own scenes. Before beginning this course you should be familiar with how to navigate and maintain projects in Unity. I hope you'll join me on this journey to learn lighting with the Unity Lighting Fundamentals course at Pluralsight.

Lighting Overview
In this module we'll go through the basics of the Unity Lighting system. We'll start by learning about skyboxes and directional lights and then we'll introduce the concept of global illumination. Next we'll experiment with emissive lighting and add extra functionality to our lighting scenarios with light and reflection probes. Finally, we'll take a closer look at Point lights, Spotlights, and Area lights. Before we jump in and get our feet wet, let's take a step back and ask a very important question. Why is lighting important? The main response to this is probably fairly obvious. It's what allows you to see. Few things are more frustrating than trying to navigate through a game and not being able to see where to go, but lighting is so much more than its literal functionality. Well-designed lighting makes the game world feel more believable. It gives way to objects within the world and helps the viewer forget that they're playing a game. Poorly designed lighting reminds the player that the world that they're in isn't real and could help draw attention to other flaws that they might not have otherwise noticed. Light could also be a tool for storytelling. It could communicate mood through color, brightness and consistency. Think back to a dramatic scene in your favorite video game. Odds are that it didn't contain flat, uniform light. Finally, light could also be a tool for the level designer. It could be used to direct a player along a path that they need to go. If done well, the player might not even realize that they're being influenced by lighting at all and just think that they're making their own decisions about where to go next. One of the best ways to gain an eye for good lighting in video games is to study what's already out there. I highly encourage you to go back and play some of your favorite video games through the lens of a student of lighting. I'm sure you'll be surprised by how much of the drama of the game comes from the way that it was lit. Even studying screenshots of games and trying to break down how they were lit is a worthwhile exercise as you work to improve your own skills. Remember, as you find yourself on the path of game development, the games that you play are no longer entertainment, but a great opportunity to learn.