Achieving high-fidelity animation projects in real-time

September 9, 2021 Ellen Grogan

With a real-time pipeline that helps you push the limits of lighting and shading, award-winning animation is easier, quicker and more achievable than you think.

Ellen Grogan, September 9, 2021

Creating animation projects in real-time allows you to breathe life into your concepts and ideas more quickly than ever before by omitting the long render times that make it difficult to experiment and iterate on creative ideas.

Developing inside the Unity real-time platform means that the changes you make to your sets, shaders, materials, lighting, etc., will provide immediate visual feedback. This allows your team of artists to develop shots seamlessly with an instant view of the final result and gives you the opportunity to make dozens of iterations in the time it would normally take to make just one in a traditional pipeline.

Creating and manipulating materials

The award-winning film, WiNDUP, was rendered using one of Unity’s built-in capabilities: the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP). Using HDRP, your team can access powerful tools that allow high fidelity rendering of real-time visuals, supporting your studio’s creative processes in the adjustment of lighting and materials.

Most of WiNDUP’s materials and surfaces make use of Unity’s standard Lit Shader provided with the HDRP. Working in real-time speeds up every process, letting you design and tweak the properties of each material directly in the context of a lit, post-processed scene - allowing you to create materials that fit your shot perfectly.

Shader Graph is a visual, node-based shader editor inside Unity that makes it possible for the artists and tech artists on your team to create custom shaders by connecting nodes, in a familiar workflow you’ve seen in many other DCC applications.

While you can do a lot out of the box, it is also possible to write your own custom shaders using CG or HLSL code - removing all the limits from your creativity.

The Power of Real-time Lighting

Whether you're working with spotlights, shadows, or baked static lights, real-time lighting is a game changer. The ability to efficiently test and iterate through different lighting set up and being able to edit all of the elements of your scene together give you and your artists instant feedback - pushing you to make better creative decisions, avoid long wait times, and omit costly rendering and re-rendering.

Depending on the needs of your scene, you can also mix real-time and precomputed or baked lighting setups. This gives your team the ability to work with pure real-time lighting when blocking out your scene, then later shifting to your preferred in-house precomputed lighting model.

With Unity’s real-time tools for high-fidelity visual impact, animation creators from independent boutiques to global media producers can lift their animation projects to award-winning caliber, easier and more quickly than ever before.

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Download Unity Pro to access the same tools used out-of-the-box in the award-winning film WiNDUP. Want to learn more about using Unity for high-end animation projects in your studio? Just contact us to set up a conversation with one of our real-time animation experts.

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