Producing photorealistic environments in real-time just a few years ago seemed like a huge challenge;…
What Is Volumetric Lighting?
Volumetric lighting is a technique that allows the viewer to see beams of light in an environment. It can also be referred to as “God Rays” and is used in 3D computer graphics. It is one of the most popular methods of lighting a 3D scene. It is particularly useful in making scenes appear more realistic.
An excellent example of how volumetric lighting works is when you want a room to appear spacious and airy. You can use this type of lighting to accent a table or a shelf or use it to create a soft glow in a reading area. It can also create a painterly effect around a subject.
Volumetric lighting is often used in movies and TV shows. The technique uses light formulas to simulate the behaviour of light traveling through dense media, in which photons get absorbed or scattered by small particles that float in the air.
We always strive to bring user tools that will allow a dynamic, effortless workflow with realistic results based on physical world behavior and natural look. This is the main foundation Volumetric Lights 2 has been built from. It comes with new features and volumetric lighting improvements useful to implement in any project, any scene, for any action.
What type of volumetric lighting can I create with Volumetric Lights 2?
- Volumetric Spotlights: this type of volumetric lighting is a good choice for objects that somehow will project light with a cone shape. A good example would be a desk lamp projecting the light on the desk. They can also come in handy for flashlights and car lights.
- Volumetric Point Light: this type of volumetric lighting refers to objects whose light projection should be around a specific spherical area. An example of objects that could make good use of this type of volumetric lighting are candles, torches and similar objects.
- Volumetric Disc Area Light: this type of volumetric lighting is similar to the previous one, but instead, its shape is more like a cylinder, and its transforms will be available to be adjusted as such. I would use this type of volumetric lighting for important objects which you’d like to be somehow highlighted on the scene, such as treasure chests.
- Volumetric Rect Area Light: this one is my favorite! I use this type of volumetric lighting to create God Rays effect through the windows, and the result is gorgeous. Basically, it’s a rectangle shape containing the volumetric lighting effect, and with several simple steps, you can create an astonishing effect.
- Volumetric Directional Light: while directional lights are not supported currently by Volumetric Lights, they can be simulated by using a Volumetric Rect Area Light covering the scene you wish to be affected. In fact, when you add the Volumetric Light script to a directional light, the asset will ask you if it should create a volumetric area light aligned to the directional light. Another option is to use Volumetric Fog & Mist asset, which supports directional light and is a better choice in this case for outdoors and large areas.
Volumetric Point Light
Volumetric Disc Light
Volumetric Rect Light
Now that you know the main uses you can give to this asset, it’s time to see what Volumetric Lights 2 comes with!
What’s new in Volumetric Lights 2?
- Volumetric Lights 2 includes support for the new Unity version 2022 while also keeping support for important LTS versions like 2020 and 2021.
- Translucent Shadow Maps: This one is a masterpiece; with this feature, any volumetric lighting trespassing a transparent colored object will also affect the color of the volumetric light, producing a beautiful colored volumetric lighting effect!
- Direct Cast Light: In addition to the Translucent Shadow Maps, and to complete the effect, the Direct Cast Light feature will project the color on the opaque surface the volumetric lighting will encounter on the way! (This option requires deferred rendering path)
- New global options for downscaling and blurring in built-in pipeline. These options have been revamped and improved and will allow you to get the proper balance between quality/performance required by your game and platform.
To describe better what this means, here we prepared several screenshots, the official trailer, and a helpful tutorial to set this up!