In this article I’ll show the way to improve quality of graphics in Unity game engine. This is the attempt to squeeze the best possible quality from outdated default rendering pipeline. Of cause we can’t get the exact Unreal Engine graphics quality in Unity since it has more advanced rendering technologies and fidelity but let’s see what we can do.
This is my demo scene:
This is the new fresh Unity project with all default settings, only color space changed to linear. Well as it can be seen the quality of graphics is really far away from Next-Gen. Unity team works hard now to release High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) but it is still not finished yet.
First step is to adjust sharpness. By default there is too much blur and to fix this you need Beautify asset from Unity Asset Store ->>> asset store link. Beautify is a full-screen image post-processing effect that improves the image quality in real time producing incredibly crisp and vivid scenes. This is the best post-processing tool for Unity game engine in my opinion. Here is the same scene with sharpness changed in Beautify to 2.5:
Next step is tone mapping. Beautify asset has ACES tone mapping functionality to play with. The idea is to improve the overall image brightness and contrast. Here is my result:
Next step is to add some Ambient Occlusion to the scene. The best tool to do this is Amplify Occlusion asset from Unity Asset Store ->>> asset store link. It provides better fidelity by offering GTAO (Ground Truth Ambient Occlusion) instead of HBAO+ based techniques, along with several configuration options that allow to tweak the effect beyond what is usually provided. Really amazing asset! My scene now looks better:
Next step is improvement of shadows. If you want to improve overall quality of graphics you need to do something with shadows because they are really bad. Thanks to smart guys who do amazing stuff for Unity! Next-Gen Soft-Shadows asset is the perfect example of what people can do when they have skills and motivation ->>> asset store link. I would recommend this asset highly if you are interested in having a very strong control over your shadows look and performance. Here is my result - as you may notice shadows are much better now:
Next step is Anti-Aliasing. Last time I am very skeptical about ability of Unity engine team to make high quality stuff so I recommend not to use Unity Post Processing Stack at all. For Anti-Aliasing there is a good free asset available on Asset Store - FXAA Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing ->>> asset store link. If you want to get the best Anti-Aliasing solution for your game project here it is: CTAA Cinematic Temporal Anti-Aliasing ->>> asset store link. The result is as advertised:
Finally the last step – Bloom. Many game developers underestimate bloom effect or use it in a wrong way. To use it right you need a right tool and the right tool is Amplify Bloom asset for sure ->>> asset store link. I use Natural Technique Bloom option because it gives the best result:
Well improving the quality of graphics in Unity game engine is not so hard process if you have enough time and money. While in Unreal Engine you have all the high quality tools built in editor already, in Unity you need to spend money for additional assets. A lot of people use Unity game engine because it is easy to begin to do something with it. Unity is good for some small mobile game but if you want to make more serious game you really need Unreal Engine. Once you understand how Unreal Engine works you will never look back at Unity.
P.S. Unity game engine 2018.4 Long Term Support (LTS) version crashed during preparation of these screenshots. Good job Unity team as usual!