Using Multiple Post-Processing Profiles and Reflection Probes in Unity

Post-processing is the magic sauce that brings your game to life. It’s a set of processes applied to the final rendered scene only, giving you some extra control over the look of your final output. Multiple post-processing profiles will often be used to achieve the best results.

Objective: This article covers how you can use multiple Post Processing Profiles in your game and why you might want to do so. We will also take a look at adding multiple reflection probes.

Your time is valuable 😄 Use this table of contents to get to where you need to be:

· Multiple Post Processing Profiles
The Benefits of Multiple Post Processing Profiles
· Adding Multiple Post-Processing Profiles
The Result — Box Volume
· Multiple Reflection Probes
Why Apply multiple Light Probes?
The Result

Multiple Post Processing Profiles

Post-Processing Profiles facilitate preset creation by storing designated post-processing information pertinent to a scene or area. In the image below, you can see a global post-processing profile with its information as given in the Inspector.

A global post-processing profile has a set of effects that affect the entire scene, however, there are ways to apply individual post-processing profiles to specific areas. Today we’ll be taking a look at the usage of Box Volumes to achieve this.

The Benefits of Multiple Post Processing Profiles

Before we get on to our step-by-step example, let’s take a look at some of the benefits:

  • Unique Atmosphere — By using multiple post-processing profiles you can add a unique vibe to your environments and truly immerse the player. Organically varied environments are much more interesting than repetitive ones that offer little change and dynamic.
  • Visual Aid— The effects you use can be tools to guide the player to key points on a level or evoke a specific emotion. For instance, a dim room with a red filter effect and fog may create a sense of danger for the player letting them know that this is an area they should be cautious about.
  • Environmental Storytelling — As a narrative designer who is also a game developer I cannot stress enough just how much you can tell with an environment alone. I previously mentioned how different effects can evoke different emotions, this can aid the kind of story you are trying to tell and reinforce its theme.

Adding Multiple Post-Processing Profiles

  1. Let’s start by adding a Box Volume. This will enable us to apply post-processing effects to an area of our choice rather than how the Global Volume affects the entire scene.

2. Use the Edit Collider button to resize the Box Volume.

Note: Using the top view may be favorable for this.

Everything inside this green area will be affected.

2. Create a new Post-Processing profile. It will automatically assign itself but you can rename it if you wish.

3. To add post-processing effects, you must add an override. Here I selected exposure to control the brightness of my Box Volume.

4. You can choose whichever effect you like, whatever changes you apply to its parameters will reflect on the selected Box Volume area. Here I am adding a Chromatic Abberation override, this causes a lens distortion that is often used in video games to denote that the player character is being affected by some form of intoxication.

The Result — Box Volume

In the gif below you can see how the environment changes as I move to the left. That is because there is a Box Volume placed there, and the rest of the room is only affected by the global volume.

Multiple Reflection Probes

The process of creating a real-time reflective environment in Unity is a delicate one, with the usage of multiple reflection probes this process is more manageable.

You can learn more about reflection probes here:

Since we’re on the topic of adding multiple profiles, I wanted to add a section talking about reflection probes. I won’t go too in-depth about them as I have already covered them in a previous article, but they go in line with the use of post-processing profiles. Just as you have added a Box Volume to affect a designated area, you can apply the same concept with reflection probes.

Why Apply multiple Light Probes?

The accuracy of the reflections in the scene can be affected by a number of factors which can be reduced by having multiple light probes. For instance, if you have a large room with multiple sub rooms and you were to add a reflection probe that encompasses the entire structure, the reflections in some of the rooms may be less accurate as you could be dragging reflective information from one room to another.

Let’s take a look at my Control Room level for a moment. The structure has a hallway leading to the main room, the entire Control Room is currently using a single Reflection Probe. You can see some of the yellow lights reflecting in the hallway. This isn’t necessarily bad for the spacing in my scene, but let’s take a look at what would happen if the Reflection Probe was in a dedicated area like the Main Room.

You see how the reflections on the hallway diminished drastically which may be more realistic for a hallway that isn’t well lit.

Now with its own dedicated light probe:

The Result

I forgot that during testing, I disabled the emission columns you can see on the sides here. With them enabled, you can see how the dedicated reflection probe is accurately reflecting the hallway without dragging the information from the main room.

I hope you have found this information valuable! To sum things up, use multiple post-processing profiles to give your environment a unique varied feel, and use multiple reflection probes to achieve more accurate reflections in multifaceted areas. Follow me for more Unity Development articles! :)

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Dennisse Pagán Dávila

Dennisse Pagán Dávila

An ambitious writer seeking to learn more about game development and software engineering. In this documentation hub, I share my skills and learning