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Unreal Engine Lighting and Rendering Essentials

Book Description

Learn the principles of lighting and rendering in the Unreal Engine

About This Book

  • Get acquainted with the concepts of lighting and rendering specific to Unreal

  • Use new features such as Realistic Rendering and Foliage Shading to breathe new life into your projects

  • A fast-paced guide to help you learn lighting and rendering concepts in Unreal

  • Who This Book Is For

    This book is meant for game developers with knowledge of Unreal Engine and a basic understanding of lighting and rendering systems in it. As a prerequisite, you need to have good knowledge of C++.

    What You Will Learn

  • Use features such as realistic Rendering and Foliage Shading to create high quality output

  • Create and edit your materials using the Material Editor

  • Use Cascade’s particle editor to create modular particle-based effects using emitters

  • Explore Unreal’s GPU Visualizer

  • Tweak the overall look and feel of your scene with post-process effects

  • Create charts to get stat unit times over a long period of time

  • Use scalability settings to maintain performance for your games on different platforms and hardware

  • In Detail

    Unreal Engine is a powerful game development engine that provides rich functionalities to create 2D and 3D games. Developers have the opportunity to build cross-platform mobile and desktop games from scratch. Unreal Engine enables users to create high quality games that focus on individual complexities of game development.

    This book provides you with the skills required to apply a high level of visual appeal to your games without compromising on performance.

    Starting with an introduction to the rendering system, you will learn to create different types of materials using the Material Editor. You will then create a particle system based on Cascade editor to create mind-blowing visual effects.

    Moving on, you will learn the concept of lights in Unreal and different types of dynamic/real-time lights, along with a number of powerful post processing effects. Next, you will learn to improve rendering performance, keeping in mind the rendering limitations for different platforms.

    At the end of the book, we will discuss the scalability settings menu, and how to add realistic fog effects based on the requirements of your game or level.

    Style and approach

    A fast-paced guide filled with hands-on examples to teach you the principles of lighting and rendering in Unreal.

    Downloading the example code for this book. You can download the example code files for all Packt books you have purchased from your account at If you purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit and register to have the code file.

    Table of Contents

    1. Unreal Engine Lighting and Rendering Essentials
      1. Table of Contents
      2. Unreal Engine Lighting and Rendering Essentials
      3. Credits
      4. About the Author
      5. Acknowledgments
      6. About the Reviewers
        1. Support files, eBooks, discount offers, and more
          1. Why subscribe?
          2. Free access for Packt account holders
      8. Preface
        1. What this book covers
        2. What you need for this book
        3. Who this book is for
        4. Conventions
        5. Reader feedback
        6. Customer support
          1. Downloading the color images of this book
          2. Errata
          3. Piracy
          4. Questions
      9. 1. An Introduction to Lighting and Rendering
        1. An introduction to the Unreal rendering system
        2. Lighting paths
        3. Using the Material and Cascade editors
          1. The Material Editor
          2. The Cascade editor
        4. Working with light
          1. Using light sources
          2. Light Mobility status
          3. The light settings
          4. Light shapes
            1. The Directional Light
              1. Directional Light properties
            2. The Point Light
              1. Point Light properties
            3. The Spot Light
              1. Spot Light properties
            4. The Sky Light
              1. Sky Light properties
        5. Summary
      10. 2. Understanding the Working of Materials
        1. Understanding the Material Editor
          1. Increasing the efficiency with the Material Editor
        2. Dynamic material instances and material instances
        3. Getting acquainted with the properties and inputs of the Material Editor
          1. Properties
            1. The Physical Material property
            2. The Material
            3. Translucency
            4. Translucency Self Shadowing
            5. Usage
            6. Mobile
            7. Tessellation
            8. Post Process Material
            9. Lightmass
            10. Material Interface
            11. Thumbnail
          2. BaseMaterial inputs
        4. Applying and using materials
        5. The material nodes
        6. The powerful layered material
          1. A material network example
        7. Summary
      11. 3. Cascade – a World Made of Particles
        1. The Cascade editor
          1. The toolbar
          2. The Viewport panel
          3. The Emitters panel
          4. The Details panel
            1. The Particle System
            2. Thumbnail
            3. LOD
            4. Bounds
            5. Delay
            6. Macro UV
            7. Occlusion
            8. Materials
          5. The particle emitter
          6. The particle modules
          7. The Curve Editor
            1. The Toolbar
            2. The Track List
            3. The Graph
          8. The interpolation modes
        2. Adding, removing, and organizing curves
        3. The different types of modules
        4. Spawning Particle Systems
        5. Applying the Particle System's optimizations
        6. Summary
      12. 4. Precomputed Lights
        1. Understanding lightmass
          1. The Swarm agent
          2. The Ambient Occlusion
          3. The Ambient Occlusion settings
          4. The Lightmass Settings option
            1. The light shape settings
            2. The materials settings
            3. The brush settings
          5. Building the lightmaps
        2. The Indirect Lighting Cache
        3. The Reflection Captures and the Reflection Environment
          1. The Reflection Capture actors
            1. The sphere shape
            2. The box shape
        4. Summary
      13. 5. Dynamic Lights Versus Performance
        1. Movable Lights
        2. Distance Field Ambient Occlusion
          1. Setting it up
          2. Limitations
          3. Performance
          4. Settings
            1. The Sky Light
            2. The primitive components
            3. The Mesh Build settings
            4. Debugging
            5. The effects
        3. Ray Traced Distance Field Soft Shadows
          1. Limitations
          2. Directional Lights
          3. Point and Spot Lights
          4. Performance
          5. Settings
            1. Light
            2. Point and Spot Lights
            3. Directional Lights
        4. Summary
      14. 6. Post Processing Effects
        1. The Post Process Project Settings
        2. The Post Processing Volume
          1. The properties
        3. The available effects
          1. White Balance
          2. Color Grading
          3. Film
          4. Scene Color
          5. Bloom
          6. Light Propagation Volume
          7. Ambient Cubemap
          8. Auto Exposure
          9. Lens Flares
          10. Ambient Occlusion
          11. Global Illumination
          12. Depth of Field
          13. Motion Blur
          14. Screen Space Reflections
        4. Creating a Lookup Table Texture (LUT)
        5. Summary
      15. 7. Render Performance Debugging
        1. The to-do list
        2. Console show flags versus view modes and rendering visualizers
          1. Understanding console show flags
          2. The view modes and rendering visualizers
        3. Console charts
        4. The GPU Visualizer
        5. Recommended
        6. Summary
      16. 8. The Unreal Scalability Settings
        1. The general rules
        2. The render settings
        3. The scalability options
          1. The Engine Scalability Settings
          2. The Material Quality Level
        4. Device Profiles
        5. Detail Mode
        6. Console variables
        7. Extending to a multiplayer split-screen
        8. Summary
      17. 9. Adding Fog to Your Games
        1. The fog types
          1. The Atmospheric Fog
            1. Adding it to your game
          2. The Exponential Height Fog
            1. Adding it to your game
        2. The animated fog
          1. The color
          2. Animating the Exponential Height Fog
        3. Summary
      18. Index