Lighting and Rendering / Blender
This page contains the information about lighting and rendering features which can be used with Verge3D for Blender.
- Environment Lighting
- Reflection Cubemap Light Probes
- Reflection Plane Light Probes
- Global Rendering Properties
- Ambient Occlusion
- Outline Rendering
- Per-Object Rendering Properties
- Rendering on HiDPI (Retina) Screens
- Visibility Breakpoints
- Material Rendering Properties
- Line Rendering
- Clipping Planes
Verge3D is designed to represent Blender's Eevee renderer as closely as possible. It supports physically-based shading, lights, shadows and image-based lighting (IBL).
Environment lighting is a very important component of Verge3D graphics pipeline. You can illuminate your entire scene with just an environment map alone, without using any light objects. See the Scooter demo as an example of this approach.
The default cube template provides an HDR texture for image-based lighting. You can replace this texture with your own file, or setup environment lighting from scratch. Here is the basic World nodes setup which uses the same texture for both environment lighting and background:
When using HDR textures, make sure you set the Color Space setting to Linear.
In some cases, using just image-based lighting to illuminate your scene is not enough. If you'd like to simulate some additional light source, need dynamic shadows, or if you need to move your lights (as with car lights), you may use direct light sources.
Verge3D supports the following light types:
Color and Power properties are supported in Verge3D. You can also animate the Power property.
Color and Strength properties are supported in Verge3D. You can also animate the Strength property.
Color, Power, Spot Shape: Size and Blend properties are supported in Verge3D. You can also animate the Power property.
Color, Power, as well Size for Square-shaped and Size X/Size Y for Rectangular-shaped lights are supported in Verge3D. Disk and Ellipse shapes are not supported. The Power property of area lights can be animated.
In addition, you can assign shadow properties on your lights. See the corresponding section for more info.
Reflection Cubemap Light Probes
Reflection Cubemap Light Probes are objects intended for adding indirect lighting locally by generating a local reflection cubemap. This type of light probe objects add specular indirect lighting to a scene.
For usage example, check out the following demo from the Asset Store: Light Probe.
The following properties are supported:
General probe settings:
- Type of the influence volume: Sphere or Box. Only objects located inside this volume are affected by the probe's lighting.
- Controls the size of the influence volume. You can also change object scaling and make the shape of the influence volume non-uniform.
- The intensity of the indirect lighting. Any value different from 1.0 is not physically correct.
- Clipping Start
- Near clip distance. Objects located closer than this value won't be rendered into the reflection cubemap.
- Clipping End
- Far clip distance. Objects located further than this value won't be rendered into the reflection cubemap.
Object visibility settings:
- Visibility Collection
- Limit objects that should appear on the reflection cubemap to this collection. If not specified all scene objects are used.
- Invert Visibility Collection
- Invert the selection of objects visible to this probe if Visibility Collection is specified.
- Custom Parallax
Enable custom settings for the parallax correction. This group of settings
defines a parallax volume, which is used to project the lighting
captured by the probe. If Custom Parallax not enabled the parallax
effect is calculated based on Type and Radius/Size of the influence
- Type of the parallax volume: Sphere or Box.
- The size of the parallax volume.
- Custom Influence
Enable custom influence settings. This group of settings allows defining
a collection of objects that will be affected by this light probe.
Influence Collection (if specified) will be used instead of the
Type and Radius/Distance general probe settings.
- Influence Collection
- Limit objects that should be affected by this light probe to this collection. If specified it is used instead of the Type and Radius/Distance general probe settings.
- Invert Influence Collection
- Invert the selection of objects affected by this probe if Influence Collection is specified.
In order to see in Blender's viewport the results of using
Reflection Cubemap objects you need to bake their cubemaps first via the
Bake Cubemap Only or Bake Indirect Lighting buttons both located in
the Indirect Lighting panel, which is in the Render Properties tab.
Also the Cubemap Size property controls the size of the cubemap texture used by Reflection Cubemap objects.
The IBL Env. Mode setting also affects cubemaps generated by Reflection Cubemap objects.
Due to implementation specifics there are differences of how Reflection Cubemap light probes behave in Blender and in Verge3D:
- Blender supports multiple light probes per object while Verge3D only a single one. That's why objects in Verge3D use a single cubemap either from a Reflection Cubemap object or from the world environment. Falloff is not supported.
- Blender doesn't use Backface Culling for meshes by default while Verge3D does. Hence in Blender objects placed inside the probe's influence volume can appear on the reflection cubemap as black spots due to back faces being rendered if the Clipping Start/Clipping End settings are not properly adjusted. This doesn't happen in Verge3D by default.
- When rendering objects into a light probe's cubemap (baking) Blender considers only the diffuse component of an object's material, while Verge3D renders them no different from how they are rendered on the main scene. That's why for example fully metallic objects are rendered black in Blender, but in Verge3D they still reflect the world environment.
- For the Visibility Collection property to work in Blender it's required that the specified collection is also linked to the scene. It's not needed in Verge3D and it's enough to just assign an object to a collection.
Reflection Plane Light Probes
Reflection Plane light probes is an effective way to apply real-time reflections (indirect lighting) to planar objects, such as mirrors, floors, walls, etc.
For usage example, check out the following demo from the Asset Store: Light Probe.
The following properties are supported:
- Influence distance of the probe.
- Controls how fast the probe influence decreases.
- Clipping Offset
- Near camera clipping for objects rendered in the light probe.
- Visibility Collection
- Collection of the objects visible for the probe.
Planar reflection probes can greatly reduce performance of your scene, since they multiply the number of draw calls by a factor N+1. To make rendering faster, specify a limited set of objects as the Visibility Collection property.
By default Blender and Verge3D render the same image for background and environment lighting. To render them separate, use the advanced World nodes setup based on Is Camera Ray output of the Light Path node. For example, to set the background color to solid grey and continue using the HDR map for environment lighting:
Global Rendering Properties
Verge3D supports the following properties accessible on the Blender's Render Properties panel.
Ambient Occlusion panel
Most ambient occlusion properties are supported in Verge3D. See the detailed info below.
See the detailed description in the Shadows section of this manual.
Indirect Lighting panel
- Cubemap Size
Texture size to use for environment lighting:
- 64, 128
- Do not use, 256 is the minimum value supported by Verge3D.
- Optimum quality with low memory consumption (recommended).
- Better quality with moderate memory consumption and reduced performance. Use it to render high quality reflections e.g for rendering jewelry.
- Best quality with high memory consumption and low performance (generally not recommended).
- 2048, 4096
- Do not use, 1024 is the maximum value supported in Verge3D.
Color Management panel
- View Transform
- Additional color correction applied to Verge3D renderings:
- No additional color correction applied. Switch to this method if you don't need color correction as it works slightly faster than Filmic.
- Blender default method.
- Filmic Log, Raw, False Color
- Unsupported, if specified Verge3D will fall back to the Standard method.
Verge3D Settings panel
In addition, there is a panel with Verge3D-specific rendering/export properties:
- Assign if you want your copyright info to be present in all exported files.
- Export Constraints
- Export constraints assigned on Blender objects. Read more about constraints supported in Verge3D here.
- Export Custom Props
- Export custom properties assigned on Blender objects. Check out this page to learn how to retreive these properties in Verge3D.
- Bake Modifiers
- Verge3D does not support Blender modifiers in run-time, however you can automatically bake them before export by enabling this property.
- Bake Text
- Whether to export Font objects as is or bake them to geometry meshes. Read more about these two modes in the Text Rendering section of this manual.
- LZMA Compression
- Enable LZMA compression for exported glTF files. Check out the Asset Compression section for more info.
- Compress Textures
- Store exported textures in KTX2 compression format.
- Optimize Mesh Attrs
- Remove unused geometry attributes (such as tangents) from exported meshes.
Select anti-aliasing algorithm used to render the scene:
- Use system default method. In most cases this would be MSAA 4x.
- MSAA 4x
- Prefer multisample anti-aliasing with 4x samples if the target hardware supports it. Provides decent quality and performance.
- MSAA 8x
- Prefer multisample anti-aliasing with 8x samples if the target hardware supports it. This algorithm provides better AA quality at the expense of reduced performance.
- MSAA 16x
- Prefer multisample anti-aliasing with 16x samples if the target hardware supports it. This algorithm provides way better AA quality compared to MSAA 4x/8x but has the worst performance.
- Force fast approximate anti-aliasing (FXAA). Enable this algorithm if you experience aliasing issues with procedural textures.
- Disable anti-aliasing. Use this option as an aggressive performance optimization when quality does not matter.
- Use HDR Rendering
Enable high-dynamic-range rendering.
If activated, Verge3D will use 16-bit float textures as rendering buffers. This feature can significantly improve rendering of the Bloom post-processing as well as smoothness of node-based gradient textures. The downside of this — increased GPU memory consumption and reduced performance.
This feature is not related to .hdr textures which are commonly used to produce image-based lighting, thus activating it won't improve rendering of such textures.
- IBL Env. Mode
Algorithm to use for image-based environment lighting.
- PMREM (slow)
- Use prefiltered, mipmapped radiance environment maps (PMREMs). This property is selected by default because it offers the highest quality and decent performance at the same time.
- Light Probe + Cubemap (medium)
- Use simplified image-based specular reflections. This method offers a somewhat better performance.
- Light Probe (fast)
- Disable image-based specular reflections altogether, still the diffuse component will be applied. This is the fastest technique among all.
- Global animation properties. Read more about these here.
- Shadow properties. Read more about these here.
- Outline Effect
- Outline effect properties. See below.
- Export Collections
- Select collections of the objects you want to see in the exported glTF file.
Ambient Occlusion is a rendering technique that improves a scene's realism by adding soft shadows from indirect (ambient) lighting based on how much the point is exposed to the light sources.
Blender uses Ground Truth Ambient Occlusion (GTAO) (link) and Verge3D Implements the same technique under the hood.
Verge3D supports the following AO settings which can be found in the Ambient Occlusion section on the Render Properties panel:
- Ambient Occlusion
- Enable Ambient Occlusion in the scene.
- The radius (in system units) within which to calculate ambient occlusion. Higher values make the effect more noticeable by over-darkening and expanding the area of it, but also can decrease performance. Lower values make occlusion less noticeable.
- The strength of the occlusion effect.
- Trace Precision
- Higher precision means more accurate occlusion at increased performance cost. Lower precision means better performance but the effect appears less prominent.
- Bent Normals
- Use modified (or "bent") normals to sample the environment instead of the original ones. The modified normals represent the least occluded direction and make environment lighting a bit more realistic.
Outline rendering (aka silhouette edge rendering) is a common non-photorealistic rendering (NPR) technique that can significantly enhance the visual perception of your scene. This effect can be used for various applications such as e-learning, games, architecture visualization, and technical drawing.
To use object outlining (and optional glowing) in your Verge3D application, first enable the effect on the Blender's Render Properties panel:
then use the outline puzzle to apply it to your object(s).
The outline rendering does not work inside AR/VR sessions. Use other methods to highlight your objects, such as animation or changing material's color.
You can tweak outlining using the following properties:
- Edge Strength
- Outlining strength factor.
- Edge Glow
- Intensity of additional glowing (rendered beyond the main outline edge).
- Edge Thickness
- Outline edge thickness factor.
- Pulse Period
- Pulse period in seconds. Specify to make the effect animated.
- Visible Edge Color
- Visible edge color.
- Hidden Edge Color
- Color of the outline edge being rendered behind any other scene objects.
- Render Hidden Edge
- Enable/disable rendering of the outline edge behind other scene objects.
Though it's possible to render glowing objects, in the most cases the outline rendering is used to improve visual clarity of your scene. If you need glowing from lamps or another bright objects, consider using the bloom post-processing instead.
Per-Object Rendering Properties
Verge3D supports the following additional rendering properties for your geometry objects:
- Render Order
- Modifies the rendering order for a particular object. The smaller the index, the earlier the object will be rendered. In most cases, you need to tweak this value when using Blend transparency to eliminate transparency artifacts.
- Frustum Culling
- Enables/disables frustum culling optimization for the object. Uncheck this option if you have some skinned object which can move beyond the screen space to prevent it from being culled.
- Receive Shadows
- Render or not shadows on the given object. See here for more info.
- HiDPI Compositing
- Render object using HiDPI compositing pass. See below for more info.
- Fix Ortho Zoom
Apply inverse orthographic camera zoom as scaling factor for this object. Enable this property for object parented to ortho camera, so they don't move/scale when the user zooms the camera.
If your object is still zoomed in/out, clear its Parent Inverse matrix:
Rendering on HiDPI (Retina) Screens
As of today, most mobile and many desktop screens have high pixel density (so called "Retina" displays). These displays allow you to substantially increase quality of your renderings. The downside of rendering many pixels is reduced performance.
There are two approaches how to make your content look better and do not make your scenes really slow:
- Using somewhat better resolution, e.g by setting screen scaling factor to 1.5 or so. See here for more info.
- Using HiDPI rendering only for important content, such as text, screen-space UI elements, etc.
The latter approach can be easily achieved by enabling the HiDPI Compositing property located on the Object Properties panel:
For usage example, check out the following demo from the Asset Store: Ring.
Visibility Breakpoints allow you to show/hide content depending on 3D viewport width/height or orientation settings. The most important use case of this feature — adapting your scene to different screen sizes and orientations. E.g you may have two different models for portrait and landscape screen orientations.
If assigned to the current camera, tries to switch to an alternative camera (must have acceptable visibility breakpoints) in the scene, if no alternative camera is found, does nothing.
Use the Duplicate Linked Blender feature to share geometry among two objects. One object will be rendered in portrait mode while another in landscape mode. This way you can save a lot of GPU memory and decrease app loading time.
You can configure the breakpoints on the Object Properties panel:
- Min Width
- Minimum canvas width the object stays visible.
- Max Width
- Maximum canvas width the object stays visible.
- Min Height
- Minimum canvas height the object stays visible.
- Max Height
- Maximum canvas height the object stays visible.
- Screen orientation the object stays visible.
Material Rendering Properties
The following properties common to all Blender materials are supported in Verge3D. For shader nodes and corresponding settings, see the Shader Nodes Reference.
- Blend Mode
- Transparency mode. See more in the transparency section of this manual.
- Shadow Mode
- Transparency mode for shadows. Verge3D supports only Opaque and None modes for shadows.
- Clip Threshold
- Clipping threshold for Alpha Clip materials.
- Pass Index
- Material pass index. In Verge3D, this value is used exclusively to provide data to the Object Info node.
Verge3D Settings panel
- Render Side
- Being a real-time engine, Verge3D uses the back-face culling technique to optimize performance. By default, only the front side of the polygons is rendered. If you need it to behave differently, change the Render Side property.
- Depth Write
- Disable depth write to implement the additive blending mode.
- Depth Test
- Disable depth test and raise the Rendering Order property for planar objects such as sprites or decals if you want them rendered above all objects.
- Enable dithering to reduce banding artifacts when using darker shading or gradients.
- glTF 2.0 compatible
- Make the material glTF-compatible. See the corresponding section of this manual for more information.
With this feature you can render Blender objects by using lines. The most common use case of Line Rendering is drawing curve objects, which do not have any geometry on their own. However, you can also apply this technique to regular meshes and surfaces:
Line Rendering is activated in Verge3D Settings located on the Object Data Properties panel:
Here you can also assign color and width of the rendered lines. In Verge3D lines are rendered with the Emission shader.
For usage example, check out the following demo from the Asset Store: Lines.
Clipping planes (aka section planes, cross-section planes, mesh sections) is a technique used to show internal arrangement of complex objects, such as buildings, cars, appliances, gadgets, machines etc.
To add a new clipping plane, use the Clipping Plane menu item from the Blender's Add Object menu:
The objects on your scene will be clipped in the negative Z direction of the clipping plane object.
Clipping planes have the following properties:
- Affected Objects
- Collection of the objects clipped by the plane. If empty, all scene objects will be clipped.
- Swap clipped and unclipped sides.
- Clip Shadows
- Clip shadows cast from the clipped objects.
- Union Planes
- Construct a union from all the clipping planes, affecting the object, not their intersection.
- Filled Cross-Section
- Fill cross-section between the clipping plane and the affected objects.
- Cross-section diffuse color and opacity.
- Render Side
- Cross-section render side. Specify Double-sided to render complex geometry with cuts and holes.
- Plane Size
- Cross-section plane size. Increase this value if you use larger scene size.
For usage example, check out the following demo from the Asset Store: Clipping Planes.
Feel free to ask on the forums!