How to Implement Post Processing in Unity.

The game is looking pretty good, but what if I told you you can make it look even better with post-processing? You actually got a sneak peek of it a few days ago with this screengrab:

If you’re wondering what’s different, there’s a bit going on here, a little bit of bloom, a little bit of color processing and some other subtle filter goodness that just gives the graphics that extra oomph! and I’ll teach you how you can implement it yourself in your game!

First of all, Post Processing isn’t included automatically, you’ll need to install it from Unitys package manager which is under the Window menu option:

Next, scroll down until you see Post Processing and hit the install button in the lower right corner. Unity will work its magic, and when it’s done, you’ll be ready! Close the package manager.

So in order to use the post-processing stack, begin by creating an empty called “Post_Process_Volume” or something similar. add a component, Post Process Volume and check ‘is Global’ and finally in the profile section at the bottom hit ‘new’.

We’re not quite done yet, there are a couple more steps needed. Select the main camera and add a Post Process Layer component to it. The component will need a Post Processing Layer so we’ll need to make one. Go Layers and click on it and add a new layer called ‘Post Processing’. Go back to the camera component and under Layer, select the PostProcessing Layer we just made.

There’s just one more thing we need to do in order to make the post-processing magic work, and that’s set the original Post_Process_Volume empty we created to the post-processing layer. NOW we can make everything shiny!

Now we can start adding effects, Unity has quite a few of them, we’ll just go over a couple. Let’s start by adding bloom. Bloom lets you add a glowing effect around the environment and its objects.

I’d recommend playing with lowering the threshold and upping the intensity first and just playing around with the various options. In this current example, I gave everything a spacey blue glow!

We ought to cover color grading as there’s also a set of steps you need to take if you want to use HDR mode as you need to set your color mode to linear and for that, we need the build menu.

So first let’s add a color grading component.

Unfortunately, the component menu was cut off, but it’s third from the top. Turn all the options on to begin.

In order for HDR to work, you’ll need to open your project settings and under the player, change the color space from gamma to linear. You’ll get a popup asking for confirmation, go ahead and press it.

We can finally make some color grading changes! Try the ACES mode and then play around with the various settings. If you’ve ever used Photoshop, you may be familiar with them.

Getting post-processing to work is a bit of a tango, but once you do it a few times, no doubt it will become second nature. The power it gives you to give you film-like color and special effects editing in real-time is a powerful weapon in any game designer's arsenal. Go forth and make your games Shiny!

cartoonist, game artist, and wanabe gamedev.