Tools: material, lighting, and asset production resources

Materials and Shaders

The video covers: intro to materials and shaders.
Download the package with all the shaders and models.

Some useful “look-and-feel” shaders
I recommend to stick to the default aka pre-built render pipeline unless you know what you are doing.

Various retro shaders

Outline shader
Multi step toon shader
Single step toon shader
JPG compression effect

Painterly effect, neon, silouhette shader


The light game objects are quite straighforward components to use.
However in a 3D engine the lighting depends on a variety of other factors such as:

  • Materials: they contain information like color, texture, and how they reflect light (or better, simulate light reflection). The logic that govern light reflection (and more) in a material is defined by scripts called shaders. Shader programming is hard but you can use and tweak existing shaders.
  • Textures: texture images are properties of the materials but their mapping, or how they wrap around meshes, depends on the model. Texture mapping is a complex process that can’t be done in Unity so we won’t talk about it. If a model comes with a texture properly mapped, you can try to modify the image in photoshop, but creating your own textures is beyond the scope of this class.
  • Ambient light and other global settings: they are a lot, and they are in the “lighting” panel. You should always keep it open next to the inspector (menu window > rendering > lighting settings). We’ll just look at the skybox and the fog. We will not get into baking lights and other rendering pipelines.

  • Post-processing effects – they are a bit like instagram filters applied to the image after it’s being rendered. Activating post-processing effects is a bit tricky but the template I’m giving you should have them already set up. Just add the effects on the “Post Processing effects” object, activate each singleOne of the many tutorials covering lights

Intro to lighting, skyboxes, fog, Post-processing effects, and other general settings:

Lighting in 2D

Unity supports normal maps in 2D too!

3D modeling

The video covers a couple of non realistic styles and their relationship with materials.

Free or cheap 3D tools

Blender – the leading 3d creation suite

Sprytile – 3d tiles in blender

Magikavoxel – easy voxel modeling

Makehuman – realistic human generator

AwesomeBump – generates normal, height, etc maps from a single image

Meshmixer – mash up 3d models (warning: models may be too high poly)

Meshlab – Remeshing tool, especially to simplify and clean up photogrammetry models

Instant Meshes – Create a clean mesh from a high poly model

Terrain Party – height maps from real world terrain

Snappy Tree – Procedurally generate trees (not optimized)

Doodle Studio



Check out studio Oleomingus’ work


Piskel – pixel art drawing and animation

Pixelator – images to pixel art

Paint of Persia – pixel rotoscoping

TileSetter – tile set creator

Tiled – map editor

Ogmo – 2D level editor

Pixelart tutorials collection