Creating materials in Unity has never been more intuitive. ArtEngine 2021.15 is our most packed release yet, with full material Clone Stamping to a Baker, Plane Generator, and even a High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) real-time renderer.
The elves on the Unity ArtEngine team have been particularly busy these past few months, working to ensure that 2021 ends on a high note. The result? Our most powerful and feature-rich iteration of ArtEngine is now readily available.
Below are just some of the new tools you can use to make your project’s 3D assets shine in any renderer.
One of the most requested tools over the years has been a full material Clone Stamp in ArtEngine. Even though we have a Content Aware Fill node that uses AI to rectify blemishes or unwanted patches, we paired it with a convenient tool that enables manual input.
Unlike its namesake in other applications, the Clone Stamp in ArtEngine works across all maps in a material, and features Wrap mode for your tiling needs. This means that your tweaks to the Albedo layer will carry all the way down to other bitmaps, like Normals and Height maps.
Photogrammetry for materials can seem intimidating due to the number of software packages involved in processing a tileable material. Now, we’ve added the Baker and Plane Generator nodes to condense the workflow.
With the Baker, you’re able to bake common map types (Normal, Ambient Occlusion, and so on) right in the workspace, which removes the need for an additional baking package.
Using the Plane Generator automates the once manual process of creating a baking surface to project high-resolution details onto. This tool takes your raw, reconstructed mesh and develops an axis-aligned plane projected to the optimal midpoint of the scan. In doing so, it removes the tedious task of jumping into another modeling app to create the bake plane.
Another recurring theme when we talk to our users is the pain of roundtripping between content creation tools and Unity projects. Crafting content in one application, only to discover that your creations render differently in Unity, can certainly be frustrating. That’s why we devised an approach for visualizing ArtEngine materials within an HDRP Scene, without ever having to leave ArtEngine.
You can now right-click on your node of choice in ArtEngine and select View in HDRP Viewer to launch a standalone HDRP real-time renderer powered by Unity. This window reflects nodes as they’re updated, to give you an idea of how your material will eventually look in your Unity Scene. There’s even a range of post-processing effects you can turn on and off.
Additionally, we decided to refresh ArtEngine’s UI. It’s now much easier to parse what has already been executed inside the Node Graph. With the help of a color-coded system for executed, unexecuted, and error state nodes, buttons and toggles with clearer color schemes, plus preset header and footer panels for 2D and 3D windows, we’ve cultivated the best looking version of ArtEngine to date!
Join Senior Technical Artist Victor Kam as he walks you through the new feature set in this extensive workflow video.
In case you missed it, there’s been a number of major releases over the past few months. Not only have we added a new Chrome Ball node to unlock the power of Photometric Stereo, but the Unity Direct Link feature – part of the Output node – brings your ArtEngine material right into Unity, so you can edit it in ArtEngine and see the results update in your Unity project.
Finally, we turned on a new Style Transfer node in beta. This node demonstrates the power of AI and machine learning when it comes to combining the styles you want with the scenes you love.
Thanks to everyone in the community for 2021. Exciting times ahead!