[UPDATED December 2021 to reflect the new LookDev 0.2.0 release]
Artists, no matter their expertise, need a place to quickly import, iterate on, and refine their art. In Unity, there has yet to be a simple starting point for importing one asset and manipulating its environment to determine and visualize iteration pathways. Now, we want to speed up the process for artists like you to get started in Unity.
That’s where LookDev Studio comes in. Its feature set makes it easier to import, visualize, validate, debug, compare, and develop high-quality visuals of your assets from the Unity platform.
The LookDev Studio layout has been streamlined with fewer tabs for a more artist-focused interface that offers easy access to your models, materials, and textures. This way, you don’t have to worry about folder hierarchies or other (sometimes unnecessary) components.
At present, LookDev Studio is a prototype targeted toward artists working in Unity’s High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) or Universal Render Pipeline (URP). Its current feature set prioritizes the ability to import and view individual assets and small dioramas under various light conditions and debugging modes, in addition to quick lighting customization and setup, automation, and filtering functionalities.
We would love to hear what you think about the LookDev Studio prototype so far, and where you see it within the overall Unity ecosystem. Read on to learn more about how you can share valuable feedback that will directly impact the development of this latest product.
The second release of the LookDev Studio prototype brings with it a series of customization updates and improved functionality. First and foremost, the URP version of the project – complete with sample content and Skybox setups – is now readily available.
0.2.0 also comprises new features for both HDRP and URP versions, such as:
Reminder, LookDev Studio is a prototype and doesn’t have an official release date yet. While we do not recommend using it for your production, we hope you’ll give our new features a try and let us know what you think in the survey and forums. Your feedback will help guide our next phase of development to ensure that it’s tailored to your needs.
One key question that fuels our innovation is: How can we empower you to get up and running in Unity quickly, and then bring your high-quality art to the renderer? As you’ll see in this overview of the LookDev Studio prototype, the current feature set focuses on the import flow, material setup, and previewing under different lighting conditions, with more potential workflow improvements and features to come.
Drag and drop into the Scene view import and material setup workflow.
The LookDev Studio prototype automates some of the import process steps. For instance, you can drag and drop models and textures into the Scene view. Each asset type is then automatically assigned to its respective folder to generate new materials.
If you import textures, or models with associated textures, you can use the Texture Allocator to assign them to auto-generated materials right away. This enables you to create the materials you need for your assets. Simply drag and drop your different textures into the appropriate channel, or select the Texture Allocator button in the UI. By using common suffixes for your Texture types, many textures will automatically be assigned to their correct slots, and Normal Map import settings will be adjusted automatically as well.
With the Lighting Preset drop-down, you can rapidly and iteratively test your assets in five different high-dynamic-range images (HDRIs) and lighting configurations, all built-in with the LookDev Studio prototype. You can also use the = / - key shortcuts to quickly switch between lighting presets.
Switch between HDRI presets and use a hotkey to rotate the lighting rig.
Even more, you can leverage the Lighting Rotation slider or a hotkey (Shift+Alt+move mouse) to manually change the orientation of the lighting and HDRI. The orbit and turntable toggles provide options for viewing your assets in different lighting, from multiple angles.
Check out the turntable and Orbit Camera on Hamlet the pig from a recent demo project, showcasing URP and custom shaders.
The prototype comes with a curated selection of models and materials, so you can fully explore the features of the HDRP renderer without importing your own assets. More specifically, you can find sample hard-surface models and even vegetation.
In addition, we’ve included a unique, Unity IP high-resolution character model, Fia, who is part of a larger narrative. We’ll be sure to share more details on this project soon.
In the meantime, you can explore Unity’s HDRP capabilities for Subsurface Scattering Shaders (SSS), and take a sneak peek at one of our projects in development with LookDev Studio. The wide range of materials included in this product serve as an example for creating transparent or SSS materials in Unity’s HDRP, particularly for artists who want to begin working in Unity today.
Reminder: LookDev Studio is currently a prototype and doesn’t have an official release date determined. While we do not yet recommend using it for your production, we are collecting early feedback to guide its next phase of development and ensure that it’s tailored to your needs.
What version of Unity do I need to use LookDev Studio?
When will LookDev Studio be fully released?
Does LookDev Studio support both HDRP and URP?
Does LookDev Studio work on both Windows and Mac?
What is the current feature readiness of LookDev Studio? Can I use it in my production today?
How can I return to the normal Unity Editor view?