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Can you guess which one is HDRP rendering vs Built-in rendering ? (and vote for the most beautiful)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by manutoo, Aug 26, 2019.


What is the most beautiful picture ?

  1. Number #1 is the best one

    17 vote(s)
  2. Number #2 is the best one

    23 vote(s)
  3. Number #3 is the best one

    43 vote(s)
  4. They're all about the same

    6 vote(s)
  5. I like to answer polls

    13 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. manutoo


    Jul 13, 2010

    as the latest the HDRP rendering is quite slow and doesn't work on Intel Iris on Mac (and Windows ?), I'm considering to downgrade to the Unity's legacy Built-in pipeline.

    Before to do that, I'd like to ask you what rendering look the best.

    So, please, look at these 3 pictures and answer the poll ; you can click on them to maximize them :

    2019-08 - Built-in vs HDRP - 1.jpg
    Number 1

    2019-08 - Built-in vs HDRP - 2.jpg
    Number 2

    2019-08 - Built-in vs HDRP - 3.jpg
    Number 3
  2. wccrawford


    Sep 30, 2011
    The second one has issues with flowers on both sides. The ones on the left have a weird halo. The ones on the right have an obvious problem.

    And the white rails on the platform at the bottom have anti-aliasing issues that the other 2 images don't have.

    Beyond that, the only real difference I see between 1& 3 is lighting.

    So I voted 1 & 3.
  3. Lurking-Ninja


    Jan 20, 2015
    If this is your defining, peak graphics you produce for your game, there is no reason you should not use Universal/LW RP. You're not using any fancy HDRP feature extensively,so why would you pay the performance cost for it?

    You only should choose HDRP if you're intended to use its features.

    Oh, I didn't vote, because this kind of voting is dumb. You clearly didn't optimize your graphics for your pipeline, you don't use the defining characteristics of the pipeline, you don't use the features of the pipeline, so what do you try to compare here? Nothing really.
  4. frosted


    Jan 17, 2014
    I donno, the only thing I noticed was the lack of AA in the second one.

    The skybox is really awful and just dominates the image.
    iamthwee likes this.


    Jun 1, 2017
    3, but the difference is so minor who cares. if it takes five minutes of study to spot negligible difference, jsut do whatever is easiest.
  6. XCPU


    Nov 5, 2017
    Picked #3 overall, but liked the grass in #2 (less horz. lines) if that's the main focus.
  7. Billy4184


    Jul 7, 2014
    #3 is the prettiest.
  8. Joe-Censored


    Mar 26, 2013
    I think #1 looks the best, because the shadowed areas are too bright in both #2 and #3 making them look fake to me. But I believe #3 is HDRP, and there are some minor details in #3 which do look better. I suspect #1 is built in pipeline with HDR enabled.
  9. iamthwee


    Nov 27, 2015
    It's very difficult to tell never used HDRP before, but from the vids there is a noticeable difference with lighting color and saturation. Just echoing what others have said, loose / change the skybox. It kills the image, but other than that it looks nice enough.
  10. Martin_H


    Jul 11, 2015
    They have some different issues and some common issues. I don't think it's fair to blame the render path when the post fx are setup very differently. Mayb pick the one that gets you the highest FPS, with all post fx disabled, in the most critical test case, in a proper build (not editor), on your target hardware, and then tweak all tweakable post fx settings till it looks good too.

    And pick a different skybox!
  11. MadeFromPolygons


    Oct 5, 2013
    I didnt vote because this seems pretty pointless. You dont just "turn on" HDRP and get a visual boost. You need to actually use some of its features and set up your assets properly including generating all the correct mapping textures for the shaders etc. Same with Post FX, it needs to be setup properly for HDRP.

    Right now your not really comparing HDRP vs inbuilt, your comparing inbuilt vs same scene with HDRP turned on effectively. Which again, is pointless.
    Zoryth, xVergilx, Ruberta and 6 others like this.
  12. pm007


    Nov 12, 2017
    Manutoo, which is the HDRP??
  13. manutoo


    Jul 13, 2010
    @pm007 & Everybody,

    sorry for the delay to post the answer. I was busy downgrading to the built-in engine, and I took notes during the process so I could explain the differences between the 2 in this post.

    So first of all, thanks to everybody who have voted, this helped me to assess the situation and take my decision to downgrade.

    To my knowledge, there was a lot of misconceptions expressed in the posts above, so I'm going to expose what I know. If I'm wrong, please kindly provide links to your sources, so I could check them.

    Better vs More Beautiful

    So the HDRP is better, but not necessarily more beautiful, in the same way than Linear space is better than Gamma space.

    The explanations about why HDRP is better are explained at beginning of this blog post which was written to present the HDRP to the world : .

    I'll quote the most particular part :
    In short, it means the lighting and shadowing are more consistent.

    So can you guess which picture in the 1st post is from HDRP now ? :)

    Still not ? Let me give you a hint :

    Wimbledon - Lighting Example.jpg
    Note : this photo is slightly less exposed than my pictures.

    Still can't guess ? Let's pursue with the HDRP, and I'll give you the answer at the end.

    HDRP requires specific textures & features to shine ?

    here you will find the specific needs for the HDRP : .

    You'll see that it's based on the PBR textures already used by the built-in engine, except they are packed so it uses less VRAM, and there are a few novelties if you want to render : transparent surfaces (also adding refraction), double-sided shaders, line or rectangle lights, Subsurface Scattering (SSS), Decals, Planar & Tri-planar UV generation, car paints, and very shiny plastics.

    Except SSS, most of these features aren't especially frequently used, so if only games using them could benefit from HDRP, it'd be really strange.

    HDRP Ready ?

    Anyway, here the stuff used in my scene : transparent surfaces, double-sided shaders, decals, planar uvs, shiny plastics (but not very shiny :D ), and SSS (for the players, absent from the screenshots).

    And 1stly and mostly, I use a realistic lighting set-up : 100'000 lux for the sun, 12'000 lux for my cloudy sky, set my exposure in the post-processing, and done. It looks good, the shadows look good, everything work under any camera angle and distance.

    Getting the equivalent with the Built-in pipeline is long, very long : you have to cook the lighting, try, re-try, re-re-try, and at the end, there's always stuff that is just out of place.

    And of course, all my materials are PBR, so so far I'm all good for the HDRP.

    And what about the performances ?

    Let's go back to that HDRP introduction blog post : .

    I'll quote the 2 most important parts about this point :

    So basically, there's nothing stating there's a performance cost, and even the opposite, as long as we use modern hardware. Or actually not that modern, as the PS4 & XBox One are pretty old now, and my mid-range NVidia GTX 1060 is 3.5 times more powerful than the PS4 GPU and 4 times more powerful than the XBox one GPU (source : & ; and the GTX 1060 is currently the most common Steam gamer card : )

    So HDRP rulezzz !?

    So there I was ready to get the more consistent lighting, the lower VRAM usage, and the better performances of the HDRP. As I'm looking at rendering quality and aiming at ~2015 3D gamer GPUs, it seemed there was no reason to not pick it !

    But no, because there are 3 catches :
    • the actual speed in my test scene @ 1080p is more than 40% slower in HDRP, compared to Built-in pipepline ; this is a huge, awful hit considering the rendering quality isn't that different
    • it crashes on Mac with Intel Iris IGP (and some Intel HD ?) ; this is likely something like 10% of my customer base ; I have a special rendering mode for them, with very low rendering power requirement, but there it just doesn't show anything at all :confused:
    • latest version of HDRP for Unity 2019.2 provides a super bugged SSAO ; this show the HDRP isn't production ready and using now is very dangerous

    "If the HDRP doesn't please you, then switch to the LWRP"

    Haha, good joke ! :p

    What ?! you were not joking ?

    Ok, so in short : no realistic light set up, no realtime GI, no SSAO, no shadowmask, etc., etc.

    LWRP isn't the choice for high quality rendering, nor a medium one, except maybe under very specific needs.

    Maybe it'll get better in the future, but for now, it's a big no.

    Downgrading to the Built-in pipeline :(

    So while downgrading my rendering, I noted down everything that sucked in the process ; here the list of the things that are better in the HDRP and that I direly miss :
    • way better looking shadows, with 90% less holes, without shadow acne ; I had waited years for that
    • better looking materials, with the same PBR textures, easier to tune, producing results that are easier to interpret as everything is more realistic
    • can remap the smoothness & metallic values of the metallic & AO textures
    • better SSAO (at least before 6.1)
    • setting probes & reflective surfaces is easier & it looks better : sun & sky reflections are better in HDRP
    • exposure slider on probe cubemap preview
    • can actually see the material preview when using a sun-type light setup (with the built-in, it's all white)
    • windows & glasses look much better ; ie: the reflection on transparent surfaces has been improved a lot
    • sharp angles produce better specular lighting ; it can be very visible on the edges of the seats, and the fences

    Back to our guesses

    So this time, can you guess which one of my pictures is the HDRP one ?

    So it's the 2nd one. You can guess by checking :
    • better shadow from the fences in the foreground (the ones with 2 horizontal bars), and better shading on the back of their poles
    • deeper shadows overall, and more consistent from one place to another, like on the real photo above
    • nearly completely black little corridors, like on the real photo
    • darker ceiling on the gangway all round the stadium
    • gangway's poles lighting is more consistent with the ceiling
    • yellowish bloom from the sun, in the clouds (maybe some expert should shred some light on this one, I'm not totally sure it's more realistic or not ; I couldn't achieve something close with the built-in engine, it was always too white or too yellowish in some places or others, even with the PPS v2, IIRC)
    • crowd seats look better and have better shadows
    • overall, everything is much faster to set-up to reach a decent look
    • there are other little things, but hopefully you got the idea :)
    1st picture is Unity 5.6, and 3rd one is Unity 2019.1.14f1, both with Post-processing stack v1. I did a try later with the v2, it didn't change anything significant, except it allowed me to make the sun blooms as big as the HDRP one (but still with the tint issue).

    I didn't put FAAA on the HDRP one. That was a trick... :p

    By doing so, I'd get the answer to the question : if there's no FAAA, does the bonus gotten from the HDRP stuff prevail on the built-in pipeline buffed by a FAAA ?

    The answer from your votes is clearly no, which means the HDRP gain, if any, isn't that big and isn't worth the performance cost.

    On my forum, so from gamers instead of devs, the HDRP pic also lost, rated last, although by a lower margin.


    I hope you found this post informative, or least thought provoking, making you want to check things by yourself... :)
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  14. xVergilx


    Dec 22, 2014
    Great post. Yeah, HDRP is a bit... underwelming comparing to the built-in.

    By the way, if you're looking something similar of the HDRP visual quality, you could try out Lux shaders (free or paid version).
    I've found myself that they're way more visually pleasing and simulate what HDRP does (more realistic lighting). And way better than built-in default shaders.

    So its like built-in + HDRP visuals, without messing around with porting to the different shader / materials.

    Also, your images has been eaten by the forum.
    manutoo likes this.
  15. hippocoder


    Digital Ape Moderator

    Apr 11, 2010
    Personally I'm in heaven with HDRP, but to take advantage of it you do need entirely redone settings and no stone left unturned. You also need to change your lighting completely. In fact the concept of upgrade and tweak is why most people have ugly or slow HDRP results. It should be upgrade and redo.

    I think the key here is you're not really using any of HDRP to take advantage of it. In fact if you enabled raytracing I doubt it would actually improve the visual of your scene, and that speaks volumes.

    Don't take my tone as a bad one, it's just my genuine thought, I don't think you need or should use HDRP if that's the visual you want.

    If your game is much more close up then you get to do things like have shadows pass through cloth or leaves and see the shadow from the outside, on the inside of the material via thin SSS, it's the real thing. You get real skin scattering, hair and more.

    The benefits of HDRP are hard to use or spot for a far off shot of a model with a bit of grass, basically and I'm not sure how it could look much different with that test, in any engine...

    Also you might find HDRP's benefits with vast scale rendering (shadows detailed up close and miles away) would be lost on your scene as well. You also choose to forego the benefits of VFX and Shader graphs.

    But I would be picking the Universal pipeline for a tennis game, even a realistic one, unless I had access to a ton of AAA artists with time and budget to burn! :)
    MadeFromPolygons, frosted and Ryiah like this.
  16. iamthwee


    Nov 27, 2015
    I voted 'I liked to answer polls.' But for crying out loud which one is HDRP!!!
  17. Ryiah


    Oct 11, 2012
    Second one. It was buried near the bottom of the post.
    iamthwee likes this.