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[Next-Gen Soft-Shadows 2] Sophisticated dynamic penumbra Shadows for Unity

Discussion in 'Assets and Asset Store' started by tatoforever, Nov 8, 2016.

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Would you like to buy this on the Asset Store? If so, how much?

Poll closed Jul 10, 2017.
  1. I like it to be priced between 20 to 10$.

    56.8%
  2. I like it to be priced between 10 to 5$.

    39.0%
  3. Zero $, I'm not interested, I love my Unity's default aliased, pixelated horrid-shadows.

    4.2%
  1. Invertex

    Invertex

    Joined:
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    Yes, just duplicate that sampler count line, and then use some #ifdef conditions around them. Either your own custom ones that you'll set through C# code as a global keyword, or using some of the unity ones:

    Code (CSharp):
    1. #if defined(USING_STEREO_MATRICES)
    2.     #define _SAMPLES 16
    3. #else
    4.     #define _SAMPLES 32
    5. #endif
    I don't know the name used for the samples define in NGSS, just wrote that as example.
    When Unity defines USING_STEREO_MATRICES, it means VR is running.
     
    tatoforever and local306 like this.
  2. local306

    local306

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    Thank you! I will try this out.
     
    tatoforever likes this.
  3. DMeville

    DMeville

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    Hello @tatoforever

    I'm a big fan of the pretty shadows you have here and have been using the current version in my prototypes. I've been reading through the thread and am excited to hear more about version 2.0 especially with the use of mesh distance fields. I'm curious, obviously outside of the scope of this package but I've also been looking at creating something to do some fancy river effects like automatic flowmaps seen here:


    It's my understanding UE4 achieves this kind of effect by leveraging a combined scene sdf (which they use for ao too, etc). Do you think it would it be possible to use the mesh sdf data you are generating for shadows to accomplish something like this with some custom shaders?

    I can understand that generating scene sdf is potentially an expensive process, so instead of creating my own system to generate the data for flowmaps, I'd rather reuse the data if it's already being generated and available through your system.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
    tatoforever and buttmatrix like this.
  4. ksam2

    ksam2

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    Is that possible to combine this with The Blacksmith Unique Character Shadows? It's on the asset store but doesn't work with unity 2017 anymore.
     
    tatoforever likes this.
  5. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    It's possible if you make The Blacksmith Character Shadows work with Unity 2017 yes. :)
     
    ksam2 likes this.
  6. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @ DMeville
    At some point yes, when we layout the whole SDF framework you will be able to trigger scene occlusion/distance with your GPU based shaders and use it even for other stuff such as GPU physics and the like.
     
    DMeville likes this.
  7. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    Speaking of upcoming NGSS, I'm taking a bit extra time on it as SPR keeps adding and changing stuff so I'm moving slowly to avoid re-writing stuff every time. But it's definitely moving forward. :)
     
    OCASM and Lex4art like this.
  8. DMeville

    DMeville

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    @tatoforever
    Awesome! I'm glad to hear it. I'm looking forward to trying it out when it's ready! :)
     
    tatoforever likes this.
  9. Korindian

    Korindian

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    Hi, I'm using NGSS on one directional light. In a build, I get the following debug warning:

    "Screenspace cascaded shadow map support is disabled in graphics settings"

    I can confirm that for all 3 graphics tiers, Cascaded Shadows is enabled.

    If I disable NGSS_Directional and build, that warning goes away. Can you confirm please? Thanks!
     
  10. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @Korindian,
    Make sure you are selecting the platform in the graphics settings. Sometimes you are working with X platform but the selected on differs from it, so you are kinda changing setting for another platform.
    Do shadows display normally even with the warning?
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  11. Korindian

    Korindian

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    Hi, can you explain where to select the platform in the graphics settings? I don't see any option to set the platform in the graphics settings. Are you talking about the Build Settings? It is set to Standalone Windows x86_64, which is what I'm building to. Thanks.
     
  12. FiveFingerStudios

    FiveFingerStudios

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    I'm noticing that sometimes the NGSS Directional its on and other times its not, when a scene loads.
    Note: if I disable and enable it stays on.

    Is there a way to make sure it is on when the scene loads?
     
  13. skyecrack

    skyecrack

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    I'd like to bump in here with no intention of going through 33 pages of troubleshooting just to get a few answers, so I hope my laziness is justified. First off, @tatoforever I remember reading a post of yours in an another thread where you claimed that something like a cached realtime shadow system is in works for this package. That being a few months ago and nothing mentioned on the asset store page, so... Any news on that? With that said, I thought this system of yours was just shadow filtering improvements, and I guess you're trying to expand on that. Since the other volumetric shadow system that was in the works (that had shadow caching) is pretty much dead at this point, that little post of yours sparkled a tiny bit of hope in me, because that would be HUGE news. Well, at least if you haven't given up on it yet. It'd be a much more practical reason for buying this asset than say this meshless ray traced stuff that is practically useless for anyone that is not either working on a game with such a restricted aesthetic, or purely dicking around (which is 90% of any free game engine users unfortunately). I mean, c'mon, people would've written entire graphic engines just in meshless if it had a use case scenario where it's performance beats traditional polygons and rasterizing, or has a worthy enough of an aesthetic improvement over it. And yeah, I know, it's cool to tap into the future of realtime raytracing like that but... eh. It's not even anything new. I recall watching a video of some guy doing a complete primitive ray tracer (with reflections and all) in DOS and all of it's 16 color VGA glory.
    Rant off now, props for providing all of this support for the asset throughout the years, it makes me want to get the asset for the support alone. Keep up the good work. :)
     
  14. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @Korindian
    In your Graphics Settings, you get global, iPhone, Android, etc, click on the one you need and tick Cascaded Shadows.

    @sbmhome
    Make sure to check "KEEP_NGSS_ONDISABLE" so if you load a new scene that requires shadows, it won't switch from NGSS to Unity and to NGSS, it will remain enabled.

    @skyecrack
    I'm working on couple of things regarding shadows, not just distance fields shadows (which btw will work in the future with meshes too). I'm working on other improvements regarding traditional shadowmapping (beyond filtering), like volumetric, shadow caching, screen space deffering filtering, etc. But that is not to be released anytime soon, most of them are kinda in a W.I.P, prototype/research state. What im pushing hard now is distance field shadows, a new denoiser filtering and other shadows improvements for HD and LW renderer.
    I'm also researching the new DirectX Raytracing API which looks super nice btw, It's like shader programs but for hit and distance test instead of simple shading. Unreal and Unity will provide support to DXR sometime in the not so distant future. I spoke with some Unreal Engineers a few weeks back and they told me, they are targeting support by the end of the year (2018). We are more closer than you think regarding secondary rays (shadows, reflections, etc) in real-time applications. ;)

    PS: I'm on family vacations now, that' explain the slow time response. I'll be back next Thursday, I'll try to read your questions and answer as soon as I'm free. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
    OCASM, skyecrack, buttmatrix and 3 others like this.
  15. Hexaedre

    Hexaedre

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    Hi,

    I can't enable the NGSS_Contact Shadows component on the camera.
    I have put the main light on the component. The main light have the required script. I have replaced the UnityShadowLibrary.cginc by the one you provided.

    I use Unity 2017.3.
    I have NGSS working fine on an older project that I have updated from 5.6 to 2017.3, but not on the new projects created in 2017.3.
     
  16. Teila

    Teila

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    Hello,
    I used your asset in previous versions of Unity without a problem. But now I cannot seem to get the shadows to work properly. I do use Enviro for weather so I may have the wrong lighting source. The tree shadows look lovely and I can tweak them. However, the shadows for houses and other objects are very hard. I cannot seem to get them soft at all even though they are set to soft shadows. Tweaking does nothing for the building shadows. Also, the contact shadows used to work wonderfully with the grass, even with Vegetation Studios but now they do not show up at all. I am using 2017.1.1p2.

    Thanks!
     
  17. config_s

    config_s

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    hello, NCSS.
    i heard to support to android mobile build in the NCSS next ver. this summer.
    but talking about in this forum. you are not support yet to the android build or no scheduled.
    that I understand?
     
  18. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    Folks,
    I'm back from vacations. Will answer all your questions and let you know a bit about the state of things with NGSS.
     
  19. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @Hexaedre
    For ContactShadows to work you just need to add the NGSS_ContactShadows to the camera and add the Main directional light to it. Then hit play to refresh the Viewport (sometimes it just displays garbage from the GPU ram as Unity doesn't update the viewport if you are not using it).

    @config_s
    Mobile is already supported in NGSS v1. And next version of NGSS will support it too.

    @Teila
    If your grass does not write to the depth buffer, it won't display any contact shadows, Make sure it's the case.
    As for the shadows being hard and soft. This is normal behavior of PCSS shadows. If you are looking for uniformly soft-shadows everywhere, I suggest to disable PCSS.

    Regarding upcoming NGSS. I'm making progress but in a slower peace. I'm kinda trying to figure out where HD and LW are heading to avoid spending time working on features that Unity adds (or will add) in the future. It's kinda the thing for HD pipeline where they recently added PCSS filtering. I wasted sometime implementing those features and now im spending time removing it. :(
    Right now, my full focus is on LWRP because those are the shadows that really needs improvements and HDRP still have features missing that will be added by Unity where LWRP is close to be completed (more predictable).
    Also, LWRP is not meant to be pretty by default, so I don't expect Unity to add anything beyond standard PCF filtering to it and I got my Raymatched shadows working beautifully on LWRP. :)
    My goal for upcoming NGSS are improved shadowmap filters with faster shadows and primitive shadows for LWRP.
    As for HDRP, Unity has plans to support DXR and If I'm not mistaken by the end of the Year or early 2019, based on Unreal plans. As soon as it's get added, I will start working on Raytraced Shadows (If I don't get beated up by Unity). The implementation i have on paper works similar to my Primitives shadows and it doesn't require a de-noirser, works with 1ray per pixel (and is not based on Monte Carlo randomness). I even have similar ray miss, ray hit, closests hit functions, only that DXR ones are intrinsic functions and shader rays, mines are handwritten functions in the core file. :)

    Let me know how it goes with your projects and shadows. :)
     
  20. Teila

    Teila

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    Hmm, I use Vegetation Studio for my grass so not sure if they are written to a depth buffer.
     
  21. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @Teila,
    If you can send me the grass shader, I can check it and fix it for ya.
     
  22. halilkayim

    halilkayim

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    Feb 27, 2018
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    I recently purchased NGSS, and everything works fine with local lights, but I can't seem to get directional lights to work with iOS and Android. It works perfectly fine when Standalone is selected as the platform, but I can't see the soft shadows with directional lights when iOS or Android is selected. I tried using the NGSS_Directional script both on my scene and in the example scenes that come with the package. I checked everything written on the documentation file bit still no luck.

    I'm working on a Mac with Unity 2017.3, with Unity Editor using OpenGL 4.1. My iOS configuration uses Metal (though I also tried using OpenGL ES3) and Android OpenGL ES3.
     
  23. alternativevisual

    alternativevisual

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    Glad you're back from vacation!
    I'm soo much waiting for those raymathed shadows on LWRP, and i have some questions.
    First, how fast it will work with a LOTS of lights? For example: huge car traffic, street lights.
    Second, how much faster is it comparing to default rendering?
    And last one, does it support sprite meshes? Or only primitives?:confused:
     
  24. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @halilkayim
    Make sure you enable Cascaded Shadows in your iOS Graphics Settings tab.

    @alternativevisual
    With Primitive Rayshadows you are not limited by number of lights but by number of shadow casters, which translates to shader instructions limit. The workflow is very similar to volumetric shadows where we used to add primitives and lower poly versions to our scene and characters only that NGSS produces high quality raytraced like shadows (no shadowmap involved).
    As for rendering speed, It's hella fast. You can have 1000 lights casting primitive shadows, it doesn't slow down a bit. :)
    Release version will work only with Primitives shapes but in the future it will work with any static mesh.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
    alternativevisual and one_one like this.
  25. ceebeee

    ceebeee

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  26. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @ceebeee
    Hay man, I saw your notification earlier today but was super busy to immediate answer. ^^
    I'm working on a similar algorithm as CHS alongside my denoiser which btw uses hardware gather intrinsic to speed up a lot more the final pass. I've added two videos on it in my youtube account (also posted them in page 30 I believe).

    I think shadowmapping reached the end of it's lifepan (at least for high end hardware) and sooner or later will be replaced with raytraced shadows. Reasons are super obvious. Shadows are more suit for raytracing instead of rasterization, because that's how naturally they works (visibility test, outside the screen, etc) and it's a lot simpler and faster to get perfect soft-shadows when raytracing. Shadows with rasterization is an ugly hack that suffers from of all kind of undesirable artifacts. It's a hack after all.
    I've worked a bit with nVIDIA OptiX in the past and coincidentally the new DXR API looks super similar. :rolleyes:
    See, once the host application implements the accelerated structure (for ray traversal), then it's just a matter of fire rays on the scene to decide if you want to shade or not the given pixel. With the new GPUs that supports hardware rays operation, it brings a hole new set of optimizations to rasterized applications as they will keep visible (or primary) rays to the rasterized part which is super fast and secondary rays (such as shadows, reflections, AO, GI, etc) to the raytracer.
    No more ugly slow hacks.
    People will get creative with ray operations and will do similar crazy hacks they did with rasterization and programmable shaders. This is just the beginning and it's very promising.
    I talked to Unity folks about their support and they are working super hard to get us a custom version soon hopefully they won't mind me posting videos of raytraced shadows cause I want to show to NGSS users how nice they look. :D

    Thanks for the link, It's always good to read stuff on Shadowmapping, specially on the optimization side of things as we still have zillions of low powered devices and computers that needs shadowmaps (LWRP anyone)?. :)
    Cheers,
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  27. one_one

    one_one

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    So does that mean that scenes with complex/lots of geometry like forests would be a bad fit for this?
     
  28. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @christoph_r,
    Yes,
    In your case is preferable to use shadowmap CHS/PCSS in combination with ContactShadows. Or wait for the upcoming Raytracing Shadows in NGSS using DXR! ;)
     
    rz_0lento and Lex4art like this.
  29. rz_0lento

    rz_0lento

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    oh wow, you wouldn't be interested in broadening NGSS scope a little and include reflections on DXR later on as well? (could be another package, just been drooling over those off screen reflections) :D
     
    tatoforever likes this.
  30. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @rizu,
    My future goal for NGSS (as soon as DXR is added into Unity) are raytraced shadows and raytraced AO. Beyond NGSS, raytraced GI and raytraced reflection. I also have plans for a tiny-hackish pathtracing using GPU AI denoisers.
    But before that I need an accelerated structure robust enough for the raytraversal programs to avoid chocking or being slow. Unity is working on DXR integration but I'm not sure if they will provide a good enough BVH of if we need to provide ours. Hopefully, it won't be a blackboxed thing. Ideally, we should be able to use our own acceleration structures. I'm heavily researching too.
    Btw, I'm working with nVIDIA OptiX which is kinda similar (if not the same thing) only that OptiX scales better (works with the last 5-6 generations of Cuda GPUs, multi-GPU support, etc) and doesn't require DX12.
    More of that stuff soon. ;)
     
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  31. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @christoph_r
    To reiterate about primitive shadows usage,
    Primitive shadows are more targeted at characters and simple architectural scenes. A good example is a game with mixed lighting where few objects cast dynamic shadows and the rest is either static or shadowmasked (it blends perfectly with baked lighting btw). Setup wise is pretty much like volume shadows (where you had proxy meshes or primitives inside your characters and scene casting shadows).
    But yeah is not really for large dynamic open world areas. The principal reason is that you will run out of shader instructions quickly. Imagine if you have to recreate the analytical function of 100K trees in a GPU (good luck with that). Sadly we can't instance analytical functions on the GPU as those aren't vertices, they are math functions. That would've been too good to be true. ^^
    The good thing is that it produces offline raytraced-like soft-shadows quality at runtime and super fast, faster than any soft-shadows technique. That is a tested fact. :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
    one_one likes this.
  32. rz_0lento

    rz_0lento

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  33. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @rizu,
    Yeah, asked them few weeks ago and they told me they are working hard on DXR API integration.
     
    rz_0lento likes this.
  34. one_one

    one_one

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    Ah, thanks, that makes sense! :) I'm also super curious about your work on raytraced shadows, especially about the feasability of its performance, seeing how shadow of the tomb raider only seems to manage 30-40 FPS on a RTX 2080 with their raytraced shadows..
     
  35. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @christoph_r
    I'm heavily into BVHs algorithms to boost the accelerated structure. The most important part of the pipeline is the accelerated structure. If the ray traversal is slow (simple BVH, too many volumes, etc) then you won't be able to cast as many rays as you wish. My current implementation is a combination of a custom BHV that offsets the volume of the structure a tiny bit and two ray programs (intersection and anyhit). Then Interpolate between intersection (which is the collision of the ray with the volume) and anyhits (ray hits any part of a surface) to get a softer shadows with only 1ray then I stop the ray traversal there. Not sure if you can get a mental image? This is not a standard way, is something im trying, can have it's caveats but is faster than 4rps then denoising. I'll try to post some examples with nVIDIA Optix.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
    rz_0lento likes this.
  36. arnoob

    arnoob

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    Hello Tatofever!

    I have a question that is slightly off topic.
    I am currently trying to create my own distance shadows (a shadow-map that isn't recalculated every frame) I did good so far as I am already able to create some shadows that work this way using a camera that stores a depth map and sampling it correctly.

    ShadowCastingTest1e_PoissonAndNoise.jpg

    However, I would like to "add" this sample directly to the unity shadow buffer for this light, just like you do with screen-space shadows once the computation is done.

    Do you know a way to use your "blending shadow CB" function with the screen space texture of shadow I created myself at runtime? It would be super useful :)

    Anyway, keep up the good work!
     
    RomBinDaHouse likes this.
  37. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @arnoob,
    Use a light command buffer to blend (using a min/max or multiply funcion) between your shadowmap and the current screen space shadows of the light.
     
  38. DMeville

    DMeville

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    Just wondering if there's been any good progress version 2.0 and the sdf framework? Still very eager to get my hands on something like this at some point!
     
  39. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @DMeville
    There's progress yes but slow. Mostly because SRP still evolving and I had to redo couple of things. I'm kinda waiting for a "close to final" release of HD/LW render pipelines to finish launch features. In the mean time I'm moving forward in other new areas for NGSS, as discussed in a couple of messages back. :)
    Keep in mind that the SDF framework is not a planned launch feature, there's some work to be done with the volume renderer. Right now the mesh bake is done on CPU, I need to accelerate it with the GPU (compute shader, Cuda, etc).
    If my raytraced shadows works as planned, then you can really forget about SDFs cause they will end up being faster without any setup or pre-bake. Don't forget that SDF requires data bake and only works with static meshes. :\

    Planned launch features (LWRP):
    - Shadowmaps global improvements, both quality and performance (less prettier than HDRP version).
    - Omni shadowmaps (sharing the same atlas as Hemispherical shadows)
    - Hemispherical shadows (sharing the same atlas as the omni shadows but twice faster to compute).
    - Primitive Shadows

    Planned launch features (HDRP):
    - Shadowmaps global improvements, both quality and performance
    - Denoise shadowmap filtering (not to confuse with the built-in Optix AI Denoiser)
    - Raytraced Shadows (at risk to be delayed, depending on Unity DXR support).

    The rest of mentioned features are either way too W.I.P or in a research state and to be confirmed in the future. Ideal timeframe now is late 2018. I know you folks can't wait any longer, same for me, I can't wait to see your awesome projects with shiny new advanced shadows. :)
    As mentioned earlier, I have plans for other raytraced features and even further improvements of shadowmaps that I will share in the near future. :)
     
  40. ceebeee

    ceebeee

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    Ok I have to confess I haven't been paying much attention to the new Hardware coming out, I think the most I heard about is what was posted here in this thread about the raytracing. But today I got sent some links that really opened my eyes about just how amazing this new Turning architecture is. Figured others might want to take a look.

    https://devblogs.nvidia.com/nvidia-turing-architecture-in-depth/

    https://devblogs.nvidia.com/introduction-turing-mesh-shaders/
    https://devblogs.nvidia.com/introduction-nvidia-rtx-directx-ray-tracing/

    I had no idea it was such a comprehensive change to just about every aspect of rendering.
     
  41. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @ceebeee
    It is a pivotal changing indeed. We are taking about new ways to render images, not new raster techniques like we usually see. As mentioned in my previous post, this is similar to the beginning of programmable shaders where people started to become super creative and hackish. We are a bit far from full denoised path tracing but hybrid raster and raytraced renderers will emerge very quickly and will produce beautiful real-time imagery.
    I talked with one of Unity folks about the DXR integration and they are wrapping DX12 AS (Acceleration Structures) API into Unity C#. I guess you know what it means right? ;)
     
    buttmatrix likes this.
  42. ceebeee

    ceebeee

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    Yes I totally know. but tell me anyway as if I don't :p
     
    transat likes this.
  43. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    Custom C# multithreaded accelerated structures for ray traversal. :D
     
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  44. rz_0lento

    rz_0lento

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    tatoforever likes this.
  45. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @ceebeee
    From the HDRP repo:
    Code (CSharp):
    1.         public override void SetAccelerationStructure(RaytracingAccelerationStructure accelStructure)
    2.         {
    3.             m_RenderPipelineResources.raytracingAccelerationStructure = accelStructure;
    4.         }
    ;)
     
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  46. rz_0lento

    rz_0lento

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    I do want to point out that DXR changes are not in the 2018.3.0b1 yet, so we still need to wait before we get to play with that stuff even when some initial things have started popping up in the github repo.
     
  47. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    @rizu,
    I started playing with Raytracing for some time now. With nVIDIA Optix! ;)
     
  48. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    NGSS v1.8.8 just submitted to the store.

    Features and changes in this version:
    - Added Directional PCSS shadows to Mobile (careful, PCSS is expensive on low end hardware)
    - Added support for all versions of Unity, from 5.6 up to future 2017s, 2018s and 2019s versions (If default render pipeline remains the same)
    - Updated info about SRP compatibility on the Asset Store for NGSS v1.x
     
  49. ceebeee

    ceebeee

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2017
    Posts:
    397
    is Unity 2019 a thing yet? o.o
     
    tatoforever likes this.
  50. tatoforever

    tatoforever

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Posts:
    4,049


    NGSS v1.9 just got submitted to the store. This update brings a new feature: Bilateral Contact Shadows
    - Prettier and softer Contact Shadows!
    - CS now have bilateral filtering with edge tolerance to avoid shadows leaking around objects.
    - Improved CS visuals over distance. No more kernel stretch or gaps, CS remain stable no matter what distance!
    - Improved performance of CS by 3x-4x times!
    - Opacity between Directional Shadows and Contact Shadows is now 1:1 perfect
    :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
    Invertex, arnoob, magique and 6 others like this.
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