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Why can't Unity HDRP correctly render AAA looking character models?

Discussion in 'High Definition Render Pipeline' started by cloverme, Sep 9, 2021.

  1. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    Even with VFX, you still need to keep your polygon counts in mind, especially for things like complex texture sizes and elements like hair. For my film ready characters, my animation mesh is around 300k, but I set the rendering to Catmull-Clark subdivision level 2.

    In Unity, you can't use subdivision surfaces so you'll have to freeze your model, but it's better this way
     
  2. impheris

    impheris

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    @KRGraphics Sometimes i freeze my "film ready characters" too, but that can be a problem specially with animations and normals. You use Lightwave, don't you?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2022
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  3. CenobiteShadoweaver

    CenobiteShadoweaver

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    I find Unity very good when it comes to converting high quality materials, they could just use some tweaking is all but this character is just a quick export from daz3d the skin is a little bright and the opacity settings give the skin a wet look at default settings. BaseSettingHDRP.png
    At least it got my eyes right, this is basically a face transfer of myself to the likeness is pretty good even tho i look a bit weird bold i just need to throw in some hair pieces and clothing for the shape and i don't see an issue with HDRP quality at all, some fine-tuning adjustments of materials & textures would yield better results but as they are i think the quality is good with Unity about the Same if not better then Unreal.
     
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  4. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    I use Modo in my asset creation pipeline. For my final Unity meshes for animation, I generate a proxy strictly for animation
     
  5. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    I haven't had this issue, but my skin shader uses a triple weighted blend to get its quality. Model looks okay, but the eyes need some more refinement. For the skin brightness, set the overall tint to 70% grey
     
  6. CenobiteShadoweaver

    CenobiteShadoweaver

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    Yeah I'm still learning Unity since i moved my projects from Unreal due to incompatibility of bridges between editors, still testing most functions as things are set slightly different in this editor, but overall, i find Unity more user friendly to work with and I'm not heavily relying on Youtubes for information on how to do things because the setup is pretty clear compared to Unreal which seems to change its framework every version it's like upgrading windows you know they are going to hide a bunch of features the last version had just to make life difficult.
     
  7. CenobiteShadoweaver

    CenobiteShadoweaver

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    Well just having a quick look i removed the glossy skin effect quickly here by reducing glossy & smoothness settings in the material itself. GlossyLW.png
    and here Smoothness.png
    Reduced smoothness to zero, so if you just tinker with some of the settings you'll find the right balance for the environment and tone you need to set, so many options you just need to look, you can change textures right upto 16k if needed.
     
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  8. cloverme

    cloverme

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    If you've been in Unity for a number of years, you'll find the struggle in the Animation category to be pretty severe. Unity was essentially built upon stylized mid-low poly indie games. So when you have a character that needs to convey emotions and talk and have it look AAA, it's not straightforward because the pipeline workflow is complex. Having a cutscene in a game with talking characters that also emote, is typically part of a AAA style game. You'll also note that many game characters wear masks over the face, this is because it's a pain to sync up in the production process. Unity has essentially ignored the workflow pipeline to add talking characters into scenes (but adding tools in 2023) for this issue. It's cumbersome to do design in tool A, then import into tool B to do mocap, use tool C to do audio, then export all those elements from A, B, and C into Unity (each has nuances in the export workflow) then make it all sync back up into Unity. You can easily spend a day doing a 30 second clip for 1 character in this way.

    On top of that, you have issues with mecanim, which has not been improved at all since Unity 5 was released about 7 years ago. If you want your character to speak, walk over to chair, sit on the chain, grab a cup, take a drink, and set the cup back down again. You're dealing with mixing root motion, avatar masks, the terrible inverse kinematics package, and trying to get that all synced with Director/Timeline. This is mainly because Unity anticipated gamedevs to make games like "square fox pushes round acorn into hole" and not something like an Uncharted 4 dynamic playable cutscene. Unity simply lacks the defined toolsets to make something straightfoward for devs. Can you make a character do all those things in Unity today? Yes, will it take you more than a day to do it? Probably so... This doesn't make Unity bad, it just highlights that Unity hasn't been focused on the character driven pipeline (blendshapes, mocap, animation, a better IK, motion matching) tools in the editor.
     
  9. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    Especially the last part, most indies DON'T do high quality character models on the level of games like Star Citizen.

    For cutscenes involving moving this object, put it here, pick up something else. That is often done outside of the engine, like in Blender where you can use parenting constraints and bake it down for the cutscene and import that into Unity.

    In a motion capture volume, things like props will have markers on them so the IR cameras can pick it up it's motion too. I'm still working on a facial performance capture solution to ease the pain of my work, including using a mic for voice recording. I can set it up so it only records audio from one direction.
     
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  10. CenobiteShadoweaver

    CenobiteShadoweaver

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    I'm fairly new to the whole editor thing really, only been using editors the past few years, started with some simple game tools then progressed to more sophisticated software like Unreal & Unity so I am by no means a professional with images or animation, that said even tho the learning curb is steep in these editors the more you work with them it becomes easier to manage functions or find handy programs like amplify shader that will give you more control over how materials & textures work, same with animations additional programs like Umotion in Unity help people that a new to animation understand the flow & editing of animation sequences but they can be still difficult for someone not experienced in animation software.
    Animations can have all sorts of issues from the skeleton make up the bone rotations & how it all collides and rotates during animations i'm just glad to find a program every now & then that makes this stuff easier to manage because like you say it takes hours to get something working.
    I have come to expect no quick solutions but if i find one I'm always happy to reproduce it for my needs.
     
  11. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    Keeping this discussion alive. I've been working very hard on improving the skin rendering of my characters and even the eyes look better now.





    The one below was a happy accident... but it goes to show if you're WILLING to put in the work and LEARN the process, your renders will improve
    Th
     
  12. CenobiteShadoweaver

    CenobiteShadoweaver

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    This all is looks very good, I personally think Unity is much better then Unreal in every way, the more I use Unity the more I feel the functions are laid out in a useful manner, it's not difficult to change things to see what the better option for you is as shown in your method here, trying different settings.

    If textures don't show up one way in HDRP I can usually find another way to get the texture on the model displayed properly with little fuss, then it's just a matter of setting your lighting and maybe changing the materials & textures through various settings as needed, you get to know what the right formats to use for the particular shader you're using fairly easy, you can always open up the widget to the material to adjust its settings there if needed, replace textures and connect needed opacity settings if required etc, etc, I tend to find eyes need opacity changes to display correctly in many editors but Unity does a pretty good job just on first import of the FBX file, after you have extracted the textures on to your models you can easily manage the shaders & textures within Unity to get brilliant results just as good if not better than Unreal.

    It's just a matter of knowing the best settings for your environment to get the best texture results on models, how to setup HDRP correctly & how you set your environment lighting, shaders and captures correctly for the scene, then you're adjusting renders for whatever camera you're using, you can change the textures so many ways I couldn't just point to one particular pattern to solve any texture issue, somethings it's just a matter of trial and error to get the correct result but with Unity I find it easy to find the correct adjustments to be made because not only is the layout better & easier to manage for quicker work flows, I also find it has some helpful tool tips that display the correct information you need to know which makes it easier to use functions you're not sure on if you haven't used them before.
     
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  13. impheris

    impheris

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    @KRGraphics Wow, it looks very cool, i'm very happy for your good work and the improvements on your shader, it looks almost like AAA, maybe you should create your own post sharing images and improvements, like a dev blog and leave this thread to discuss about the build in skin shader and everything about making AAA characters using unity stuffs...
     
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  14. impheris

    impheris

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    You are a weird guy here, you actually love the tool your are using XD


    i find it a bit complicated :( but i have a low experience with hdrp
     
    KRGraphics likes this.
  15. cloverme

    cloverme

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    Your character is coming along very nice! Looking forward to more updates.
     
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  16. cloverme

    cloverme

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    As an update, here's a very "reasonable" workflow which gives you a fairly close to AAA-style character in about 10-15 minutes that includes 100+ blendshapes. This gives you a fully rigged humanoid character that can use Unity's 3rd person character controller, etc. If you need to do facial mocap, you can do that as well with this workflow.

    This is newer workflow, while Character Creator existed when I created the thread, a lot of these tools and Unity versions did not play well together, but now they work together well enough to use in production. While it is nowhere near the hyper-realism in the Enemies demo (Digital Human / Ziva) or that seen in The Calisto Protocol (Unreal 4) and a notch just below MetaHumans (Unreal 5), this can be done in Unity with 1 person in pretty fast order.


    (CC4 to Unity 2021.3 - Using defaults in ~10 mins)


    (Daz Character & Clothings to CC4 to Unity 2021.3 - About 1.5 hours in workflow time)

    Requirements: Character Creator 4 ($260), Victor Soupday's CC4 to Unity tool, Unity 2021.3
    For face mocap: CC4/iclone8 w/ iphone liveface ($1000), (not including a newer iPhone 12+)

    Basic Character import:
    CC4 -> Design character -> Export as Unity FBX, delete hidden mesh
    Unity -> Right click FBX file, Reallusion, Import character.
    Toolset menu - Preview, SSR Eyes, Build Materials.
    There's options to add physics for hair, etc.

    Mocap: (optional)
    Record the face mocap in iclone 8, with iphone live face.
    Add any full body animations you want or none, 100% optional.
    Export as Unity/FBX, include animations.
    Rather than going through the Reallusion Import a second time un Unity, just click on the fbx and duplicate the animation.
    Add the animation to Animator, etc.

    Pros:
    • Very fast workflow (10 to 20 mins). (example above done in less than 15 mins)
    • No need to create custom materials/maps
    • No time needed to tweak to get basic looks/styles
    • Quality is close to AAA
    • Lots of Tutorials on Youtube (including using clothes and models from Daz/Blender)
    • Creates 4k skin textures

    Cons:
    • Marginally expensive for a solo indie budget ($260 - $1000+)
    • Lack of model diversity in CC4 (expect to use other models for additional ethnicities)
    • Clothing in CC4 is very low quality indie B style and usually 2K resolution or less (better clothes can be imported from Blender/Daz, etc but also has increased time and workflow complexities). Add about an hour to import clothes.
    • Need a higher end desktop with a lot of memory (32GB+) for design/processing materials/etc
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2023
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  17. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    It just takes work to get these results, especially to get a character to this level of fidelity. Now, I'm waiting to get facial rigging working on this guy too and even a wrinkle map that doesn't require scripting and can be EASILY animated.

    Don't discount Unreal though. I can get the same quality of rendering for my characters in that engine as well. It's all a matter of knowing how to set up your scene.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2022
  18. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    Say, that's a great idea. I did have my own thread on here involving my development but it's currently locked out. @hippocoder, are you able to unlock old threads if I can find it?
     
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  19. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    Thank you. And believe it or not, the options for my skin and eye shaders are SUPER SIMPLE. I saw the one in Unity 2022 and I was like 'what the hell were they thinking?' putting so many options that most users aren't going to touch. It will be so much easier to use if it was made to be artist friendly.
     
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  20. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    These look pretty good, especially the hair. The key takeaway here is making sure you already have the tools you need to tackle the project. Once you gain an understanding of how to create high quality models, it gets easier every time
     
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  21. mgear

    mgear

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  22. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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  23. blueivy

    blueivy

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    I think they were going for an anime/doll aesthetic proportions wise, but the actual shaders look awesome!
     
  24. impheris

    impheris

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    yes that is obvious, the shader looks good, but maybe on a realistic model we can have a better reference of how good or realistic the shader is
     
  25. blueivy

    blueivy

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    I mean that’s what the Enemies demo was for no?
     
  26. impheris

    impheris

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    yes, sorry i thought it was another shader XD sorry i did not pay too much attention early ;P
     
  27. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    And I hope there is some form of in editor tool for grooming or support for alembic... Just kinda sucks that they put it on GitHub , instead of putting it on the asset store
     
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  28. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    The Enemies demo was pretty damn good when it came to the hair
     
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  29. blueivy

    blueivy

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    Agreed! More tools would be appreciated. I thought the new hair system had support for Alembic though? That should be the next feature if not
     
  30. Qleenie

    Qleenie

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    The new demo is meant to showcase another new hair system, which is based on the old TressFX from AMD. Not sure why Unity China is building another hair system. It looks good, especially the hair shader, but seems to require Maya for modelling. The hair grooms are in some binary format which seem to be produced with a Maya TressFX plugin.
    It also seems to be pretty expensive on resources.

    The skin shader ist pretty standard. HDRP Lit.shader, but good use of 3 point lighting ( which is only usable for cinematics), and mask maps for specular / detail normals.
     
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  31. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    I'm honestly still gonna use the hair cards, especially since I don't have the hardware to support strand based hair in real time
     
  32. impheris

    impheris

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    every thing on that demo is great incluiding the skin shader, 100%
     
  33. impheris

    impheris

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  34. mgear

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    yeah it took quite a long time for shaders to compile, hair was also invisible even longer,
    maybe until resized game/scene windows(?)
     
  35. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    You'll need some powerful hardware to run that scene
     
  36. mgear

    mgear

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  37. impheris

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    there is a bar that showing the process, that is not the problem here, it does not show anything and the game view is totally black and there is no error on the console (and yes, i already press "F" key)

    adfsefvsrt.jpg
     
  38. mgear

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    did you download with lfs? (git clone, not zip download)
    i used 2021.3.4f1 with 12.1.7 (didn't have that correct unity version installed)

    at bottom right corner, i had shader compilation going for some time on that progress panel
    upload_2022-12-17_22-18-46.png
     
  39. impheris

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    as i said before, that is not the problem, there are no shaders compiling. But maybe my mistake was downloading the zip as you said, but in the git says that i can download the zip and try it
     
  40. impheris

    impheris

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    @mgear Is working now... thanks, is great
    So for future reference, do not download the zip, they name it as an alternative but it does not work, use the Git alternative

    sdsdsd.jpg
     
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  41. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    That looks great
     
  42. impheris

    impheris

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    yes i also mess the values of the skin shader and i forgot the previous one XD the skin look werid
     
  43. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    My only gripe with this is that you need Maya to groom the hair
     
  44. rmele09

    rmele09

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    I’ve seen some great results with hdrp. Check out this video, I asked about the lighting workflow in the comments.

     
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  45. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    This looks extremely good
     
  46. rmele09

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    right!? Probably the best I’ve seen. Thats with realtime SSGI too which is easy to set up. I asked him about his workflow in the comments I think he listed everything out how it was accomplished.
     
  47. impheris

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    The SSGI in unity is really good, even on 2021, now about the hair, i like the movement and of course the shader, really good
     
  48. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    Wait, isn't it that volume post effect?
     
  49. blueivy

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  50. rmele09

    rmele09

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    Yes. I believe you can only use it with a realtime lighting workflow as it turns off lightmaps and light probes. I believe, not positive.