Shader Showcase Saturday #6: Dynamic Snow

After two previous instalments of Shader Showcase Saturday focused on wind and rain, talking about snow was simply unavoidable.

Creating realistic snow is a serious challenge, which will be further explored in the following months. This week, we focus on how shaders can be used to add snow to an existing scene. Most of the references shown in this post will not be photorealistic. We will show on how to simulate photorealistic snow and frost in a few weeks. If you cannot wait, I would strongly advise having a look at Winter Suite. It contains some of the most realistic shaders for snowy and frosty surfaces.

As you can see from the image above, it supports translucency, subsurface scattering and the shimmering effect that is typically seen in snow.

I have also dedicated a proper tutorial on snow shading, which you can find in the article titled Surface Shading in Unity. Continue reading

Surface shaders in Unity3D

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

This is the second part of a series of posts on Unity3D shaders, and it will focus on surface shaders. As previously mentioned, shaders are special programs written in a language called Cg / HLSL which is executed by GPUs. They are used to draw triangles of your 3D models on the screen. Shaders are, in a nutshell, the code which represents how different materials are rendered. Surface shaders are introduced in Unity3D to simplify the way developers can define the look of their materials.

Surface shader Continue reading