Light Fixtures in Unity
Pierre Yves Donzallaz
18 January 2019
A light cookie is a mask used to block parts of a light source in order to control the shape of the emitted light.
They can also be called “gobos”, “cucoloris” or “flags”, depending on the industry and their use case.
This expert guide presents several advanced techniques to create high-quality light fixtures in Unity, using
2D and cubemap light cookies, and taking advantage of the advanced shaders available in Unity’s High
Definition Render Pipeline. You can use these workflows in projects such as games, architectural
visualizations, films, and simulations.
Today’s real-time rendering engines cannot render all the intricate shadow details produced by a light
fixture: they are unable to produce ray-traced soft shadows efficiently for lower-end platforms, let alone
sharp refractive caustics. User-generated cookies can allow for better artistic control of the shadows and
the addition of creative details in the lighting.
Furthermore, real-time Point Light shadows are still a performance dilemma for modern hardware, so
creating environments with a large number of shadow-casting Point lights remains a challenge. This is why
baked light cookies are crucial to generate high-quality lighting for real-time applications.
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