Unity Dev Blog: How To Use Post Processing in Unity — It’s like an Instagram filter for your game!

The post-processing stack comes with a collection of effects and image filters you can apply to your game to improve the visuals. It is not installed by default but it is very easy to find.

Open the Package Manager, select Packages: Unity Registry from the drop down list, and scroll down until you find Post Processing in the list. As of the writing of this article, the latest version is 3.0.3 from Feb 23, 2021. Click the install button and let Unity import and install the package. Once it has finished, you can close the Package Manager window.

The next step is to create a ‘post-processing profile’ for our game. We can do this by creating an empty game object to hold the component and name it ‘Post Process Volume’. Next, add the Post-Processing Volume component.

This game really only has one environment…space. One environment means one look or game ‘atmosphere’. (Yes, I know there is no atmosphere is space, but that is not the meaning of the word in this context). We want this to work for the entire project so make sure to check the ‘Is Global’ check box.

Notice that the Profile slot says None. We need to create this and can do so by clicking the New button. This will create a new profile for us and save it in the Scenes folder under a Game_Profiles folder.

Next, we need to add a Layer for the Post Processing Volume to work within.

Select the Main Camera and in the Inspector, under the Post-Processing component settings, set the Layer to use the layer we just created:

Now we can start adding cool visual effects and filters to our game!

In the Inspector window for the Post Process Volume, click on the ‘Add Effect…’ button, then Unity, then you can see the list we have to choose from.

I am not going to go through each of these because there are more in-depth and better articles already on Medium for this, but I will talk about Bloom and Color Grading. Bloom is used to adjust the intensity of brighter objects.

Color Grading allows you to adjust the overall color and vibe of the game screen. The temperature control for example turn the screen “cooler” (or more blueish, or “warmer” more reddish.

Below are two videos of game play — before and after Post Processing effects.

Before…

After…

In the ‘after’ example, I used the Post Processing to make the scene colder to match the freezing depths of space. You could just as easily make the color palette ‘warmer’ and the scene could take place in the close vicinity of a giant red star. As it is, it looks gritty, cold, and unforgiving.

While I do have a knack for logic and code, I will admit colors and design are not my strong suit…yet. I’m working on learning all aspects of game design in Unity.

What’s next? Well, I’m going to play with the Post Processing system some more and then start working on adding sounds to the game.

I SAID TOMORROW I’M GOING TO ADD SOUND TO THE GAME.

See you there.

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Michael Hatfield

Michael Hatfield

Math and science teacher / self-taught programmer and Unity game developer working hard to get into the game development industry fulltime.