Shading 3D Objects

Shading 3D Objects


In a typcial 3D graphics pipeline, the fragment shader is used to "shade" a 3D object. The fragment shader considers the surface qualities of the object and the environmental lighting and determines how each pixel covered by the object should look. Today we'll create a basic lit shader in Unity.


Unity Game Engine

Demo Project

Demo Project


First lets look at a simple scene in unity and see how it is structured.

  • Cube, Camera, Directional Light
  • Cube: Transform, Mesh, Mesh Renderer, Collider
  • Environmental Lighting
  • PBR Materials
  • Rotate script: applied to cube, public properties in inspector.


Lets add our own shader, starting with a simple shader that doesn’t take into account lighting.


Now a shader with lighting.

  • Albedo
  • Ambient
  • Diffuse
    • Why its cold in winter.
  • Normals
  • Dot Products
  • Phong: Ambient + Diffuse + Specular
  • Exposing parameters to UI


When working in Unity it is often a good idea to build on top of the rich feature set Unity provides. Instead of shading our objects from scratch, we can create surface shaders. A surface shader describes only the surface qualities of the object and leaves the lighting to Unity.

  • A surface shader computes the PBR properties of surface.
  • Properties are then used by the standard shader lighting to determine fragment color.