Real Materials FAQ


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For latest news and updates you can always visit official Real Materials forum thread.


Q: Are "Real Materials" PBR-based?
A: Yes.


Q: What does that really mean: "Attention: this material pack needs HDR lighting and linear color space in your project"?
A: Without HDR skybox & Reflection Probes in your map reflective materials will look poorly:
   

Gamma color space also is not recommended for "Real materials" materials because some of them become too dim:
  
More information about new Linear color space and old Gamma color space can be found here. By default (if you create a new empty project in Unity 5) the old gamma color space is used :(.


Q: Why are some 4K metalness maps are uncompressed (have preset "Automatically Truecolor")? Each has size of 85MB instead of 21MB with DXT5 compression.
A: That was made for a reason and only for shiny materials: in contrast lighting they will have a problem with compressed metalness maps:  
Try to switch between images in browser to clearly see patchy compression artifacts. If that is not critical for you - feel free to enable the compression again. Same with normalmaps - if small blocky artifacts don't bother you - compress them all and save a lot of video memory. But keep in mind that "Real Materials" materials re-uses own textures many times (copper can use some textures from steel and gold, steel - from copper and so on) - reducing texture size & compressing them may looks affordable on your current material and bad on other materials that depend on same textures...


Q: Why doesn't naming for textures match naming for metals materials? For example i have bought gold materials (Vol.4) and there are some textures named "steel galvanized matte metalness.png" or "copper 30 percent mask.png".
A: The main reason is that there a lot of 4096x4096 textures, they consume a lot of video memory (Unity 5 STILL has no texture streaming) and disk space (even in grayscale PNG there 10-50MB for each 4K texture map - diffuse, normal, metalness, occlusion, mask...). Re-using same textures in different materials can sometimes allow to save a lot of texture memory. Also scratches and dirt are the same on many different metals, as there is no reason to create separate texture map for each - that fits for steel can also perfectly fit copper or aluminium. More so, noise textures can reduce the repetitiveness pattern of any material and widely used as a secondary layer in "Standard" shader.


Q: Why do you use PNG file format for textures? PSD is way better for editing, especially when texture has alpha channel - Photoshop merges alpha with image then opening PNGs (that makes impossible to edit them).
A: The first version of "Real Metals" was rejected in Asset Store because of reason "We won't accept packs that are more than 1GB. It's strongly recommended to make them below 512MB". Only with PNG format I was able to make them smaller, especially with grayscale PNG-s for metalness maps - each saves up to 60MB. In order to edit PNG-s with alpha channel (most of metalness maps) you will need to convert them from 8bit grayscale PNG to 32bit truecolor PNG and after that convert to TGA's with the proper tool (Photoshop won't do it - use offline/online image convertor). That stupid chain of operations makes RGB channels and alpha separate again for Photoshop in resulting TGA's :/.


If you have another question - post it in official Real Materials forum thread or contact me via e-mail from bottom of the page.


Usefull tips for Unity 5 PBR (Physically-Based Rendering)

1)Then more reflective metal material then more it needs highlights and contrast environment to looks good (more about this here - even it's for Blender render principles is same in Unity). Here bold example how material ("Copper generic" from Vol.3 of "Real Materials") can looks totally different because of environment that it reflects:
  
On first screenshot (taken from official Shader Calibration Scene) material looks cheap, but everything changes on second shot (on official "Unity Labs" scene) were we have contrast & highlights for good reflection on that material.

2)Add an SSR (Screen Space Reflections) plug-in to Unity render (this one for example). That alone improves look of all reflective materials A LOT:   
Just don't forget that SSR works only with "Deferred" render mode.

3)Apply standard image effect "Contrast Enhance" on game camera to boost texture detail:
But it's produces artifacts on some textures, use it wisely.

4)Use HDR image effect on camera to make highlights softer and colors more realistic:
Unfortunately, all standard HDR scripts are not perfect - some wash out saturation too much or blow up it, some does not dynamically changing lighting and so on - better dig in asset store for alternate HDR scripts with good quality and features.