A few days ago, while preparing a presentation on physically based rendering, I needed to create a few shaders to showcase the difference between the various reflectance models. As always I fired up my aging FX composer and tried to load a Stanford Dragon model I found on the internet (various formats and polygon counts). FX Composer consistently failed to cooperate. Then, I remembered Unity and its very capable content pipeline so I thought I’d give it a go. And voila I got my model rendering with two drag-n-drops.
This got me thinking about how good the free version of Unity would be as an FX composer replacement. I am aware that Unity is a game engine and not specifically tuned for material/shader creation, but it has many good features like the price (can’t get a better deal than free), content pipeline, scene editor, material inspector UI and a shader editor that could make it a prime candidate. I’ve been using FX Composer to prototype/try shaders for quite some time now, but it is starting to show its age with its D3D10 support and, frankly, not so slick UI and Editor/Scene Viewer. So I set about investigating it. Continue reading “Using Unity as an FX Composer replacement for shader prototyping”