PBR: The new industry standard

What is PBR?

Last GDC saw the launch of Unreal 4 and Marmoset Toolbox 2. Both changed materials to be closer to photorealistic, and raised the bar for realistic assists in the gaming industry. With Unity 5.0 soon to support PBR, we’re going to recap what it is and provide some handy resources if you haven’t made the switch already.

PBR or Physically Based Rendering, also referred to as Physically Based Materials, allows artists to create realistic and natural looking game props. Control reflective indexes in materials to approximate real world surfaces, add micro detail and reflectivity with results that are harder to distinguish from the real world.  

For beginners, be sure to check out Joe Wilson’s (you might know him as  earthquake on Polycount) Tutorial on Physically Based Rendering, And You Can Too!


Remember that different programs handle PBR a little differently so depending on which program you choose you will have to set up maps a little differently. Be sure to check out Unreal’s Unreal 4 Physically Based Material documentation on how they handle PBR. 

For anyone who wants a closer look at how metals can be handled check out artist Georgian Avasilcute’s great breakdown of metal in his PBR Texturing Techniques over at Quixel. For the heavy reader check out Physically Based Rendering: From Theory to Implementation by Matt Pharr and Greg Humphreys.

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