Rendering Pipelines in Unity

What are the different rendering pipelines in Unity, and which one should you choose for your project? Let’s dive into these questions and more.

When you start a new 2D or 3D project in newer versions Unity, you are using the Standard Rendering Pipeline. This default pipeline is great for starting new projects and getting your game up and running. The notable difference between the Standard Rendering Pipeline and the URP (Universal Rendering Pipeline), is that the URP is an updated, streamlined and more memory efficient rendering pipeline for real time graphics. The URP pipeline is perfect for any 2D game, or even simple 3D games that don’t require a ton of graphics overhead. If you are building a game for mobile devices, the URP will do just fine. If you want seemingly unlimited tools and options when it comes to developing ultra high resolution graphics and VFX for PC and console games, cinema or otherwise, the HDRP (High Definition Rendering Pipeline) is just what you are looking for.

I have a scene here that I have created using the Standard Rendering Pipeline, and I want to prepare it to be upgraded to either the URP or the HDRP. A good way to go about this and keep my original work safe and sound, is to export the scene, and then open it in a new project template for the pipeline I want to use.

Right-click on the scene and select the Export Package option, to send the scene and it’s corresponding assets to a save folder.

You can preview all of the assets to be exported with the package before pressing the Export button to finalize.

Choose or create a new folder to store your exported scene package.

I had a default packages folder in my Unity project, so that seemed like a great place to store my scene starter file.

Let’s get started with the URP. Open Unity Hub and add a new project, preferably using the same version of Unity as the package you want to open. Give the new project a relevant title and select a destination folder to save.

Note how deep the folders travel in order to get to the file location. I will show you shortly how this can be problematic.

Select the URP default project template to start a new project. With the URP all setup and ready to go in this template, all we need to do it import the Unity package of the scene I exported at the beginning of this article. Press the create button when you are ready to go.

If you see this message, rather than a new URP project opening, it’s ok! Newer versions of Unity have a short limit as to how far your Unity project can be nested in folders for it to create. My path of C>Users>MyName>
Documents>Unity Projects>This Project
was just too much for it to take. To resolve this, remove the project from Unity hub and try again with a shorter save location. Saving directly to your hard drive is a close path, and I also had no problem saving the project to my desktop.

If you want to now relocate the project to your preferred destination, go ahead and remove it from Unity Hub. The entire Unity project folder can be copied and pasted, or simply moved into the desired location. Back in Unity Hub, add an existing project and navigate to the new location of your URP project.

If by chance you see the error below in Unity Hub when trying to add your project, make sure the folder you are navigating to has the assets and other game related folders inside it, and is not nested inside a parent folder.

Once your default URP project is created and saved in a proper location, this is the view you should see when it opens. Now all we have to is to import the package from our previously existing scene to get busy in the URP. More on that and what all the URP can do in my next article. Thanks for reading!




I am an artist and musician, that is currently diving headfirst into game development with C# and Unity3D.

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Jared Amlin

Jared Amlin

I am an artist and musician, that is currently diving headfirst into game development with C# and Unity3D.

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