The Power of Light Probes in Unity

One of the most important parts of portraying a scene, be it 2D or 3D, is proper lighting. In this article, I will dive into what light probes do and how to use them.

Light Probes detect baked lighting information and can then send that lighting data to dynamic objects. When you have a scene with objects that self-illuminate using emissions, and you want that baked light to display on your player as they pass by the light source rather than being ignored, light probes come to the rescue!

To create a light probe group, right-click, select the Light option and then create a Light Probe group.

A basic light probe group appears like this. The four probes can be moved, deleted, or duplicated as needed.

This Gif provides a nice visual example of the light probe at work. The cube is self-illuminating via the emissions channel, and the sphere represents the moveable dynamic object. As you can see, just moving the probes around changes the way the light from the cube interacts live with the sphere.

After pressing the Edit Light Probes button, a single probe can be selected by clicking on it. Hold shift and click on more probes to add them to the selection.

After selecting, the Duplicate Selected button is pressed to make a copy of the selected probes.

I can then drag the copied probes into a new location and duplicate them yet again. Here is a series of probe duplications and moves.

The cover image gif shows just how intense you can get when covering your scene with light probes to detect and relay baked lighting info. It’s almost hard to believe that scene was put together with a single light source.

I hope you join me in my next article where I discuss light probes vs screen space reflections. Thanks for reading!

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