How are 3D graphics rendered

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If you're just starting out with 3D development in Unity, you might be wondering what exactly "rendering" is. If you only use 3D graphics occasionally, or are just taking your first steps in 3D production, you may find that rendering is not as easy to do as other aspects of 3D graphics.

Fortunately, there is plenty of documentation about rendering in Unity so you can get your project done the way you want.

What is real-time rendering in 3D and how does it work?

3D rendering creates an image based on three-dimensional data stored on your computer. Rendering can be seen as a creative process, similar to photography or cinematography, in that light is used and ultimately images are produced.

With 3D rendering, your computer graphics convert 3D wire models into 2D images with photo-realistic or realistic 3D effects. A single image or frame can take seconds or even days to render. There are two main types of 3D rendering, the main difference between them being the speed at which the images are computed and processed: real-time and offline or pre-rendering.

Real-time rendering, which is most commonly used for video games or interactive graphics, computes the 3D images very quickly. This makes the scenes, which are made up of a multitude of images, seem to take place in real time as players interact with your game.

Because of this, interactivity and speed play an important role in the real-time rendering process. For example, if you want to move a character in your scene, you need to make sure that the character's movement is updated before the next frame is called: the movement needs to be displayed at the speed that the human eye can perceive as natural movement.

The main goal is to achieve the highest possible level of photorealism at an acceptable minimum rendering speed, which is typically 24 frames / second. This is the minimum a human eye needs to create the illusion of movement.

Although the rendering is based on countless sophisticated calculations, modern software can provide some fairly simple parameters for you to understand and work with. A rendering engine is usually included in a modern 3D engine and can produce amazing graphics.

Real-time rendering in 3D and 2D

If you have not yet decided whether to create a 2D or 3D project in Unity, remember that all options are open to you: you can use the professional toolset for creating any type of 2D or 3D Use the game or even combine 2D and 3D elements to create interactive 2.5D experiences.

In Unity, you can use the sprite renderer to render sprite images into a 2D or 3D scene. This component lets you display images as sprites that you can use for both 2D and 3D scenes.

Unity uses the Sorting Layers tool to divide sprites into groups for overlay priority. In addition, "Order in Layer" is used, so that consistent priorities can be applied to sprites of the same layer.

Learn more about the Unity Sprite renderer

If you want to learn how to create a 2D or 3D game in a practical way, you can use the two comprehensive game kits from our Unity content team: the 2D game kit and the 3D game kit. Both kits contain mechanics, tools, systems and assets that you can use to make your gameplay a reality without having to program.

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