Adjusting light levels

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To ensure that your game looks good on a wide range of computers, especially PCs, it's important to have your monitor properly calibrated, and then adjust the lighting levels and texture brightness.

Here's what to do:

  1. Make sure your monitor is calibrated to 2.2 or 2.4 gamma. 2.2 is the mid-range of possible PC gammas, as well as being the NTSC (television) target gamma). The Mac default is 1.8, which is oriented around print press work, but it is not standard for digital media, web, or TV. A great third party software calibrator is SuperCal, which gives very good color accuracy without an expensive hardware calibrator. If you are particularly concerned about color accuracy, then also make sure you have a decent monitor. LCD panels are improving in color quality, but it's still worth doing some research to identify good ones. Samsung has some great flat panels with good color for a lot less than an Apple display.
  1. Adjust your texture images in Photoshop or your graphic tool of choice to look good in that tool. This will provide the baseline for all of your in-game lighting. Make sure that your textures all match each other in terms of color balance, brightness, etc. If you use Photoshop, use native PS files for your textures and use adjustment layers so you can make a quick change, save, and see how it looks in Unity.
  1. REMOVE any ICC profiles on your textures. This means turning off color management in Photoshop. If you have a mixture of tagged and untagged texture files, they will import with different gammas and goof up the color matching. (This is particularly important in 2.0, where you want to match colors between the terrain textures and detail objects).
  1. In Unity, you can adjust the overall brightness (and overall color balance) of your scene in three major places:
    1. The ambient lighting in the render settings. This sets how dark the shadows are, as well as the color tint of shadows. Setting this first gives you the overall mood and contrast of the scene.
    2. The color and brightness of your actual light objects. This will determine how bright or even blown out the highlights will be.
    3. The base color and brightness of the material on each mesh. Cranking this up or down can correct exposure of the highlights in particular.

Finally, depending on the quality of your monitor, you should check on real PCs with different monitors. Unfortunately few PCs are properly calibrated and given the settings people have, they will be all over the place. You're not trying to have it be perfect on all of them, but you want to be sure it's not excessively dark or too bright on the majority.

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