3D Level Design: Screen Space Reflections

Intro

In this article, we are going to cover Screen Space Reflections; what it is, how to use it, and when you should use it.

Screen Space Reflections

According Unity, “Screen Space Reflections are an easy way to depict wet, shiny, or mirrored surfaces. As a post-processing effect, they’re automatically applied to smooth and metallic surfaces, controlled via Material properties.”

Without Screen Space Reflections (left) With Screen Space Reflection (right)

Setting Up Screen Space Reflections

In the project window, find the HDRP Default Asset and make sure Screen Space Reflections is turned on.

Screen Space Reflection is a post-processing effect that is added to the global volume stack.

Lets select Add Override…

and in Lighting we can find Screen Space Reflection.

If you receive this error, we can fix this by turning on Screen Space Reflection in the Quality section of Project Settings.

Below you can see how we are now getting reflections on the hallway floor (since they are smooth) from the lights in the main room.

Screen Space Reflection Being Turned Off & On

When To Use

Screen Space Reflection gives a more accurate depiction of reflections in your scene, but this comes a performance cost. Since the reflections are being applied to the whole scene through the camera it requires more processing power, so this should be used when making realistic games on consoles or PC.

A cheaper option that gives you less accurate reflections are reflection probes, which captures the reflections in a given area and reflective objects can use it to depict those captured reflections.

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