3D Level Design: Upgrading to Universal Render Pipeline (URP)


In this article, we are going to cover how to install the Universal Render Pipeline. The same process can be applies to installing the High Definition Render Pipeline. Unity current has 3 renders with the default being the Standard Render which is being phased out, the Universal Render Pipeline which is taking the Standard Render’s place and the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP). You can basically do everything you did in the Standard Render in the Universal, but the Universal is more optimize and performs better.


The URP is best suited for mobile, 2D and simple 3D games that do not require intense lightning and process. HDRP is the render for console and PC games that require more realistic lightning, processing and graphics.

Export & Back Up Scene

Before converting or installing the Universal Render Pipeline, make sure to export and/or a backup copy of your scene created in the Standard Renderer. This is a good idea because you may not know which pipeline you want to use in the future (Universal or HD) and this are not necessarily interchangeable. Also, you may not know what lighting restrictions you will have in the future.

You want a clean version of the scene that you can always go back.

To export your scene, left click on the scene and “Export Package”.

You can see that everything from prefabs, scripts to the scene will be Exported.

I also save a Compressed File of the project as an extra backup.

Installing Universal Render Pipeline

Lets create a Unity project.

You have the option to select which render you would like the project to use. When you create a new project with the URP, it will come with a sample scene that can be removed (if you want) when the project is created.

Once the project is created, we are going to import the package from the Standard Render, but before we do that, organize all of the sample scene folders into a created folder “Unity”. This way, we know which folders are the new imported ones and which ones came with sample scene.

In Assets > Import Package > Custom Package. Find the package we exported previously.

You should see everything from the previous version of the project when you open the package.

Select “Import” and you will see you scene, but all of the assets are pink.

This is because they are using a Shader for the old standard renderer.

Since we upgraded to the URP, we need to upgrade the assets to utilize the new renderer.

You can do this all at the same time by following Edit > Render > Pipeline > Universal Pipeline > Upgrade Project Materials to URP Materials.

The scene is now taking advantage of the URP. Just make sure you go through the scene and look for any assets that are still using the standard shader (they will be pink) and individually upgrade them to URP.

Until next time…cheers!



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