Light probes

Light Probes have two main uses: The primary use of light probes is to provide high quality lighting (including indirect bounced light) on moving objects in your scene. The secondary use of light probes is to provide the lighting information for static scenery when that scenery is using Unity's Level of Detail (LoD) system.

When using dynamic objects with baked lighting, light probes are not normally affected by the lightmaps. This may cause them to look odd, and to seem like they are not part of the scene.

A solution for this is Light Probes. Light probes have many of the same benefits as lightmaps, in that they store lighting data which can be calculated offline. Again this moves much of the computational costs to edit time, rather than run time. While a lightmap encodes lighting received at a given texel for surfaces in your scene, a light probe stores the light that passes through empty space in your scene. This data can then be used to light dynamic objects, which helps integrate them visually with lightmapped objects throughout your scene. 

Light probes only store and show the lights and shadows of the static scene. This is because light probes are also pre-baked. They are not a solution for shade and light from dynamic objects, real-time lights, or self-shadowing. But light probes can provide most of the lighting for your scene.

There are two main uses for light probes:

  • To light moving objects in your scene. Light probes take advantage of your baked lights, so that your objects have the same lighting as the scene. Lighting dynamic objects with light probes is less expensive than using real-time lights.
  • To provide lighting data to statically marked objects that use the LoD System.  

To learn more about light probes, see Related information.

The following screenshot shows an example of light probes being used.

Light probes

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