Reviewed for: Gaia Version 2.2.1

Lighting is an important part of any scene, especially if it is an outdoor scene containing terrain. The intensity of the sunlight, the shadow strength, the skybox etc. can all work together to create a distinct look and mood for your scene. The settings for those elements are scattered around the Unity editor which can make it tiresome to edit lighting in Unity, but Gaia comes with a selection of Lighting presets that can be applied quickly and edited from one unified UI.
Collections of lighting settings can be saved as "Lighting Profiles" which allows you to quickly change between different lighting setups and also to transfer these settings between scenes.

When Gaia does set up lighting in your scene from the Gaia Manager Runtime tab, it will create a "Gaia Lighting" object below "Gaia Runtime" in your scene. The Gaia Lighting object serves as a container for the directional light, and post processing objects, but also contains a lot of settings to adjust the lighting in the scene to your liking.


When selecting the Gaia Lighting object, you can find all lighting settings for your scene in the Inspector:



The first setting is the "Light System Mode" that has 3 settings:

  • Gaia is the default mode where the lighting in the scene is controlled by Gaia. This mode offers a lot of additional options in multiple panels which are explained in the following sections.  
  • 3rd Party is a mode Gaia will not interfere with your lighting, but will allow you to reference another Game Object that controls the lighting instead. This just serves as a shortcut to jump quickly to this object in question via the "Edit" button.
  • None - Gaia will not interfere with lighting


When in "Gaia" Mode, the next setting you will see is the currently active Lighting Profile - the Lighting Profile is a collection of settings for the skybox, directional light, fog etc. that make up the lighting of your scene. By switching between the lighting profiles you can quickly change the look of your scene, and you can create your own profiles as well.


The actual settings like light color and intensity etc. for this profile are found in the Lighting Profile Settings Panel.

Lighting Profile Settings



The Lighting Profile Settings contain the settings that will impact your scene the most visually. Upon first opening this panel, you will most likely notice that all the settings are locked initially:


This is because the settings displayed in this panel are related to the Lighting Profile selected above, and you will have one of Gaia's default profiles selected which are not editable. You can click the "Create New Profile" or the small "+" Button to create a copy from the current profile which you then can edit as you see fit. You can always return to the default profiles to make another editable copy, so there is no risk in exploring the lighting settings.

When editing the lighting profile settings, note that there are 3 different sky types which influence which settings are available for your lighting setup:

  • Procedural - Uses the unity procedural skybox with a dynamic sun position according to the directional light in your scene.
  • HDRI - Uses a HDRI Skybox that displays a fixed texture in the sky
  • Procedural Worlds Sky (Gaia Pro Only) - Gaia's own skybox system with Time Of Day, night sky, weather and layered clouds.

Depending on which sky type you choose, the available settings below will change accordingly. When using the Procedural Worlds Sky, most settings are expressed as a gradient or a curve rather than a single value. This is because you can edit how this setting changes over the course of the day. The red line on top of the curves / gradients represents the current time:



If you need help with what the individual settings do, you can click the question mark button in the top right corner of the panel to activate the inline help.


Light and Reflection Probe Settings


Unfolding the "Light and Reflection Probes" panel gives you additional options to spawn both light and reflection probes in a grid-like fashion across the terrain:


The options for the reflection probe placement are as follows:

Probe ModeWhat kind of probes should be spawned? 
  • Baked Probes will only be calculated once
  • Realtime Probes will be re-calculated periodically to display current reflections
  •  Custom Probes allow you to set your own reflection cubemap that was generated by other means
Refresh ModeAt which time the probe should be refreshed for realtime mode:
  • On Awake: Probe will be calculated on scene start
  • Every Frame: Probe will be updated constantly (expensive!)
  • Via Scripting: Probe will be updated from a script
  • Probe Manager: Probe will be updated via Gaia's Probe Manager System
Probes Per Row / ColumnHow many rows & columns of probes should be created across your terrain? E.g. 5 means a grid with 5 rows and 5 columns will be created, resulting in 25 probes total.
Probe Height OffsetAt which height above the terrain the probe will be placed. Usually you would want this at the "eye level" of the player / camera in the final game.
Probe ResolutionThe resolution at which the cube maps of the probes will be rendered at. Higher equals a better reflection image quality, but worse for performance, especially when using realtime probes.
Compression MethodThe compression method used for the cubemap image of the probe
Render DistanceThe distance for the probe capture. Anything beyond this distance will not be part of the probe image.
Shadow Render DistanceThe distance at which shadows are being rendered when doing the probe capture.
Culling MaskWhich layers should be considered for rendering the probe capture.


Please Note: Most of these settings are not Gaia exclusive, but are rather the same settings you would find on a manually placed reflection probe. You can find out more about these probe settings in the Unity manual about Reflection Probes.


When you click the "Generate Global Scene Reflection Probes" Button, a grid of probes will be created across your terrain according to your settings. You can find the generated probes as a child object of the terrains in your scene.
The "Clear Reflection Probe" button clears the generated probes again accordingly.


Light probes can be spawned in a similar fashion just like the reflection probes. Since Light Probes do not have as many individual options as reflection probes, you can only define how many probes you want per column / terrain. 


Same as with the reflection probes, the "Generate" Button, generates a grid of probes as a child object of the terrains in your scene, and the "Clear" button removes those probes again. Light Probes only become active after pressing the "Full Lightmap Bake" button in the Gaia Manager or starting the full light baking request from the Window > Rendering > Lighting window.


Please Note: Alternatively you can also spawn light and reflection probes from the Gaia Spawner by selecting "Probes" as a resource.


Save And Load



The Save And Load Panel allows you to save the Lighting Profiles found above into a file. This file can be loaded back up again with the "Load From File" button. You can use this to back up the Lighting Profiles that you have created so far, or to transfer Lighting Profiles between scenes or projects.