High Priority – Game Art

How to create a basic PBR shader

Shaders are an everyday occurrence for us 3D designers, but they can be tricky to wrap your head around. Take a simple PBR shader. There are so many working parts to think about it’s easy to lose your way. 

This is why we put together a video of how to create an effective PBR shader. It’s the most basic, and therefore perfect as a jump-off point, for any project you come across in the 3D landscape of today.

What you’ll find in the video is a:

  • Basic color map setup
  • Normal map slot with strength controls
  • A combined mask map incorporating the Metal (R), Roughness (G) and AO (B) maps. We call this the MRA map.
  • Simple Emission map setup

A basic set of controls are added to adjust colors and material values. Regular tiling controls are included as well.

We have also added a few AO controls. As a fellow 3D designer you know well Ambient Occlusion can work to boost the visual style. It multiplies the AO map onto the color map, which is great to add a little more depth to the materials. It often comes in handy when you want to create a more stylized look.

When you’re done following along with the video your shader map should look like this:

Basic PBR Shader

It’s easy to use over and over again once you’ve got this basic structure down. Simple, but it’s the backbone of most materials. You’ll find the video below or you can also watch it on YouTube. Good luck and have fun creating this PBR shader! May it help you out as much as it has helped us out.

Sidenote: For Unreal, make sure you create Material Instances from this and you’re all set.

See you next time!

The High Priority Team