Baked lighting vs Realtime lighting?


What are the performance differences between baked and realtime lighting?

I thought baked was 1000x better, but as I read around it seems not.

I need the sun to move in my game so I may have to go with realtime, but I’m having a hard time finding much info on this.
Any info or links would be greatly appreciated!


There’s not going to be a straight answer because it depends a lot on the context. There’s many different real time lighting methods, so the performance impact is going to vary a lot. Baked lighting is significantly cheaper in many cases, and works much better for interior and indirect lighting.

Thanks ZacD.


Edit: I guess my main question is, do you think it’s possible to dynamically light that scene without much performance loss instead of baking the lighting?
It’s cartoony and not super detailed, so resolution/realism isn’t very important, just performance.

So if you think fully realtime won’t be a huge loss, I’ll re-light all my scenes to test it out.

Unless the sun’s going to be moving, you have a ton of vegetation, or the scene is absolutely massive, there’s not much reason to use dynamic lighting for that. If you’re worried about performance, just go ahead and test it and see what happens.

If you only going to use a sun light. Is ok use dinamic you can play around with config setings. ej Cascade shadows.

The sun would be moving when changing to the next area yeah.
Also are you saying that vegitation or very large scenes work better with dynamic? We’ve had a lot of baked lighting problems with our foliage.

It took a long time to get baked looking just right, so I just wanted to gather some info before testing dynamic and losing all my baked light data. :stuck_out_tongue:

Quick question…

Would this be possible?
Dynamic sunlight,
but baked for smaller lights around the scene?

Unless it’s an entirely different map you can’t bake that anyway then.

Generally, yes. It takes a lot of lightmap data and a huge amount of RAM on your part to even bake when you have a lot of vegetation or open world sized maps, not to mention the sheer filesize of the maps. If you have a ton of grass or trees, just set those individual foliage types to movable.

Duplicate the map first then.

Yes, just only set the sun to movable and nothing else then.

Hey Daniel, if I do that it still lights all the static objects. So they will have baked lighting plus the movable sun lighting. Is there any way to make it ignore static objects? I Can’t seem to figure it out.

If something’s set to static, it’ll be baked down. If you don’t want it to be baked, just set the object to movable.