Layered materials and performance


I would like to know how efficient it is to have a material library within UE4 and texture our assets using ID maps. This way we would have used a lot less texture maps since we are sharing materials. But I have noticed some performance impact when working with layered materials, it is also mentioned in the documents. And we are talking about some materials having probably up to 11 layers for an asset.

Now is the performance impact caused by layered materials actually better than having a unique albedo per asset?

11 layers is a ton. For layered assets in my experience anything after 3-4 layers will climb up into the 250+ instruction counts if there are unique textures. Can you make some layers ‘property only’, as in don’t blend in unique textures for them? Ie a light and dark metal could both be the same material with a single value changed. Maybe you can kind of consolidate them down to where you still have layers but less? It depends on what kind of performance you need and what hardware you will be running for. You won’t be hitting 60+ fps on console with 11 layers though. Maybe 3-4 very simple layers.