Unlit VS Base Color


Everytime I´ve used Unreal I have seen this issue. Since the PBR workflow appeared the artists are always checking the Unlit Viewing Mode and many times I´ve heard “This is not my texture!”. I always suggest to check the Base Color Buffer Visualization and that way we can see the texture exactly as in Photoshop or SubstancePainter.


The metalness is affecting the way we see the colors on the Unlit Mode. Any reason? Are we missing something?


This is entirely expected in a PBR workflow. Metallness is used to differentiate between dielectric surfaces and metal surfaces. It’s really best thought of as a toggle in 99% of use cases it should just be 0 or 1. Dielectric surfaces (wood, plastic, paint etc.) the specular colour is white. doesn’t matter what the albedo colour is, you get white reflection of light.

In metals, dues to the conductivity of the surface, the specular colour is tinted usually towards the albedo colour. So Gold has yellow specular, bronze has a browny one etc.

The change in the colour you are seeing there is a combination of the specular colour and a need for a reflection. As roughness approaches zero, albedo moves towards black as the reflection is all you see.

Ok Anadin, thank you for your answer. I understand that this is just a PBR calculation. The Unlit View Mode is the PBR Material without shading and specularities.

So this view mode is not what every artist expect: Base Color. And the Unreal Documentation is not explaining it in a proper way:

“Unlit view mode removes all lighting from the scene, showing you Base Color only.”
“The Base Color mode allows you to see the only the Base Color of the Materials in your scene.”

What I am doing finally is assigning Alt+3 to “Base Color Buffer” and I won´t use Unlit.

I’d be interested to see what effect changing the roughness has to the unlit viewmode here, I havent checked myself but I’m 90% sure at least in the CryEngine that a 100% metal surface has 0,0,0 base colour and only specular colour.
Which would make this make more sense as the diffuse is bleeding through to the metalic specular reflection.