The Basics: Materials, Textures, Shaders, & Renderers

Adam Reed
2 min readMay 11, 2021

When you are building a 3D scene for your project you will more than likely be wanting to make your objects look as nice as possible. One way that designers add detail to their models in Unity is by using “Materials”, “Textures”, and “Shaders”.

Materials work in conjunction with “Renderer’s” The default renderer for 3D objects is a mesh renderer and the default renderer for 2D objects is a “Sprite Renderer”.

The “Size” parameter within the Materials section of a Mesh Renderer is used to determine how many materials you can attach to this object. Increasing this to anything more than one is primarily only for objects that have multiple submeshes.

The “Element” parameter within the Materials section of a Mesh Renderer is where you can apply the material you would like applied to an object.

“A shader program, commonly referred to as a shader, is a program that runs on a GPU. Shader programs are most commonly used in rendering, where they determine the appearance of an application by setting the color of pixels.”

Shader’s can be found within a material or attached to an object that contains a material. It provides you with a number of different options that allow you to customize how your material renders colors, shadows, lighting, and more.

Click on the small circle next to Albedo to select a texture that you want to apply to the material.

“Textures” are essentially images that contain the details of an object. Examples could be tree bark, human skin, or in the case of the example image here, roofing tiles.

Many textures are made within software such as Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator and are actually derived from “REAL” photos taken with a camera.



Adam Reed

Hi, my name is Adam Reed and I am a software engineer specializing in Unity and C# development. Feel free to scroll through and check out some of my work!