Blender 3D News and Training

Realtime PBR in Blender

Posted by Aidy Burrows on Aug 24, 2016

After this PBR video you’ll know…

  • An amazing great indie game project using Blender > Unreal Engine 4 = Swarm : Manchester. ;D
  • Several realtime PBR solutions for Blender that emulate the Unreal Engine 4 look and material inputs.
  • PBR sometimes stands for Professional Bull Riders.
  • You caught me out since this list is padded with non information such as this line.
  • How to quickly setup the experimental real-time Cycles build
  • Proper Fresnel in Blender internal and it’s limits.
  • A new blender game engine in development.
  • A sense of completion for reading all the way this far down the bulletpoint list. Bulletpoint list reading level up!

Real-Time PBR Blender internal file can be found here.


UE4 vs Blender

I’ve been texturing and developing for my own game project in Unreal Engine 4 – Swarm : Manchester. Something I found a growing need for was a real-time display of the UE4 PBR setup within Blender.

PBR in a game engine means we need these textures….

● Roughness

● Metalness.

But where do we put them in Blender?

So I’ve dug around and created my own solution and been generally keeping my eye on the scene, and now I’d like to present in this video the best real-time PBR options currently available for Blender and how to use them.



Check out the image below, that’s pretty close for blender internal right?! It’s a reasonable approximation surely! The biggest thing missing is the Fresnel – check out how on the UE4 sphere there’s a greater reflection at the glancing angles – that’s Fresnel in action. So in the video we go into why that is and possible solutions.


pbr blender ue4 compare




PBR Real-time shader for Blender Internal.

Swarm : Manchester Game Project.

Malte Szellas UE4 Cycles Shader Youtube how-to. 

Experimental Real-Time Cycles Build by Clément Foucault.

Daily build of blender

UE4 PBR Documentation.

Epic’s Showdown Virtual Reality Video

HDRI Haven – Sweet Environment Maps.

Blender 2.8 Viewport project.

New in development Blender Game Engine Proejct – Armory 3D.


There’s always room to develop the shader further, so if you do decide to take it further or take it another way, you know i’m interested so keep us posted!


Related Posts

Comments (25)


Hello my name is Matthew I was working on a tutorial that only uses blender only. It involved a real time texturing workflow with layered textures. I ended up finding this material to work best in the situation (as it had roughness and metallic). In the tutorial I just have links to websites so I didn’t include any files however I do plan on selling the tutorial. So I was wondering if you guys were okay with that? If not I might just have to hold off till that new blender version and re-shoot all of the texturing section.


Thank you for your quick response 🙂 I definitely agree; metallic and roughness are a really powerful workflow. It will be great to see more tutorials for blender pop up about it; I use substance painter a fair bit so it does help allot having that material in there. Looking forward to the new update!


Pivot Point Press
Pivot Point Press

What is the workflow for creating the maps for the environment wrap. What is the difference between each map?

Aidy Burrows
apologies for the delay, unfortunately it’s a bit on the clunky side to say the least. I was simply taking a equirectangular map and needed to convert it into a cube map, so i took a glossy sphere that was unwrapped in blender to accommodate an equirectangular map, it’s a fairly standard way of unwrapping a sphere, then I baked the glossy direct at different roughness values on the glossy shader. Then I took those baked equirectangular maps, and put them into a blender internal world material and did the usual baking to cubemap procedure. It’s a bit hard to… Read more »

Hi, can this pbr shader be used in 3D blender models which will be uploaded for sale?

Aidy Burrows
apologies for the delay! Yes that shouldn’t be a problem, it should work for all versions of blender now. I think a little bit of knowledge is required to be able to get the most out of it though so I’m not sure i’d want to burden the customer with that, usually simpler the better. At this point i still consider it all a bit experimental. However if you take the cycles shader node group and use that as your materials, and do your previews in the cycles experimental build that may all work nicely. That is of course until… Read more »
Warren D. M. Reed
Warren D. M. Reed

Nudge-nudge wink wink say no more Squire! Woooh! Now I don’t have to ask ‘wot’s it like?’! Thanks for this and the breadcrumbs to other links. Blender is more and more unleashed!

I watched this tutorial when it came out, but I am only trying it today and I’m encountering a problem. When I open the blend file or even if I append the sphere material into another project, the sphere appears as if it is a shadeless orange color. Same with the cube, when it’s selected. Is there a setting I need to adjust or are newer builds of blender no longer able to run the material as it is? Thanks for your help. P.S. I make movies and I am very interested in these tests because I’m looking for a… Read more »
Thadeu Luz
Thadeu Luz

Yeah, I’m on OSX. I did make sure I had the most current version of blender, etc. So it must be a mac thing and/or perhaps my lack of a reasonable graphics card. Thanks for the comment, at least I know I’m not the only one.

Thadeu Luz
Thadeu Luz

From what I’ve been seeing it looks like it is an incompatibility with openGL drivers shipped on OSX. I have bootcamp setup and on windows on the same machine, everything works as expected.

Too bad there aren’t that many blender users on osx

Aidy Burrows
Hi! Yes for some reason that has the look about it that it isn’t the correct build, the official 2.78 release is out now, hopefully you’ll get more joy with that! Ah yes, I’ve followed videocopilot from back when there was only a dozen or so tutorials, I’m aware of the element 3d stuff too, yes you’d be able to do some pretty cool stuff with the realtime viewport, I think one of the most powerful combinations out there at the moment is Blender and UE4 working together, though even just within Blender you can get some awesome results. If… Read more »