I have been trying to create a voxel cone tracer for Unity (in Universal Render Pipeline 16).

I have this (unoptimized) C# code that turns the [CubeScale] area around 0,0,0 of the scene into a 3D texture and saves it in the editor.

using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using UnityEngine;
using UnityEditor;

public class LBTraceArea : MonoBehaviour
    public Texture3D Volume;
    public float CubeScale;
    public int CubeQuality;
    public string SaveAs;
    //pre-define texel size so it can be used among all functions
    float texelSize = 1f;

    // Start is called before the first frame update
    void Start()
        //define the size of 1 3d texel/volumetric cube pixel/voxel
        texelSize = CubeScale / CubeQuality;
        AssetDatabase.CreateAsset(Volume, "Assets/" + SaveAs + ".asset");
    //function to create 3D texture AKA voxel image with scene objects.
    void VoxelizeArea(){

        //Setup a 3d Texture
        TextureFormat form = TextureFormat.RGBA32;
        TextureWrapMode wrap = TextureWrapMode.Clamp;
        //Defining the Volume
        Volume = new Texture3D(CubeQuality, CubeQuality, CubeQuality, form, false);
        Volume.wrapMode = wrap;
        Volume.filterMode = FilterMode.Trilinear;

        //Create a volumetric color array.
        Color[] color = new Color[CubeQuality * CubeQuality * CubeQuality];

        //Loop to actually create the color volume
        //Define how offset the position of the object is from the center of the Volume.
        //object Offset
        Vector3 oOff = new Vector3(
            transform.position.x + (CubeScale * -0.5f),
            transform.position.x + (CubeScale * -0.5f),
            transform.position.x + (CubeScale * -0.5f)

        //define "Real Tick"/rt or how many loops total of all 3 for loops
        int rt = 0;

        //tx ty and tz is a pun because they are short for texel+(the axis, for example x) and also short for tick+(the axis, for example y)
        for (int tx = 0; tx < CubeQuality; tx++){
            for (int ty = 0; ty < CubeQuality; ty++){
                for (int tz = 0; tz < CubeQuality; tz++){
                    //tick area, ya have access to tx, ty, and tz all in here so you shouldn't need to be outsize of this when calculating coor math and stuff.

                    //Color at Real Tick AKA rt would define the exact pixel at the exact position.
                    //so Color[rt] would be Color at the pixel
                    //color[rt] = new Color(tx, 1f, tz, ty);
                    color[rt] = GetColorAtPosition(new Vector3(tz * texelSize, ty * texelSize, tx * texelSize) + oOff);

        //Put the colors on the 3d bitmap volume and apply the changes so it gets resent to the GPU.

    //function to get an objects surface color at an exact Vector3 location
    void GetColorAt(Vector3 cpos){


    Color GetColorAtPosition(Vector3 position) {
        Vector4 grabber = Vector4.zero;
        grabber += GetColorAtPosAndRot(position, Vector3.up);
        grabber += GetColorAtPosAndRot(position, -Vector3.up);
        grabber += GetColorAtPosAndRot(position, Vector3.right);
        grabber += GetColorAtPosAndRot(position, -Vector3.right);
        grabber += GetColorAtPosAndRot(position, Vector3.forward);
        grabber += GetColorAtPosAndRot(position, -Vector3.forward);
        return grabber;

    Vector4 GetColorAtPosAndRot(Vector3 position, Vector3 normal){
        RaycastHit hit;
        if (Physics.Raycast(position, normal, out hit, texelSize)){
            Renderer renderer = hit.collider.GetComponent<Renderer>();
            if (renderer != null){
                Texture2D texture = renderer.material.mainTexture as Texture2D;
                if (texture){
                    Vector2 pixelUV = hit.textureCoord;
                    pixelUV.x *= texture.width;
                    pixelUV.y *= texture.height;

                    return texture.GetPixel((int)pixelUV.x, (int)pixelUV.y);
                } else {
                    return renderer.material.color;
            return new Vector4(1f,1f,1f,1f);
        return new Vector4(0f,0f,0f,0f);

Image of 3D Texture Volume

Please ignore the name of the texture. It does not currently have LODs or Mipmaps, it needs to have them which is why it is called that.

The Debug.Log used at the end of void Start() returns with 1. which makes me believe there are no mipmaps.

I also have a custom HLSL function in the shader editor to ray march the 3D texture. The desired results are for clean and noise-free global illumination. This may not be that useful for solving the problem, but it demonstrates what I am trying to accomplish. Here is the code for that.

Color = float4(0, 0, 0, 0);
Distance = 0;

float MarchSize = 1 / VolumeQuality;

float3 pos = float3(0,0,0);

//Define t and start 4 steps out
//4 because honestly it's the best I could do
float t = MarchSize * 4;
while (t < 1) {

    if (Color.a < 1) {
        pos = Position + (Normal * t);
        Color += SAMPLE_TEXTURE3D_LOD(Volume, Sampler, pos, Roughness * t);
        Distance = t;
    //advance tick size
    t += MarchSize;     
Color.a = min(Color.a, 1.0);

Here is what this raymarch looks like in a scene: No LOD Raymarch

Here is what it SHOULD look like (except this image has a lot of noise because I had to stochastically sample this instead of sampling it with the mipmaps): Stochastically Sampled instead of LOD

I need mipmaps for my Texture3D, otherwise, LOD on the SAMPLE_TEXTURE3D_LOD in my HLSL(the fourth parameter of that function) does not do anything. This is bad because if I cannot obtain Mipmaps on my 3D Texture, I cannot get my desired lack of noise, and I would have to resort to using stochastic sampling or giving up. So, I need to know how to generate mipmaps for my 3D Texture.

Additional information: The 3D texture is only saved to the assetdatabase for now. I will later find a way to automatically apply the 3D texture to all raymarching shaders. I need to do this because (after I optimize my script that writes the scene to a 3D texture) I need to write the scene to a 3D texture in real time for some epic reflections and real-time GI. I say this to say that it would be ideal that the mipmapping method would be fast and work at runtime. Also, even though it may not be practical, I would prefer if the solution were to work on most URP-supported hardware if at all possible, so please no Direct-X-only stuff unless it is required.

If someone believes the issue is something else, that information would be greatly appreciated aswell.


1 Answer 1


I finally figured out the issue. Unity will automatically generate mipmaps if the fourth parameter of:

Volume = new Texture3D(CubeQuality, CubeQuality, CubeQuality, form, false);

is set to true.

So like this:

Volume = new Texture3D(CubeQuality, CubeQuality, CubeQuality, form, true);

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