• I would like to recreate the lighting in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.
  • Currently, I am only using a directional light.
  • I am also using URP.


Here is an example of how it looks in game:

Paper Mario screenshot

And this is how it looks when imported into Unity:

Unity version


Currently, just using a directional light causes a very different appearance. The colors seem much less vibrant and they look washed out, almost similar to when you overlay a color many times.

If anyone has any insight as to how I can achieve the same lighting style it would be very much appreciated!😊


2 Answers 2


Some basic tips:

  • Reduce the intensity of the directional light a bit. If the scene gets too dark, increase the ambient light level.
  • Try using Linear color instead of Gamma color
  • Use flat shading instead of smooth shading on the building walls (this may require making edits to the building meshes in a 3D model editor such as Blender).
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hey, thanks for the response! I wanted to clarify a few things. When you say reduce the brightness of the directional light, are you referring to lowering the intensity? Additionally, I'm not familiar with Ambient lighting and can't seem to find it. Where would I increase this? I unfortunately can't use Linear color space for my project. For the last part, I can use smooth shading on my models, but does that really impact the color? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 8, 2023 at 23:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I meant to adjust the light intensity. I apologize for not using the technical term. Don't be afraid to do a web search if you're unfamiliar with a term - Unity has a short article on ambient light here. The original game uses flat shading on the front of the house models, but the versions you have appear to be using smooth shading. That affects how lighting looks on the house, but not how washed out it looks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin
    Sep 9, 2023 at 1:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ As for linear vs. gamma - you can see in the Unity article that I linked to how colors can get more washed out in a gamma color space. Why can't you use linear? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin
    Sep 9, 2023 at 1:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I actually did try googling it. My issue was that I didn't realize it was listed as "Intensity Lighting" under "Environment". Though, whether I raise or lower it, it seems to have the exact same effect as simply raising or lowering the Directional lights intensity. At least I cannot tell the difference. The reason I cannot use Linear is due to my project using Spine. Spine skeletons are not compatible with Linear and require Gamma unfortunately. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 9, 2023 at 1:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Where are you finding a claim that Spine requires setting your entire project to linear colour space rather than only the specific linear textures that Spine uses? \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Sep 11, 2023 at 2:31

The lighting in paper mario TTYD (as well as many other games in that era) utilizes vertex colors to color textures and create artificial lighting. Adding vertex colors to your models can be done in the 3d modelling software you're using (such as autodesk maya, blender, etc).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you provide authoritative sources to support your claims? Using vertex lighting for 3D models may address OP's issue, in this case you could expand your answer by providing additional information and/or application examples. \$\endgroup\$
    – liggiorgio
    Jan 22 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ you'd have to add the vertex colors yourself in maya or blender (with the right colorspace settings so the color is consistent between your modelling software and unity) then you'd import it into unity as a fbx. You'd then have to make a custom shader in the shadergraph to display vertex colors on the textures of your models, since unity doesn't do that by default. The colors will look off, so you can either change the colorspace to gamma or adjust the gamma to 2.2 within the shader itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – M106
    Feb 8 at 19:59

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