The two main real-time rendering engines used today are Unity and Unreal. These two powerful tools have been mainly used in the video game industry but, due to their continuous development and growth, they are currently capable of generating any type of audiovisual content, obtaining practically the same results as using the most standardized methods up to now. We’ll tell you the main differences between Unity vs Unreal software.
Unity vs Unreal. Differences and similarities
The first key difference between Unity and Unreal Engine is their native programming language.
Unity uses C#. This language is easy to learn having a base in any other language, which makes it possible to get results in a short development time.
Unreal Engine has a graphical interface for node-based programming called Blueprint. This interface is a more friendly interpretation of the C++ language that facilitates the development even without previous knowledge of the language. Besides, since it is based on nodes, most of the developers are already familiar with this way of working.
As for the development tools provided by both software packages, we can find advanced lighting and PBR materials, animation tools, rigging, 2D and 3D element editing, audio controllers and editing, video post-production, and a long etcetera.
This makes any animation project viable with any of the two programs, but the big difference is that Unreal has presented its tools focused on the professional field, while Unity’s tools have less depth and are oriented to a type of independent or inexperienced developer.
In this way, the two programs have grown at the same time being competitors, but not leaving each other behind.
Users find Unity slightly easier to use, thanks to its native C# coding language, which should be relatively familiar to all developers. Because of its general workspace layout, Unity is a great platform for the designer who is just starting.
One of Unity’s strengths is to greatly facilitate development for mobile devices. This makes it the main development tool of choice for those starting in programming, as it becomes easier to reach a large portion of users with minimal investment.
It has, therefore, a faster learning curve, being an easier platform to “dive into“ and start creating than Unreal Engine, which has a slightly steeper learning curve.
Also, Unity is built with every platform in mind, allowing much use of third-party content, that includes props, scripts, assets, extensions, and includes add-ons like Facebook, or Google services. It supports more than 25 platforms, from mobile devices, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality platforms, desktop platforms like Windows, Linux, Mac, Facebook, and the main consoles, the HTML5 web platform, or Stadia.
Supporting up to 18 platforms, it features high-quality graphics and rendering speed, making it perfect for enterprise-level animation developers or indie developers who want extra-fine quality in their projects.
The learning curve is a bit steeper, but learning to play by Unreal Engine’s rules rewards you with mind-blowing graphics capabilities that seem limitless.
Although both platforms produce high-quality VFX, Unreal Engine stands head and shoulders above Unity in the quality of its visual effects. It can create photorealistic visualizations that immerse the viewer, allowing them to travel freely through a breathtaking new world, as well as incorporating high-quality assets from a variety of sources.
Like the quality of the graphics, Unreal Engine’s rendering quality and speed slightly surpass Unity in this category. It produces industry-leading rendering speeds, so users are consistently satisfied with the quality of these graphics.
Let’s move on to what’s most important to us: 3d animation. This is where Unreal shines. With the powerful rendering capability and its top-notch visual effects, its animation quality is unbeatable. The lighting system is much more accurate compared to Unity and baking is a smooth experience, so it greatly improves performance.
It also features a material editor, which uses node graphics, much like 3D software such as Maya and 3DS MAX, to create and manipulate materials, allowing developers to quickly tweak and iterate within Unreal.
What do you think about Unity vs Unreal? So far, as we have mentioned, the two development platforms have grown at the same pace and have remained competitive thanks to the fact that each of them is used by different types of developers to achieve similar purposes.
Although Unity has gradually implemented different tools that sometimes reach the complexity and professionalism of Unreal’s tools, (node-based shader editor, for example), and has shown that it is also competitive in animation productions; Unreal remains above thanks to the 5 version release, in which it has surprised with Lumen and Nanite, two powerful tools that raise one more level the quality that can be reached in the creation of CG.
How can 3DforScience help you?
3DforScience is a scientific communication company specialized in visual content for the life science sector. We are a passionate creative team of scientists, marketers, artists, and animators with a shared aim: to help you improve your scientific communication with innovative and unique creative solutions.
We can help to boost your scientific communication capabilities within the biotechnological/ molecular biology fields by designing unique creative solutions such as 3D animation videos or illustrations.
Would you like to bring your scientific messaging to life? Contact us. We would be pleased to provide you with a unique creation.