Version: 2021.1
Streaming Virtual Texturing

Cubemap arrays

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A cubemapA collection of six square textures that can represent the reflections in an environment or the skybox drawn behind your geometry. The six squares form the faces of an imaginary cube that surrounds an object; each face represents the view along the directions of the world axes (up, down, left, right, forward and back). More info
See in Glossary
array is an array of cubemaps that are the same size and format, and that the GPU can access as a single texture resource. Cubemap arrays are often used for implementing efficient reflection probeA rendering component that captures a spherical view of its surroundings in all directions, rather like a camera. The captured image is then stored as a Cubemap that can be used by objects with reflective materials. More info
See in Glossary
, lighting and shadowing systems.

In your Unity Project, the Unity Editor represents cubemap arrays as Texture Assets.To configure a Texture Asset’s import settings you can use the InspectorA Unity window that displays information about the currently selected GameObject, asset or project settings, allowing you to inspect and edit the values. More info
See in Glossary
, or write a script that uses the TextureImporter API. In the Unity engine, Unity uses the CubemapArray class to represent cubemap arrays.

Creating a cubemap array

To create a cubemap array in your Project, you must use a script.

The following example is an Editor script that creates an instance of the CubemapArray class, populates it with color data, and then saves it to your Project as a Texture Asset.

using UnityEngine;
public class CreateCubeArrayTexture : MonoBehaviour
    static void CreateCubemapArray()
        // Configure the cubemap array and color data
        int faceSize = 16;
        int arraySize = 4;
        int[] kCubeXRemap = new int[] { 2, 2, 0, 0, 0, 0 };
        int[] kCubeYRemap = new int[] { 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 1 };
        int[] kCubeZRemap = new int[] { 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2 };
        float[] kCubeXSign = new float[] { -1.0F, 1.0F, 1.0F, 1.0F, 1.0F, -1.0F };
        float[] kCubeYSign = new float[] { -1.0F, -1.0F, 1.0F, -1.0F, -1.0F, -1.0F };
        float[] kCubeZSign = new float[] { 1.0F, -1.0F, 1.0F, -1.0F, 1.0F, -1.0F };
        var baseCols = new Color[] { Color.white, new Color(1, .5f, .5f, 1), new Color(.5f, 1, .5f, 1), new Color(.5f, .5f, 1, 1), Color.gray };
        // Create an instance of CubemapArray
        var tex = new CubemapArray(faceSize, arraySize, TextureFormat.ARGB32, true);
        tex.filterMode = FilterMode.Trilinear;
        // Iterate over each cubemap
        var col = new Color[tex.width * tex.width];
        float invSize = 1.0f / tex.width;
        for (var i = 0; i < tex.cubemapCount; ++i)
            var baseCol = baseCols[i % baseCols.Length];

            // Iterate over each face of the current cubemap
            for (var face = 0; face < 6; ++face)
                var idx = 0;
                Vector3 signScale = new Vector3(kCubeXSign[face], kCubeYSign[face], kCubeZSign[face]);
                // Iterate over each pixel of the current face
                for (int y = 0; y < tex.width; ++y)
                    for (int x = 0; x < tex.width; ++x)
                        // Calculate a "normal direction" color for the current pixel
                        Vector3 uvDir = new Vector3(x * invSize * 2.0f - 1.0f, y * invSize * 2.0f - 1.0f, 1.0f);
                        uvDir = uvDir.normalized;
                        Vector3 dir =;
                        dir[kCubeXRemap[face]] = uvDir[0];
                        dir[kCubeYRemap[face]] = uvDir[1];
                        dir[kCubeZRemap[face]] = uvDir[2];

                        // Shift the color into the 0.4..1.0 range
                        Color c = new Color(dir.x * 0.3f + 0.7f, dir.y * 0.3f + 0.7f, dir.z * 0.3f + 0.7f, 1.0f);
                        // Add a pattern to some pixels, so that mipmaps are more clearly visible
                        if (((x ^ y) & 3) == 1)
                            c *= 0.5f;
                        // Tint the color with the baseCol tint
                        col[idx] = baseCol * c;

                // Copy the color values for this face to the texture
                tex.SetPixels(col, (CubemapFace)face, i);

        // Apply the changes to the texture and upload the updated texture to the GPU

        // Save the texture to your Unity Project
        AssetDatabase.CreateAsset(tex, "Assets/ExampleCubemapArray.asset");

Previewing a cubemap array

To preview a cubemap array in the Inspector window, navigate to the Project windowA window that shows the contents of your Assets folder (Project tab) More info
See in Glossary
and select the Texture Asset. The Texture import settings for this Texture Asset are now visible in the Inspector, and Unity renders a preview of the cubemap array at the bottom of the Inspector.

The following controls are available in the toolbarA row of buttons and basic controls at the top of the Unity Editor that allows you to interact with the Editor in various ways (e.g. scaling, translation). More info
See in Glossary

Control Function
Filter Mode The filtering to use for the preview. See the documentation on Filter Mode

Using a cubemap array in a shader

Here is an example of a shaderA program that runs on the GPU. More info
See in Glossary
that uses a cubemap array.

Shader "CubemapArrayShaderExample" {
Properties {
    _MainTex ("CubemapArray", CubeArray) = "" {}
    _Mip ("Mip", Float) = 0.0
    _Intensity ("Intensity", Float) = 1.0
    _SliceIndex ("Slice", Int) = 0
    _Exposure ("Exposure", Float) = 0.0

SubShader {
    Tags {"Queue"="Transparent" "IgnoreProjector"="True" "RenderType"="Transparent" "ForceSupported" = "True"}

    Pass {

        #pragma vertex vert
            #pragma fragment frag
            #pragma require sampleLOD
            #pragma require cubearray
            #include "UnityCG.cginc"
            struct appdata {
                float4 pos : POSITION;
                float3 nor : NORMAL;
            struct v2f {
                float3 uv : TEXCOORD0;
                float4 pos : SV_POSITION;
            uniform int _SliceIndex;
            float _Mip;
            half _Alpha;
            half _Intensity;
            float _Exposure;
           v2f vert (appdata v) {
                v2f o;
                o.pos = UnityObjectToClipPos(v.pos);
                float3 viewDir = -normalize(ObjSpaceViewDir(v.pos));
                o.uv = reflect(viewDir, v.nor);
                return o;
            half4 _MainTex_HDR;
            fixed4 frag (v2f i) : COLOR0
                fixed4 c = UNITY_SAMPLE_TEXCUBEARRAY(_MainTex, float4(i.uv, _SliceIndex));
                fixed4 cmip = UNITY_SAMPLE_TEXCUBEARRAY_LOD(_MainTex, float4(i.uv, _SliceIndex), _Mip);
                if (_Mip >= 0.0)
                    c = cmip;
                c.rgb = DecodeHDR (c, _MainTex_HDR) * _Intensity;
                c.rgb *= exp2(_Exposure);
                c = lerp (c, c.aaaa, _Alpha);
                return c;
    Fallback Off

If you use this shader with the Cubemap Array created in the example at the top of the page, the result looks like this:

[Cubemap array support] added in 2020.1 NewIn20201

Streaming Virtual Texturing