Version: 2021.3
Lighting Data Asset
Scene View Draw Modes for lighting

GI cache

The GI cache is an internal data cache that the Unity Editor uses to store intermediate files when precomputing lighting data for Baked Global IlluminationA group of techniques that model both direct and indirect lighting to provide realistic lighting results.
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and Enlighten Realtime Global IlluminationA lighting system by Geomerics used in Unity for lightmapping and for Enlighten Realtime Global Illumination. More info
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. By storing this data in a cache, Unity can speed up subsequent precomputations.

The cache is shared between all Unity projects on the computer, so projects with similar content and lightmapping backend can share the cached files. One more reason to not have the cache per project is that the cache can grow a lot during baking, up to hundreds of gigabytes for large projects using Enlighten and that could consume all of the hard drive space on the computer.

You can manage the size, location, and compressionA method of storing data that reduces the amount of storage space it requires. See Texture Compression, Animation Compression, Audio Compression, Build Compression.
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of the cache using the GI Cache preferences. For more information, see the Preferences documentation.

Using the GI Cache

The Unity Editor uses the GI Cache when it precomputes lighting data. To enable the GI Cache, open the Lighting window (Window > Lighting) and enable the Auto option. This makes lighting data precomputation automatic and stores output data in the GI Cache. If you prefer to store lighting data in a Lighting Data Asset instead, disable the Auto option. However, even when you disable Auto and store precomputed data in a Lighting Data Asset, the Editor stores intermediate results in the GI Cache.

In the Lighting window, you can clear the baked data in a SceneA Scene contains the environments and menus of your game. Think of each unique Scene file as a unique level. In each Scene, you place your environments, obstacles, and decorations, essentially designing and building your game in pieces. More info
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(disable the Auto option and choose Clear Baked Data from the BuildThe process of compiling your project into a format that is ready to run on a specific platform or platforms. More info
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button drop-down menu). This only removes the data in the scene, it does not clear the GI Cache, because this would increase bake time afterwards. To clean the GICache, go to Preferences documentation. Cleaning the cache should only be done as a last resort and any issues forcing you do do so, should be reported via the bug reporter built into the Editor.

You can copy the GiCache folder among different machines. This can make your lighting build faster, because the files are fetched from the GiCache folder instead of being recomputed.

If you try to bake with more than one instance of the Editor running on the same computer, the Editor displays the following warning message: "The GI Cache is using increasing amounts of space on your hard drive to support concurrent lightmapA pre-rendered texture that contains the effects of light sources on static objects in the scene. Lightmaps are overlaid on top of scene geometry to create the effect of lighting. More info
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generation. To prevent failed bakes, close all other instances of the Unity Editor.

Lighting Data Asset
Scene View Draw Modes for lighting