Mixed Reality on Quest 3 Getting More Realistic With Object Shadows and Highlights

Mixed Reality on Quest 3 Getting More Realistic With Object Shadows and Highlights
  • Video teaser added (at the bottom of the article)

Meta makes it easy for developers to add shadows and highlights to digital objects, which means we'll soon see a more immersive mixed reality.


At Meta Connect 2023, Meta announced the MR Utility Kit, a collection of useful functions, prefabs, tools, and features designed to simplify and accelerate the development of mixed reality apps. The software has now been released for Unity and Unreal and includes an exciting new feature called Passthrough Relighting.

Passthrough Relighting allows developers to easily add shadows and highlights to digital objects. The former ensures that digital objects cast realistic-looking shadows in the physical environment, while the latter is a light source that casts light on the physical environment.

Meta describes the benefits of Passthrough Relighting for developers as follows:

Previously, creating the illusion of shadows and highlights on Passthrough has been a technically complex process requiring computer graphics expertise. Now with the release of Passthrough Relighting, we are offering developers reusable components, samples, comprehensive documentation and design guidelines. Passthrough Relighting demonstrates and simplifies the process to adjust real-world lighting to match elements of the virtual world.

The goal of Passthrough Relighting is to improve the blending of physical and digital reality, making mixed reality more realistic and visually appealing.

The article image above shows the visual difference between no shadows (left), simple blob shadows (center), and more realistic shadows cast with Passthrough Relighting (right). In addition, the image below shows how highlights are reflected from the physical environment.

Two comparison pictures: Oppy next to a vase of glowing flowers. On the left without pass-through relighting, on the right with pass-through relighting the floor reflects the light of the flowers.

The same scene, once without and once with highlights. | Image: Meta


Developers first have to implement these effects in their mixed reality apps to make them visible. So it may be a while before you see them in action.

One of the first applications that could benefit from Passthrough Relighting is the mixed reality sandbox Figmin XR. Developer Javier Davalos hinted that the feature will be implemented in the upcoming Update 21.


Update: On Twitter, Davalos teases what the highlights in Figmin XR could look like:

Sources: Meta Quest Developer Blog