Paper Lanterns

Want access to this effect? Let me know in the comments below 👇 & I’ll make it available!

What is this?

This is a paper lanterns scene made in Unity with a mix of shader graph and particle effects. Made as part of Harry Alisavakis‘s Paper Lanterns challenge on his discord. There were many different ways to approach this theme including traditional Chinese or Japanese lantern styles, floating lanterns and so on, but I have fond memories of releasing this style of lantern so I wanted to base things on that. After searching around for inspiration I came across this video and I wanted to capture the atmosphere of excited people gathered at a kind of festival of light all releasing many glowing lanterns at once up into the night sky. I also wanted to try echoing those sorts of camera shots and movements which gave me a chance to learn adding a Cinemachine timeline. The lantern itself is a free license money sack model modified in Blender. To achieve the glow effect a shader graph which approximates subsurface scattering is used on the mesh material and directional lights are placed inside. The power of the SSS effect is animated to give the impression of a flame flickering. I reused the fire shader from my previous post for the lantern flame and the candle flames. All that was left was to source a variety of character models and animations, compose the scene, and set the timings for the scene & the cameras. A particle system emits a simplified version of the lantern mesh higher up in the sky.

For post-processing effects only some light bloom and scripted depth of field are used.


  • approximated subsurface scattering shader graph
  • procedural noise fire shader
  • Cinemachine timeline
  • scripted post-processing effects


Approximated subsurface scattering tutorial from PuckLovesGames –

Lantern model based on mesh from sirin_3d –

Male character model from Alim Habib –

Male character model from giantformlabs –

Male and female character models from Ready Player Me –

Female character model from IvanDreamer –

Female character model from S_maity –

Male and female character models from

Character models from

Animations edited from originals on

Candle model from Tsaruk Shpinok –

Hat model from chroma3D –

Bush models from yak33 –

Skybox from Dogmatic –

Paper textures from

Music from

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