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The Heretic
Our award-winning Demo team, the creators of Adam and Book of the Dead, completed a new short film, The Heretic.
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Visual quality out of the box

The Heretic was created on stock Unity 2019.3 and pushed Unity’s graphics features to the limit, including every possible aspect of the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) with the integrated Post-Processing stack, and the Visual Effect Graph. HDRP now ships with built-in Shader Graph master nodes for realistic hair, eyes, and fabric.

Creating a realistic digital human

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The Heretic: Digital Human Package

Creating photorealistic digital humans is a complex technical challenge. The Heretic is our first attempt to tackle this. We aimed to establish a pipeline and a bar of quality appropriate to this challenge.

Our pipeline combined 3D and 4D scanning to obtain high-quality textures and poses and believable, realistic movement. It’s based on the services of commercially available vendors: Infinite Realities for high-quality scanning, Russian 3D Scanner for highly accurate data pre-processing, and Snappers for facial rigging.

The 4D scanned data, which preserves the realism of the actor’s performance, is supplemented by bringing back the microsurface details, wrinkles, pores, etc., obtained from 3D scanning. This approach gives better results than using the two techniques individually. We completed the pipeline for the reconstruction of the digital human by attaching the eyelashes, eyebrows, stubble, and hair with the help of dedicated attachment tools.

The digital human character model with a demo scene

The digital human character model with a demo scene is now available for download on GitHub. You can use it as a learning resource or for non-commercial projects.

The technology we developed for our complete data pipeline, from the acquisition of 3D and 4D data through processing and into set up in Unity is also available on GitHub. You're free to use these in your commercial productions and build on top of them as you see fit.

Both the digital character and the technology stack are also in this Unity Asset Store package.

Real-time VFX workflows in The Heretic

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Real-time VFX workflows in The Heretic

At Unite Copenhagen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHD8OfSzCsg), Technical Artist Adrian Lazar and Unity Evangelist Andy Touch explained how the team used the Visual Effect Graph to bring the Morgan character to life. By creating the simulation with GPU particles, the artists can change the shape, gender, appearance, and behavior of the character and see their adjustments in real-time.

The Morgan character asset is now available for you to download and import into your projects.

Behind The Heretic
Making of The Heretic: The VFX-driven character Morgan
Making of The Heretic: The VFX-driven character Morgan

In this post, we take a detailed look at the process behind the character Morgan, as well as share useful tips for anyone doing VFX in Unity.

Digital human
Making of The Heretic: Digital Human Character Gawain

We documented the creation process behind Gawain in fine detail, from concept art to the final version that you can see in The Heretic.

HDRP lighting features in The Heretic
HDRP lighting features in The Heretic

The project was lit entirely with real-time lights. In this video, we take a look at how these lights work and how they enhance the world of The Heretic.

Making of The Heretic: Environment Art
Making of The Heretic: Environment Art

The project was lit entirely with real-time lights. In this video, we take a look at how these lights work and how they enhance the world of The Heretic.

Meet the devs: The Heretic
Meet the devs: The Heretic

In this session, Robert Cupisz and Krasimir Nechevski from Unity’s award-winning Demo team discuss the journey the team went through to create the stunning visuals in The Heretic demo, and answer questions from the community.

Meet the Devs: Deep Dive into The Heretic Assets
Meet the Devs: Deep Dive into The Heretic Assets

Join Lasse Jon Pedersen and Adrian Lazar from our Demo team, and evangelist Ashley Alicea, as they discuss tips and tricks for getting started with the Digital Human and VFX character packages, and answer questions from the community

The technology behind “The Heretic”
The technology behind “The Heretic”

Watch programmers Robert Cupisz and Lasse Jon Fuglsang Pedersen Digital Dragons 2019 talk to learn more about how The Heretic was created, including a detailed breakdown of our Digital Human 4D data pipeline, and the creation process for the character Boston.

Previous demos
Book of the Dead
Book of the Dead

This is a first-person interactive demo created by the Unity Demo team and rendered in real-time. It showcases the capabilities of Unity for powering high-end visuals for game productions.


The Neon environment uses only Asset Store models. It was created with Unity 2017.1, the Post-Processing Stack v1, and Volumetric lighting packages.


Adam is a short film created by the Unity Demo team and rendered in real-time. It was built to showcase and test the graphical quality achievable with Unity in 2016.

About Unity’s Demo productions

About Unity’s Demo productions

Focusing on graphics, the Demo team explores what is possible with Unity and pushes its limits through autonomous creative projects. The team consists of experienced game professionals led by Creative Director Veselin Efremov, who writes and directs the demos and is responsible for their final look.

They are willing and able to take the risk – and absorb the pain – of basing entire productions at the bleeding edge of technological innovation.


Demo Team

Writer, Director
Veselin Efremov

Silvia Rasheva
Aleksander Karshikoff

Technical Director
Robert Cupisz

Senior Programmer
Torbjorn Laedre
Lasse Jon Fuglsang Pedersen

Art Director
Georgi Simeonov
Veselin Efremov

Animation Director, Tech Animation Lead
Krasimir Nechevski

Technical Animation
Christian Kardach

Lead 3D Artist
Plamen “Paco” Tamnev

Technical Art
Adrian Lazar
Robert Cupisz

Sound Supervisor
Aleksander Karshikoff

Systems Programmer
Malte Hildingsson

Junior Programmer
Dominykas Kiauleikis


Jake Fairbrother

Morgan VO
Charlie Sinhaseni

Additional Art

Music Composer
Fredrik Emilson

Nikolay Toshev

Environment Art
Treehouse Ninjas
Julien Heijmans

Cyril Jover

Additional VFX
Vlad Neykov

Additional Rigging
Frederik Bjerre-Hyldgaard

Additional Shading
Nicholas Brancaccio

3D and 4D scanning
Infinite Realities

4D data pre-processing

Motion Capture
Aneta Spasova

Additional Animation
Sticky Brainz
Hugo Garcia
Anders Brogaard Jepsen
Take One

Camera Motion Capture, Color Grading
Mihail Moskov

Additional Simulations
Zdravko Pavlov

Audio Production
Pole Position Production

Sound Designers
Eric Thorsell
Max Lachmann

Casting Agency
Side UK

Advanced Facial Rig

Scanned Environment Assets
courtesy of Quixel

Unity Technologies R&D

Sebastien Lagarde, Thomas Hourdel, Kuba Cupisz, Jesper Mortensen, Tim Cooper, Yibing Jiang, Marie Fétiveau, Jean Blouin, Julien Fryer, Paul Demeulenaere, Sean Thompson, Rune Stubbe, Julien Ignace, Francesco Cifariello Ciardi, Tobias Alexander Franke, Aras Pranckevičius

Special thanks to Natasha Tatarchuk

© 2020 Unity Technologies ApS

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