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Showcasing Nyx Prime's PBR model[1]

Physically Based Rendering (PBR) is a computer graphics rendering technique that takes into account material properties of objects to mimic how light behaves in reality. A prominent example of this in WARFRAME is seen on metallic objects and surfaces which use PBR to mimic the harsh, reflective surfaces of metal when light bounces off them.

WARFRAME's Evolution Engine started using PBR in Update 15.0 (2014-10-24).[2]


Materials that have not gone under the PBR treatment will look more "dull" or "flat" compared to their PBR counterparts and will not be drastically affected by environmental lighting.[3][4]

As of Update 31.0 (2021-12-15), for rendering skies and atmospheres like in Landscapes, the engine uses a Physically Based Atmospheric Model to model how light scatters throughout the atmosphere.[5][6][7]


Showcasing PBR on Syandanas

Patch History[]

Update 32.2 (2022-11-30)

  • Updated the Zariman tileset’s PBR to add more roughness and color variation.

Update 31.6 (2022-06-09)

Lighting Changes:

We have made the following changes to lighting to improve how it interacts with details in open landscapes!

  • Separated sky lighting from the rest in lightmaps, resulting in improved lighting quality because samples coming from opposite directions will no longer cancel each other out.
    • Lighting at night will now pop much more! Prior to this change, everything would be tinted in dark blue. Now, each lighting source will have much more vibrance in contrast to the dark backdrop of night.
    • Lighting during the day will now have a lot more textural details especially when viewing things at distance. Prior to this change, details would tend to get lost at a distance and resemble more clay-like, without any grit or grain to it.
  • Added sun bounce to the enhanced graphics engine.
  • Enhanced graphics engine also offers more detail at a distance.

Update 31.5 (2022-04-27)

  • Converted the materials on Moas to PBR.
  • Converted certain attachments on Grineer enemies to PBR.

Update 31.1 (2022-02-09)

  • Converted the following weapons when used by enemies to PBR:
    • Glaxion
    • Jat Kittag
    • Vulkar
    • Supra

Hotfix 29.0.8 (2020-09-10)

  • Fixed Vauban’s coattails missing the PBR treatment. He should match/blend much better now! As reported here!

Hotfix 25.7.2 (2019-08-30)

  • Fixed weapon emissive colors to be crushed to near black if the weapon had PBR upgrades.

Update 25.7 (2019-08-29)

  • Adjusted some of the PBR materials on Mars, Jupiter, and Venus in the Navigation skybox.
  • Converted materials on some of the Grineer Forest trees to PBR.
  • Converted materials to PBR on the following weapons:
    • Grakata
    • Drakgoon
    • Ignis
    • Miter
    • Sobek
    • Vulkar
    • Karak
    • Grinlock
    • Furax
    • Hind
  • Converted materials to PBR on the following Sentinels (and Skins):
    • Wyrm
    • Para Carrier Skin
    • Shade
    • Shade Sprite Skin
    • Djinn
    • Dethcube
    • Dethcube Forest-Camo Skin
    • Dethcube Carabus Skin
  • Converted materials to PBR on the following Attachments / Items:
    • Capsule Sentinel Tail
    • Dome Sentinel Wings
    • Diamond Sentinel Wings
    • Hunhow Sentinel Mask
    • Mandible Sentinel Mask
    • Thorax Sentinel Tail
    • Chrysalis Sentinel Wings
    • Jet Sentinel Wings
    • Kubrow Sentinel Wings
    • Lotus Sentinel Mask
    • Mech Head Sentinel Mask
    • Para Sentinel Mask, Tail, and Wings
    • Caggro Sugatra
    • Braton Forest-Camo Skin
    • Dragon Nikana Sheath
    • Solaris Datamass
    • Animo Nav Beacon

Update 24.7 (2019-04-10)

  • Over 20 Melee and Primary weapons/Skins have received the PBR treatment! From Candy Cane Scythe to Tigris, our art team has been updating our back catalog!

Update 24.6 (2019-04-04)

  • Shock-Camo Skins have received a visual PBR upgrade!
  • Phased Vasto/Akvasto and Rixty Aklato Skins have received a visual PBR upgrade!

Update 24.4 (2019-03-08)

  • Updated Jackal's materials to PBR.

Update 24.0 (2018-11-08)

  • Numerous Bells, Lanterns, and Nature Decorations in the Dojo have received the PBR treatment!

Hotfix 22.20.5 (2018-05-24)

  • Fixed the new Ceramic Dagger PBR material not applying custom Energy color.

Hotfix 22.20.2 (2018-05-17)

  • Fixed the Tigris no longer having its PBR textures.
  • Fixed numerous of the newly PBR’d weapons not applying custom Energy color.

Update 22.20 (2018-05-17)

  • Numerous weapons have received the PBR treatment:
    • Flux Rifle (original material and the Shock Camo Skin)
    • Lanka (original material and the Shock Camo Skin)
    • Gram
    • Kraken
    • Marelok
    • Grinlok
    • Kronen
    • Karak
    • Twin Gremlins
    • Brakk
    • Seer - has also receive a new scope FX!

Update 22.0 (2017-10-12)

  • Updated the Shield Lancer’s shield to PBR.

Update 21.7 (2017-09-09)

  • Excalibur Proto and Nyx Nemesis Skins have received the PBR treatment!

Update 21.5 (2016-08-16)

  • Hydroid has received the PBR treatment!

Hotfix 21.0.5 (2017-07-06)

  • Optimized a number of PBR textures to improve frame-rate for remastered tilesets on slower PCs.

Update 21.0 (2017-06-29) Return to Warframe’s first planet with a completely new look. Earth Remastered offers improved volumetric lighting, a conversion to PBR materials, and a new vegetation system, which create a mood and atmosphere far more advanced than the original January 2014 update did.

The new lush forests of Earth are yours to explore. This Update turns the formerly good-looking planet into a stunningly lush, beautifully lit, alive, organically structured environment.

  • Darvo’s got a new groove with his newly PBR’ed outfit!
  • Fixed PBR conversion issues in the Grineer Galleon tileset.

Hotfix 20.6.4 (2017-05-31)

  • Oberon’s Immortal skin has received the PBR treatment! This fixes issues with the Immortal Skin texture introduced this week as well as Oberon Prime’s shoulders appearing very plain without his Prime Armor attachments.

Update 20.2 (2017-04-12)

  • The Furis has received an updated look and given the PBR treatment!

Update 20.0 (2017-03-24)

  • The Latron, Sicarus, and Hikou have all received PBR treatment.
  • The Furis and Afuris have received the PBR treatment!
  • Added PBR touches to a number of Corpus art objects.
  • Added PBR touches to a number of Dojo art objects.
  • Added PBR touches to numerous Infested Hive art objects.
  • Grineer Helmets have been given the PBR treatment to better match their bodies!

Hotfix 19.7.1 (2017-01-19)

  • Fixed some broken PBR textures in Vor’s Prize.

Update 19.4.2 (2016-12-20)

  • Added various PBR updates.
  • Fixed the PBR on Trinity Prime’s body to better match her helmet and extras.

Update 19.0 (2016-11-11)

  • The Grineer Shipyard tileset has received a visual update! Objects are shinier and rocks are now PBR- whoa!

Update: The Index Preview (2016-10-20)

  • The Embolist has received the PBR treatment!

Update: The Silver Grove (2016-08-19)

  • The Jat Kittag has received the PBR treatment!

Update: Specters of the Rail 2 (2016-08-03)

  • Lex Prime, Paris Prime, Dakra Prime, Sicarus Prime, and Ankyros Prime have received the PBR treatment!

Update: Specters of the Rail 1 (2016-07-28)

  • Glaive Prime and Bo Prime have received the PBR treatment!

Hotfix: Specters of the Rail 0.13 (2016-07-26)

  • The Vectis has received the PBR treatment!

Update: Specters of the Rail 0.0 (2016-07-08)

  • Added a PBR pass on materials for a variety of older Grineer and Infested levels.

Hotfix 18.10.5 (2016-05-04)

  • Rhino Prime’s Iron Skin has received the PBR treatment! This also allows Iron Skin to reflect your chosen energy color. (Default is still gold!)

Update 18.10 (2016-04-29)

  • PBR Conversion - we've added PBR Upgrades on Nyx Prime, Ember Prime, Rhino Prime, and Excalibur Prime!

Update 18.5 (2016-03-04)

Lighting Improvements

Firstly, this is a sweeping change across the entire game! Please be conscious that some areas may appear overly or underlit. We will work to fix up any rough looking spots - feel free to send screenshots are way in bug threads throughout the appropriate subforums.

With Inaros, the sands of old have been swept away from U18 Warframe leaving behind a newer, more vibrant U18.5 Warframe. In many respects, 18.5 is a remastered, more HD version of Warframe with months of technical graphical improvements and artistic relighting of many parts of the game (and more to come in subsequent updates). On top of these changes are across the board rendering performance improvements we hope you'll enjoy, keep in mind that your particular hardware may benefit more and benefit less depending on your GPU, resolution and preferred graphics settings.

  • Lighting textures have been reengineered to reduce square compression artifacts and ugly color banding. You may have seen me point this out on past Devstreams.
  • All PBR materials have been recompressed with a more accurate format, new and subtle details are visible on your PBR'd Warframes, gear and in the environment.
  • Reflection Probes have been built through many areas of the game, grounding PBR materials with more accurate lighting.
  • Character and weapon lighting includes more accurate 'dual specular' lighting which means metallic surfaces are more realistic and fancy looking.
  • HDR rendering has been switched to a compact 32bit format which has improved HDR rendering performance for a wide range of GPUs.
  • Tonemapping has been adjusted to use more of the range of lighting content in the game, images have more detail, particularly richer in the darks.
  • Motion Blur and Depth of Field have been re-engineered to run faster and look better, fast moving and defocused objects no longer appear 'cut out' on their silhouettes.
  • Draw order optimizations have been applied to every object in the game, which improves overall performance, particularly in worst-case scenarios.
  • Atmospheric fog effects are now rendering in a separate lighting pass, allowing richer particle effects at distance without being 'erased' by atmosphere.
  • Particle lighting has been improved to more accurately represent the local lighting environment.
  • Wind force modelling on many particle systems increase realism as various environmental particles now respond to explosive forces and Warframe powers – you've also probably seen us showcase this in our most recent Devstream.
  • Bloom system has been softened and made more seated in the scene. The burnt-out look is replaced with a more subtle and gentle sci-fi glow.
  • Physics collision, performance and stability have all been improved, as a long-awaited upgrade of Warframe PhysX libraries has been completed.
General Changes
  • The Quanta, Mutalist Quanta, and Volt have all been given a PBR update.
  • Various Dojo elements, Darvo’s banner, and ice elemental hazards have been given a PBR update.
  • Multiple Grineer and Corpus facilities and instruments have been given a PBR update.

Hotfix 18.4.9 (2016-02-08)

  • We now turn Trilinear Filtering on by default for a number of PBR floor textures to improve visuals on min-spec machines.

Update 18.1 (2015-12-16)

  • Reaper Prime has been given a PBR update!

Update 18.0 (2015-12-03)

  • Mag Prime and Volt have been given a fresh PBR upgrade!
  • Many Orokin items and tilesets have received a PBR upgrade!
  • Hikou Prime has been given a PBR Upgrade!
  • The Braton Prime has been given a PBR Upgrade!
  • Fixed Frost Prime's PBR visuals appearing to be low quality compared to other textures as per: this thread

Update 17.9.1 (2015-10-29)

  • Frost and Frost Prime have been given the PBR treatment, in addition to some visual texture adjustments.

Hotfix 17.5.4 (2015-10-02)

  • Various lighting tweaks and polish passes on PBR Void.

Update 17.5 (2015-10-01)

  • Many Corpus environments, objects and materials have been given the PBR treatment!
  • Many Orokin environments, objects and materials have been given the PBR treatment!
  • The Angstrum has received the PBR treatment!
  • Noru Prime Syandana has been given the PBR treatment and has more customizability.

Hotfix 17.0.3 (2015-08-04)

Loki PBR Changes:

Loki, Loki Prime and all of Loki’s alternate helmets have received a PBR upgrade. This visual overhaul is the first major step in bringing older Warframes up to date with new PBR textures and does come with a few additional features we hope to roll out to other Warframes over time. Let us know what you think of the changes!

  • Loki Prime’s gold trim is now tintable.

Hotfix 17.0.1 (2015-07-31)

  • Made a visual tweak to the blue tint appearing on Corpus weapons that have been PBR upgraded.
  • Corpus engines across various tilesets have been given a PBR update.

Update 17.0 (2015-07-31)

  • The Lotus (in Transmissions) has been given the PBR treatment.
  • Strun, Machete, Cleaver has been given the PBR treatment.
  • Credit drops have been given the PBR treatment.
  • Some elements of the Dojo have been given the PBR treatment.
  • The Braton (and MK-1 Variant) has been given the PBR treatment.
  • The Fang Prime has been given the PBR treatment.

Update 16.7 (2015-06-04)

  • Many Grineer and Corpus environmental props have received PBR updates!
  • The Strun has received a PBR update!

Hotfix 16.5.3 (2015-05-13)

  • PBR material has been added to the Amprex!

Update 16.5 (2015-05-12)

  • Grakata has been given the PBR treatment!

Update 16.4 (2015-04-23)

  • Made various PBR updates to Grineer structures.

Hotfix 16.2.2 (2015-04-07)

  • Cernos has been given the PBR treatment!

Hotfix 16.1.2 (2015-03-25)

  • Updated Breeding Grounds trophies to use PBR.

Hotfix 16.0.4 (2015-03-23)

  • Made various environmental PBR updates to the Orokin Void and Tenno Dojo.

Hotfix 16.0.2 (2015-03-21)

  • Updated various materials to PBR quality.

Update 16.0 (2015-03-19)

  • Excalibur has been given a visual update via PBR!
  • Various weapons have been given the PBR treatment!

Update 15.13 (2015-02-05)

  • General PBR Updates: PBR graphical updates have been slow and steady these past few months. From weapons to Warframes and environmental textures we’ve put a lot of work into making every part of Warframe that much more visually stunning -- and we have no plans of stopping. More PBR updates will continue over the following months, so if your Orthos or Boltor Prime happens to be looking a bit sleeker it’s not just you.

Update 15.9 (2015-01-08)

  • Many Dojo trophies have received PBR upgrades!

Update 15.1 (2014-11-05)

  • Fixed PBR error that caused black textures to appear on Liset and star map.

Hotfix 15.0.9 (2014-10-30)

  • Fixed issues with some PBR materials having incorrect opacity/alpha write values which resulted in character transmissions not looking correct.

Update 15.0 (2014-10-24)

  • (Undocumented) Introduced.


  1. Ford, Rebecca (2016, April 27). PBR Nyx Prime #Warframe .. yes please!. Accessed 2022-03-25. Archived from the original on 2022-03-25.
  2. PlayWarframe [PlayWarframe] (2014, October 3). Warframe | Devstream 38: Past Topics Revisited. YouTube. Accessed 2022-03-24. Archived from the original on 2021-01-12. Timestamp 27:55 is the start of PBR conversation.
  3. Icebreccer (2020, September 6). Vauban still missing PBR treatment for his buttflaps and alt helmets. Accessed 2022-03-25. Archived from the original on 2022-03-25. Example images of PBR and non-PBR material on the same character model.
  4. ManufacturerNew8835 (2022, March 24). Same place 2017/2022. Accessed 2022-03-26. Archived from the original on 2022-03-26. Another example of PBR as seen in the rocks and metal structures.
  5. Sinclair, Steve (2018, April 5). Graphics team is upgrading Warframe's sky/atmosphere from 'Steve's BS hacks' to 'PBR Bruneton model'. Very nice!. Accessed 2022-03-30. Archived from the original on 2022-03-30. 'PBR Bruneton model' refers to a Physically Based Atmospheric Model by Eric Bruneton.
  6. Bruneton, Eric (2017). Precomputed Atmospheric Scattering: a New Implementation. Accessed 2022-03-30. Archived from the original on 2022-03-30.
  7. Eric Bruneton, Fabrice Neyret. Precomputed Atmospheric Scattering. Computer Graphics Forum, Wiley, 2008, Special Issue: Proceedings of the 19th Eurographics Symposium on Rendering 2008, 27 (4), pp.1079-1086. ⟨10.1111/j.1467-8659.2008.01245.x⟩. ⟨inria-00288758⟩

Further Reading[]