Posts Tagged 2D

Unity quick tips: Settings for Textures

Hey, I am working on a bigger post, but in the mean time, allow me to write this quick tip. In NGUI, when you don’t use an atlas for your sprites, you use the UITexture class. At first I was having so much trouble with it because the make pixel perfect button just didn’t seem to make my texture look pixel perfect. That was until I figured it out.

Making it work

When you select your texture file in Unity (the actual png file), the inspector will show you settings for it. By default, the type is set to ‘Texture’, which seems fine, but what you really want to be setting it at is ‘Advanced’. Than you will be able to change the next combobox. In 3D you want to have images (textures) that their width and height are powers of 2, example: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 512, 1024. When you do 2D (UI) that really never happens; never. That is why you will likely set the Non Power of 2 to ‘None’. That is the most important setting. Now when you will press Make Pixel Perfect button in NGUI, it will resize the texture to the correct size.

Figuring out compression

To be frank, I don’t totally understand the rest of the settings as they refer to 3D stuff, but by setting the Wrap Mode to ‘Clamp’, Filter Mode to ‘Trilinear’ and Aniso Level to ’4′ , your texture will look better at run time. Also, as you probably don’t need it, you should remove the check mark after Generate Mip Maps.

Well that is it for this quick tip, I hope it saved you some time when dealing with textures.



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Masking textures using shaders NGUI

If you follow this blog, you know that I am having some problems with Unity3d and NGUI. Mostly it’s because I was so familiar with Flash/AS3 that I am feeling kinda lost. But I am getting better at this 2D in a 3D world thing. One of the thing that I miss the most is masks. In Flash they are very easy to use and with them you can do a plethora of effects and animations. Now with bitmap based technologies, it is not such a simple task to implement a mask.


NGUI Panels have the option of being clipped panels, which means that only a rectangle of the panel will be shown. This is great for some cases, like when you need your masked region to be a rectangle, but for most masking cases it won’t work. Also, it doesn’t allow nested clipping which is a bummer.

Using another camera

Also, this guy created a shader that allows you to do similar masking as in Flash. It looks good, and it does the desired effect, but there is one drawback, for every mask, you need a new camera… That makes it very hard to manage in a large project or if you have multiple masks. I would use clipping more than this technique because it is easier to deal with.

Transparency shader

Now, this is the technique I devised that allows you to have multiple textures masked at the same time each with their own masks. This is really good if you load images (thumbnails) from a server and need them to be masked.

To do it we need to create a new shader. We start that by taking the Unlit – Transparent Colored shader and we will add two lines of code to it. First we will give it another texture for input. Secondly, we will take the output of the shader, use its rgb colors, but use the alpha of the new input texture we added.  Here is the code :

Shader "Unlit/Transparent Colored with mask" {
  Properties {
    _MainTex ("Base (RGB), Alpha (A)", 2D) = "white" {}
    _AlphaTex ("Yeahyeah", 2D) = "white" {}
    LOD 100
      "Queue" = "Transparent"
      "IgnoreProjector" = "True"
      "RenderType" = "Transparent"
    Pass {
      Cull Off
      Lighting Off
      ZWrite Off
      Fog { Mode Off }
      Offset -1, -1
      ColorMask RGB
      AlphaTest Greater .01
      Blend SrcAlpha OneMinusSrcAlpha
      ColorMaterial AmbientAndDiffuse
      SetTexture [_MainTex] {
        Combine Texture * Primary
      SetTexture [_AlphaTex] {
        Combine previous, texture

So that is the shader, but now we have to use it. This is actually what I found to be the most difficult part because there is a lot of documentation about how to make shaders, but not how to use them. So in the next chunk of code, we will create a texture in NGUI, give it a shader. After that we will feed the shader the textures it need to calculate the mask.

_newTexture = NGUITools.AddWidget<UITexture>(gameObject);
_newTexture.pivot = UIWidget.Pivot.TopLeft;
_newTexture.material = new Material(Shader.Find("Unlit/Transparent Colored with mask"));
_newTexture.mainTexture = myTexture2D;
//now we give the shader the textures
_newTexture.material.SetTexture(<wbr />"_MainTex", testRed);
_newTexture.material.SetTexture(<wbr />"_AlphaTex", testAlpha);

In this testRed is the image we want to mask and testAlpha is the alpha channel we want our previous image to use.

So here you have it, I will add pictures later to illustrate it better, but for now that’s how it is. Note that with this technique you can’t really animate or nest the masks, but you can have a lot of them at the same time.

UPDATE : If you are using a version of NGUI that is higher than 2.64, you should probably use this shader instead.

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Unity3D: the editor/code duality

So as most of you know I have been doing Flash for a long time and recently I have been doing Unity3d (well mostly NGUI you could say). It has been mostly fun and mostly rigid.


Yeah I would say rigid. Unity3d imposes you a way to work that is mostly to use the editor and not programming. They really really want you to use the editor. And coming from Flash this feels really weird. Probably because after 6 years of using Flash you kinda learn that the most you can do in code, the better and easier it is. Also, if you constantly switch between the editor and the code, it gets confusing, always switching paradigms.

GameObject for president!

GameObject is the root of everything you do in Unity, but one of the most annoying thing is that you can’t extend GameObject… Come on, let me do it, just the tip ;) . Here is what I would do if I could; I would make myself APIs for 2D. Moving something in x would be

gameObject.x = 30;

instead of

gameObject.tranform.localPosition = new Vector3d (30,  gameObject.tranform.localPosition.y, gameObject.tranform.localPosition.z);

Man have you seen the size of that thing just to move something in x???? Let me make it better for myself, I don’t care about 3D, I wouldn’t have a z value I would call it depth and it would make the code way more readable.

Encapsulation, what encapsulation

The other thing that bugs me is that to interact through code with a gameObject hierarchy you created, you basically have to know how it is built and you have to get your pieces using Find or GetComponent. Find statements are the ugliest ones as they use a string to get you what you want and is really error prone.

So you add your Script to your gameObject (proof that the editor is taking precedence over code) but to have interactions between multiple gameObject you have to do it through their scripts which you have to know their types, but have no idea if they exist and are linked or not. You’ll know at runtime when the error pops up.

Everything on a GameObject

Basically my point here is that you can’t do anything if it ain’t on a gameObject. Some core functions just won’t work if it ain’t. Like the WWW function(used to load stuff from the web) (really cryptic name if you ask me). It won’t work if it ain’t called from a MonoBehavior and MonoBehaviors can’t be instantiated, it needs to be added to a GameObject. So what about Models, code that only keep the states of an application or that loads data to hold it. Models have nothing to do with GameObjects, they should be allowed to use the WWW function. But no, if you want to, you need to create a GameObject, add to it a loading script, and wait for it to pass you back the data. Doesn’t that sound devious to you?

Let it define itself

I like Unity3d; it allows you to build for Android / iOs very easily, but the way it is so rigid really annoys me. I think that a project that is so young like Unity3D should not force the users down some path, it should let them find incredible and unthought ways of using it. I want to do 2D / UI with it and right now it is pretty annoying to do so.

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