Posts Tagged Clipping

Updated version of the Masking shader for NGUI

I did a shader before to mask a texture so that it doesn’t have to be rectangular. Turns out I was using an old version of NGUI, so when I updated (to version 2.65) my previous shader didn’t work anymore. Also Nicki Thomas Hansen made another shader so that you could use the masked texture inside a clipped panel. In doing so he also explained what NGUI was doing and how it was selecting the correct shader. So, based on his AlphaClip, I remade my shader so that it works on the new version of NGUI. Here is the code for it:

Shader "Unlit/Transparent Colored Masked"
		_MainTex ("Base (RGB), Alpha (A)", 2D) = "white" {}
		_AlphaTex ("MaskTexture", 2D) = "white" {}
		LOD 100
			"Queue" = "Transparent"
			"IgnoreProjector" = "True"
			"RenderType" = "Transparent"
		Cull Off
		Lighting Off
		ZWrite Off
		Fog { Mode Off }
		Offset -1, -1
		Blend SrcAlpha OneMinusSrcAlpha
				#pragma vertex vertexProgram
				#pragma fragment fragmentProgram
				#include "UnityCG.cginc"
				struct appdata_t
					float4 vertex : POSITION;
					float2 textureCoordinate : TEXCOORD0;
					fixed4 color : COLOR;
				struct vertexToFragment
					float4 vertex : SV_POSITION;
					half2 textureCoordinate : TEXCOORD0;
					fixed4 color : COLOR;
				sampler2D _MainTex;
				float4 _MainTex_ST;
				sampler2D _AlphaTex;
				vertexToFragment vertexProgram (appdata_t vertexData)
					vertexToFragment output;
					output.vertex = mul(UNITY_MATRIX_MVP, vertexData.vertex);
					output.textureCoordinate = TRANSFORM_TEX(vertexData.textureCoordinate, _MainTex);
					output.color = vertexData.color;
					return output;
				fixed4 fragmentProgram (vertexToFragment input) : COLOR
					fixed4 computedColor = tex2D(_MainTex, input.textureCoordinate) * input.color;
					fixed4 alphaGuide = tex2D(_AlphaTex, input.textureCoordinate);
					if (alphaGuide.a < computedColor.a) computedColor.a = alphaGuide.a;
					return computedColor;

Funny how writing my previous post solved my future problem by someone else writing an answer post.
I will update the previous post so that it points to this post also.

UPDATE: I renamed all the variables to something readable, I thought it might be useful to understand what it is doing.

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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&lt;UITexture&gt;(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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