Unity 4.3 Essential Training
Illustration by Mark Todd

Layering sprites and setting the sorting order


Unity 4.3 Essential Training

with Adam Crespi

Video: Layering sprites and setting the sorting order

Sprites have their own layering system, beyond the Now I'll add on a cars one and cars two layer.
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  1. 2m 57s
    1. Welcome
    2. What you should know before watching this course
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 24s
  2. 21m 21s
    1. Designing the game
      4m 39s
    2. Setting the project
      4m 9s
    3. Exploring the Hierarchy, Scene, and Inspector windows
      5m 45s
    4. Creating and transforming objects
      6m 48s
  3. 21m 34s
    1. Organizing the Assets window
      2m 55s
    2. Exporting objects from 3D modeling programs
      8m 33s
    3. Importing and configuring models and textures
      4m 54s
    4. Setting properties for models and textures in the Inspector
      5m 12s
  4. 29m 8s
    1. Introducing the game environment
      4m 27s
    2. Placing the player controller
      4m 29s
    3. Publishing project settings
      5m 32s
    4. Adding sky and fog
      8m 17s
    5. Fine-tuning the First Person Controller
      6m 23s
  5. 57m 25s
    1. Creating the terrain geometry
      3m 29s
    2. Forming the topography
      9m 54s
    3. Painting the terrain textures
      7m 9s
    4. Painting trees and forests
      10m 55s
    5. Painting grass, shrubs, and 3D geometry
      9m 38s
    6. Painting detail meshes
      8m 46s
    7. Adjusting terrain settings
      7m 34s
  6. 39m 45s
    1. Creating materials and assigning shaders
      8m 56s
    2. Handling multiple materials
      7m 13s
    3. Adding textures to a material
      3m 57s
    4. Manipulating textures
      5m 20s
    5. Adding reflections to materials
      8m 1s
    6. Creating lit materials
      6m 18s
  7. 47m 12s
    1. Creating GameObjects
      5m 2s
    2. Understanding components
      6m 15s
    3. Using colliders for barriers
      6m 22s
    4. Using colliders for triggers
      8m 1s
    5. Exploring physics
      8m 22s
    6. Working with Physic materials
      5m 3s
    7. Adding joints to rigid bodies
      8m 7s
  8. 20m 33s
    1. Setting up prefabs for animation and batching
      5m 8s
    2. Animating an object
      6m 32s
    3. Adjusting timing in an animation
      3m 50s
    4. Animating transparency and lights
      5m 3s
  9. 11m 58s
    1. Importing skinned meshes
      4m 51s
    2. Separating animations into clips and states
      3m 14s
    3. Creating transitions between states
      3m 53s
  10. 30m 22s
    1. Customizing ambient light
      2m 59s
    2. Creating the sun using a directional light
      5m 49s
    3. Using layers and tags for lighting
      3m 32s
    4. Adding spot and point lights
      4m 25s
    5. Using point lights for fill
      4m 30s
    6. Adding and fine-tuning shadows
      5m 10s
    7. Creating lighting effects with cookies
      3m 57s
  11. 9m 15s
    1. Adding scripts to GameObjects
      2m 42s
    2. Using correct script syntax
      6m 33s
  12. 23m 7s
    1. Setting up a 2D project
      3m 13s
    2. Importing sprites
      2m 30s
    3. Slicing in the Sprite Editor
      3m 6s
    4. Layering sprites and setting the sorting order
      5m 12s
    5. Creating 2D colliders
      3m 12s
    6. Adding 2D physics
      2m 25s
    7. Animating 2D elements
      3m 29s
  13. 30m 25s
    1. Creating light shafts and sunbeams
      5m 20s
    2. Using ambient occlusion to add gravity
      4m 37s
    3. Adding depth of field
      8m 40s
    4. Applying motion blur
      5m 46s
    5. Tuning color for mood
      6m 2s
  14. 38m 16s
    1. Exploring water effects
      7m 36s
    2. Working with wind zones
      2m 8s
    3. Using an audio source
      4m 3s
    4. Creating a sound zone
      5m 59s
    5. Triggering audio
      3m 37s
    6. Adding audio effects
      3m 13s
    7. Creating particle systems
      2m 26s
    8. Adjusting particle systems
      9m 14s
  15. 25m 23s
    1. Setting up occlusion culling
      5m 52s
    2. Enabling batching to reduce draw calls
      3m 28s
    3. Testing in the game window using statistics
      4m 27s
    4. Building a development build and debugging
      6m 0s
    5. Building the executable
      5m 36s
  16. 49s
    1. Next steps

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Watch the Online Video Course Unity 4.3 Essential Training
6h 49m Beginner Mar 10, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Interested in game making? Start in Unity—a game engine for mobile and desktop games and real-time simulations. Author Adam Crespi shows techniques used in game development with Unity and introduces the basics of scripting and game functionality. First, learn how to import models and textures, organize your project and hierarchies, and add terrain, water, and foliage. Next, Adam explores how to use lighting to bring the game to life, and add rendering, particles, and interactivity. The end result is a sample game with a lush environment, fully animated characters, and some basic interactive gameplay.

Topics include:
  • Designing the game
  • Creating and transforming objects
  • Importing and configuring models and textures
  • Setting properties in the Inspector
  • Creating the terrain geometry
  • Building materials and adding shaders
  • Creating GameObjects
  • Exploring physics
  • Animating objects
  • Lighting the scene
  • Creating 2D game elements
  • Adding special effects
3D + Animation Developer
Unity 3D Unity
Adam Crespi

Layering sprites and setting the sorting order

Sprites have their own layering system, beyond the normal Unity layer system, and it allows us to stack flat sprites exactly on top of each other, but determine who renders, or who displays, first. What I'll do is to select my background and then start to get in some sorting layers for these sprites, so I can layer the cars over the background and create some parallax if needed. I'll pick that cars background texture. And, here in the inspector, we've got it all set. It's at 512 pixels per unit, true color and it's all sliced well as a single sprite with a pivot at the bottom.

I'll go into the 2D view in my scene. Pan down until I can find a blank space and drag this background object in. When I'm all done with the painting I'll nest all the elements under a game object and then move it around in the scene as I need. I'll zoom in on this object and what we can see here when we bring it in is that it creates a prefab just like any other asset. It's got a transform with no Z at the moment. The scale is 1 and it's got a new sprite render component. This bright render component has its own kind of material, and a color that we can use to tint that sprite if we need.

It also looks to that char's background sprite that I've defined, and there's a sorting layer and order to that layer. What I'll do first then is to drop down under default in the sorting layer and Add Sorting Layer. In the sorting layers, I can add by clicking the plus under default, and I'll name this new layer, background. Now I'll add on a cars one and cars two layer. These load from the top down, so if I put something on the background and then something else on cars one, cars one will be in front of it. You can drag these around if you need by grabbing the double bars next to the layer name and simply pulling it.

I'll leave these alone background cars 1 and cars 2 and with any sorting layer e actually have a sorting order of we need. I'll select this background object and change its sorting layer to background. Within that layer if you got multiple objects you can number them. This is like a ranging objects in Adobe Illustrator if you're familiar with that workflow or within one layer each object non destructively can lay over the ones in front and in back of it. And that way you can stack things correctly and define exactly what is showing first in your layers.

Now I'll get my cars in. In the cars here, at the bottom, Cars2D_4 is my giant background cars. This one is going to be more or less a static, and I'will put it in there by dragging it into the scene. In the sorting layers then, I'll put this on Cars 1 and it appears over the background. Now I'll snap it in place. There's a couple of ways to do this with a sprite. First, I can pick the background and put it maybe at a more round coordinate, how about negative 56? I'll also put the Y at 17. This way it's just easy to type in. The pivot is on the bottom and that's what that position refers to. Now when I pick this cars one object here, and put its pivot in the same place, they'll match exactly. With the pivot of cars one down at negative 56 and 17, those cars are exactly stuck to the bottom over that sprite. I'm ready to get my other cars in. I'll pick cars 2D_0 and drag it into the scene as well. I'll put this sorting layer on layer two and then I'll pull in some other cars. Now I've got all of my cars in. These top four clusters are on cars two and I can set the order in the layer. I'll start out by making this white car number one. I'll let the green be zero. This bottom green will come in as two and so on. Now that I've sorted all of them, put them on their layers and put in the sorting order within that layer, those cars will all draw in the right order and not overlap each other.

When I take these cars and slide them over we can see that the cars cleanly move over because they're at the higher number in the layer. Now I'll get my cars aligned. What I'll do then is to zoom in. What I would like to have happened is that the white car accelerates to bump into the green car which then will turn on its physics and fall down on to the others. I'll pick this white car and hold V for snap. What we get then is a registration of the snap at whatever the closest corner is on that sprite. I'll snap it over to the other car and then pull it back. Holding Shift constrains that motion. Now these two cars are snapped together, and I'll do the same with the next row down. Holding V for snap, snapping them together, and then pulling back while holding Shift. My painting is ready to bring to life. I've established my sorting order and layers. And this way I get parallax if needed. Or at least the idea of these flat objects passing in front and behind each other. Like all things in unity, it's important to stay organized. So create layers and name them. And precisely figure out your order in your layer. This way you can avoid any Z fighting. Or places where the objects don't know who's on top, and each one competes to draw first.

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