Skip to main content

Unity Gizmos - What They Are & Why They're Useful

 Unity Gizmos

Many Unity developers when they are starting out or for that matter even after they are proficient in Unity, they may never come across / never use it.
Gizmos are really powerful debugging tools that are provided in Unity and they run in the scene view of the editor. Iteration times (implementing something & testing ) can really be improved a lot because you able to interact with the scene in way that is custom fit to your needs and requirements.
I usually use Gizmos to make a prototype before I make a prototype, which I'm sure a lot of you do.
As Gizmos runs in the editor scene view and because it comes featured with a lot of debugging tools right out of the box, I don't have to implement my own.
To make custom Gizmos you have to write it in the 'OnDrawGizmos' or 'OnDrawGizmosSelected' functions. These are just like the Start() & Update() functions that are there.
The OnDrawGizmos function is called every frame in the editor whereas the OnDrawGizmosSelected function is called only when the specified component is selected in the scene view.
procedural mesh view with unity gizmos
Vertices & Edges Shown Of A Procedural Mesh
Now you might be able to understand why this is really useful when you want to visualize whats happening in your code without taking the time to code it within the game itself.
Almost all of the built-in components in Unity have their own custom Gizmos that is shown in the editor.
Like the AudioSource component with it's audio range sphere around it or the spotlight that shows the direction and radius of the light.
Spotlight Gizmo In Unity
The most common parts of the Gizmos API that you will end up using are probably these 4:
  • DrawLine :- Draws a line between two Vector3s.
  • DrawRay :- Draws a ray from a point and extends out in a particular direction.
  • DrawCube :- Draws a cube at specified point with certain dimensions.
  • DrawSphere :- Draws a sphere at certain point with a specified radius.
  • Color :- Sets the colour that the rest of the following Gizmos will use. 
I hope you have been introduced to world of easy debugging and faster iteration times.😀.
Support Bitshift Programmer by leaving a like on Bitshift Programmer Facebook Page and be updated as soon as there is a new blog post.
If you have any questions that you might have about shaders or unity development in general don't be shy and leave a message on my facebook page or down in the comments.

Comments

Assets Worth Checking Out

POPULAR POSTS

How To Animate A Fish Swimming With Shaders

Animate Fish Swimming With Shaders We are going to make swimming animation by using only shader code.
By the time we are done, it's going to look like this.
You will probably need the fish model used in this tutorial, that can be found HERE. Can use your own model but the shader code might have to be modified accordingly because of the orientation of the model that you might be using ( issues with whether the X axis & Z axis is flipped ).
The shader used way out performs a similar scene with skeletal animations applied on the fish models.
On a previous benchmark I did comparing the shader animation with the skeletal animation there was a difference of 28 FPS( on average ) with 50 fish.
The shader we are going to make is really powerful and flexible and don't think that it's limited to making fishes swim😀.


So this mesh oriented like this when imported into unity and this is important to understand because this means that the model's vertices have to be moved along the X-…

Pixelation Shader - Unity Shader

Pixelation Shader This is the correct way (one of many) of showing pixelation as a post-processing effect. This effect will work in any aspect ratio without any pixel size scaling issues as well as it is very minimal in terms of coding it up.

In order to get this to work 2 components have to be set up:
1) The pixelation image effect
2) The script - which will be attached to the camera

So let's get started by creating a new image effect shader.
We will take a look at our Shaderlab properties :
_MainTex("Texture", 2D) = "white" {} That's it, Everything else will be private and not shown in the editor.
Now we will see what are defined along with the _MainTex but are private.
sampler2D _MainTex; int _PixelDensity; float2 _AspectRatioMultiplier; We will pass _PixelDensity & _AspectRatioMultiplier values from the script.
As this is an image effect there is no need to play around with the vertex shader.
Let's take a look at our fragment shader:
fixed4 frag (…

Curved Surface Shader [ Unity Implementation ]

Curved Surface Shader This is the shader that we will be having at the end of this tutorial.
 The curved surface shader is capable of achieving really varied visual effects from showing space-time curve due to gravity to a generic curved world shader that is seen in endless runners like Subway Surfers.
The concepts that you learn here can open you up to a new way of looking at shaders and if you didn't think they were the coolest thing ever already, hopefully let this be the turning point.😝.

Both the examples show above use the same exact material is just that different values have been passed to the shader.
Start by creating a new unlit shader in Unity and we will work our way from there.
First we define what the properties are:
_MainTex("Texture", 2D) = "white" {} _BendAmount("Bend Amount", Vector) = (1,1,1,1) _BendOrigin("Bend Origin", Vector) = (0,0,0,0) _BendFallOff("Bend Falloff", float) = 1.0 _BendFallOffStr("Falloff s…

Toon Liquid Shader - Unity Shader

Toon Liquid Shader This is how the shader will end up looking :
This shader is pretty neat and somewhat easy to implement as well as to understand. Since we will be adding some basic physics to the toon water as it is moved about we will have to support that in the vertex shader as well.
So let's start by looking at the properties :
Properties { _Colour ("Colour", Color) = (1,1,1,1) _FillAmount ("Fill Amount", Range(-10,10)) = 0.0 [HideInInspector] _WobbleX ("WobbleX", Range(-1,1)) = 0.0 [HideInInspector] _WobbleZ ("WobbleZ", Range(-1,1)) = 0.0 _TopColor ("Top Color", Color) = (1,1,1,1) _FoamColor ("Foam Line Color", Color) = (1,1,1,1) _Rim ("Foam Line Width", Range(0,0.1)) = 0.0 _RimColor ("Rim Color", Color) = (1,1,1,1) _RimPower ("Rim Power", Range(0,10)) = 0.0 } Just the usual stuff that we are used to. The only thing that may stand out is the [HideInInspector] tag, This works j…

Access Reflection Probe Data For Custom Shaders

The Unity shader documentation regarding reflection probes is pretty minimal and not at all comprehensive.
This short tutorial is intended to bring reflection probe functionalities to the forefront your future shader writing endevors which is a fancy way of saying "Look at this cool stuff and go and use it somewhere" 😏
Here we will try just the bare minimum of making a shader that reflects the cubemap data from reflection probe and displays it on the object.

These reflection probes are basically objects that store a complete image of the environment surrounding it into a cubemap which then can be read by shaders to create various effects.
More information on how reflection probes work in Unity can be found here :
Using Reflection Probes In Unity

I am not going over how to set up Reflection Probes here only how to access them inside our custom shaders.
So this is what we will be making:
The reflection probe takes in the cubemap only if it is within it's range otherwise i…