Documentation last updated for Spine-Unity for Spine 3.6.x If this documentation contains mistakes or doesn't cover some questions, please feel free to open an issue or post in the official Spine-Unity forums.

SkeletonRenderSeparator

a Spine-Unity Rendering Module (Modules\SkeletonRenderSeparator)

Normally, Spine components that render a skeleton will use a single renderer. It uses one renderer to render the whole mesh for its skeleton. This setup unfortunately prevents you from inserting/sandwiching other UnityEngine.Renderers (SpriteRenderer, MeshRenderer, LineRenderer, ParticleSystem, etc...) between its parts arbitrarily.

The SkeletonRenderSeparator component allows you to split your SkeletonRenderer or SkeletonAnimation render into two or more MeshRenderers instead of only one.

This means you can individually set their sorting layers and sorting order, allowing you to render things in between parts of your skeleton. This can be particles, SpriteRenderers, parts of your level, other skeletons, anything that uses a UnityEngine.Renderer that you can sort.

This can be useful for dynamically sorted special effects, if you need your character to ride a vehicle, or if just want them to hug a tree.

You can find a sample scene in the unitypackage: Spine Examples/Other Examples/SkeletonRenderSeparator.unity

How to Use

Step 0

Make sure you know your Skeleton's draw order. Find out which slot you want use to separate your Skeleton's render into parts. For convenience, label this slot clearly before exporting your Skeleton.

"Fig 1. Steps 1 to 3" Fig 1. Steps 1 to 3

Step 1: Add the SkeletonRenderSeparator component

Select your Spine GameObject.
Right-click on your SkeletonAnimation or SkeletonRenderer in the inspector.
Choose "Add Skeleton Render Separator". This will add the SkeletonRenderSeparator component to the same GameObject.

Step 2: Assign Separators

The inspector will warn you if you have no separators. Set the separator slots by choosing the correct slot(s) under "Separator Slot Names". The dropdown will show the list of slots in your Skeleton.

  • This field actually directly manipulates the field serialized in your SkeletonRenderer/SkeletonAnimation.

Step 3: Make sure you have enough Parts Renderers

The inspector will warn you if you don't have enough renderers to render the parts.
Click on the "Add the missing renderers (n)" button if this is the case. This will create GameObjects with SkeletonPartsRenderers on them, and add them to SkeletonRenderSeparator's partsRenderers list.

Note: The SkeletonRenderSeparator only detects the currently required number of parts renderers. If at any point at runtime during animations, the render requires more because you changed the draw order, you may need to add one or two extra manually by clicking on Add Parts Renderer.

Step 4: Set Sorting Layers and Orders

Each of these SkeletonPartsRenderers are now in their own GameObject. Each of them have their own sorting layer and order via their own MeshRenderers. Select them in the hierarchy and set their properties in the inspector.

Manipulation at runtime

Enabling and Disabling

By default, SkeletonRenderSeparator will take over SkeletonRenderer's mesh rendering task. Likewise, if you disable SkeletonRenderSeparator, SkeletonRenderer will take over rendering again.

In code, you can enable and disable this through:

skeletonRenderSeparator.enabled = true; // separation is enabled.
skeletonRenderSeparator.enabled = false; // separation is disabled.

Changing the separation point

The point of separation is not stored in SkeletonRenderSeparator.
It is defined by the separator slots in SkeletonRenderer/SkeletonAnimation.
If you want to manipulate this at runtime, you can call Add, Remove or Clear on SkeletonRenderer's SeparatorSlots List.

Spine.Slot mySlot = skeletonAnimation.Skeleton.FindSlot("MY SPECIAL SLOT");
skeletonAnimation.SeparatorSlots.Clear();
skeletonAnimation.SeparatorSlots.Add(mySlot);

Adding a SkeletonRenderSeparator at runtime

You can use the SkeletonRenderSeparator.AddToSkeletonRenderer static method to add and initialize your SkeletonRenderSeparator.

SkeletonAnimation skeletonAnimation = GetComponent<SkeletonAnimation>();
skeletonAnimation.SeparatorSlots.Add(mySlot); // see above

// Add the SkeletonRenderSeparator.
SkeletonRenderSeparator skeletonRenderSeparator = SkeletonRenderSeparator.AddToSkeletonRenderer(skeletonAnimation);

This has a number of optional arguments. See the IDE autocomplete for more info on them. You will be able to specify the sorting layer and base sorting order index and increment. By default, it will add the necessary SkeletonPartsRenderers. (addMinimumPartsRenderers:true) and you can specify that it generate extra ones (extraPartsRenderers: int) if you know they will be needed.

Overview

  • The SkeletonRenderSeparator takes rendering instructions from SkeletonRenderer — by subscribing to its GenerateMeshOverride event.
  • It then splits up the instructions and distributes it among its SkeletonPartsRenderers. These are assigned in SkeletonRenderSeparator.partsRenderers.
  • Each SkeletonPartsRenderer processes those instructions to generate a mesh based on a range of slots.
  • The renderers are ordered according to Skeleton draw order. This is also similar to Unity's Sorting "Order in Layer" ordering. (This means the first SkeletonPartsRenderer is given the farthest attachments to render. And the last SkeletonPartsRenderer is given the nearest attachments.)
  • Each SkeletonPartsRenderer can have multiple submeshes. This makes it compatible with multi-page atlases and multi-atlas setups and selective material overrides. This also allows the number of resulting parts to be predictable (always 1 + the number of separator slots chosen).
  • The SkeletonPartsRenderer GameObjects don't have to be children of your Spine GameObject. The SkeletonRenderSeparator keeps references to the parts renderers and uses them accordingly, so you can organize them however you need to.