Good news for Sprite Animators as Unity Technologies Launches Aseprite Importer 1.0.0

Unity Technologies, the leading provider of real-time 3D development platforms, has announced the release of Aseprite Importer 1.0.0. This latest tool brings exciting new capabilities to sprite animators, making the process of importing Aseprite files into Unity projects more streamlined and efficient. With a range of default texture settings and comprehensive inspector properties, the Aseprite Importer is set to revolutionize sprite animation workflows. The Unity Docs page for the same is also updated.

How to add Aseprite to Unity Editor

To utilize the Aseprite Importer 1.0.0 in Unity, you need to ensure that you have Unity version 2021.3.15f1 or a newer release installed on your system. Once you have the required Unity version, follow the steps below to install the Aseprite Importer package:

  1. Open the Package Manager in Unity.
  2. Click on the “+” button located in the top-left corner of the Package Manager window.
  3. Select “Add package by name” from the dropdown menu.
  4. In the text field that appears, enter “com.unity.2d.aseprite” as the package name.
  5. Press the “Enter” key or click “OK” to proceed with the installation.

If a popup notification from Burst appears, indicating that a new version of Burst has been installed, it is recommended to restart the Unity Editor to ensure proper functionality.

With the Aseprite Importer package successfully added to your project, you are now ready to import .ase and .aseprite files into Unity. Enjoy the enhanced capabilities and streamlined workflow that the Aseprite Importer provides for your sprite animation projects.

Default Texture Settings

The Aseprite Importer sets the following default settings to the generated texture, ensuring seamless integration within Unity projects:

  • Texture Type: Sprite
  • Sprite Mode: Multiple
  • Pixels per Unit: 100
  • Mesh Type: Tight
  • Wrap Mode: Clamp
  • Filter Mode: Point
  • Compression: None
  • Generate Mip Maps: False

These optimized settings provide a solid foundation for sprite animations and allow animators to focus on their creative work without worrying about tedious setup tasks.

Inspector Properties for Fine-Tuned Control

The Aseprite Importer introduces a comprehensive set of inspector properties, giving animators fine-tuned control over the import process. After importing a .ase or .aseprite file into their Unity projects, users gain access to the Aseprite Importer Inspector, where they can customize various properties to suit their specific needs. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key inspector properties:

General Properties:

  • Import Mode: Specifies how the file should be imported, with the default setting being Animated Sprite.
  • Sprite Sheet: Enables importing the file as a sprite sheet, allowing further slicing in the Sprite Editor.
  • Animated Sprite: Imports the file with animation in mind, generating animation assets and attaching them to a model prefab during the import process.
  • Pixels per Unit: Sets the number of pixels that correspond to one Unity unit.
  • Mesh Type: Determines the type of mesh generated for the sprite, with Tight being the default option.
  • Full Rect: Maps the sprite onto a rectangular mesh.
  • Tight: Generates a mesh based on the sprite’s outline. If the sprite is smaller than 32 x 32 pixels, it is automatically mapped onto a Full Rect quad mesh, regardless of the selection.

Layer Import Properties:

  • Include Hidden Layers: Allows users to include hidden layers from the .ase or .aseprite file in the import process.
  • Import Mode: Specifies how layers from the source file are imported, with options such as Individual Layers or Merge Frame.
  • Pivot Space: Determines the space in which pivots should be calculated, with Canvas and Local being the available options.
  • Pivot Alignment: Controls the alignment of a sprite’s graphic rectangle with its pivot point.
  • Sprite Padding: Sets the internal padding within each SpriteRect generated from the Aseprite file.

Generate Assets Properties:

  • Model Prefab: Generates a model prefab that resembles the first frame in Aseprite.
  • Sorting Group: Adds a Sorting Group component to the root of the generated model prefab if it includes more than one Sprite Renderer.
  • Shadow Casters: Allows the addition of Shadow Casters to all GameObjects with a Sprite Renderer (available in Unity 2023.1 and newer versions).
  • Animation Clips: Generates Animation Clips based on the frame data in the file, with each tag in Aseprite generating a separate Animation Clip.
  • Export Animation Assets: Offers the ability to export editable versions of the Animator Controller and Animation Clips.

Aseprite Importer Preferences for Enhanced Control

Unity also provides Aseprite Importer Preferences, accessible at Unity > Settings > 2D > Aseprite Importer. These preferences allow users to further customize the import process according to their preferences. One notable preference is the Background Import option, which enables asset import even when the Unity Editor is running in the background, enhancing productivity.

Supported Aseprite Features

The Aseprite Importer supports a wide range of features from the Aseprite application, including file formats (.ase and .aseprite) and various color modes such as RGBA, Grayscale, and Indexed. It also supports visible and hidden layers, layer blend modes, opacity settings, linked cels, tags (with support for Animation Direction: Forward), individual frame timings, and layer groups.

Unsupported Features and Future Developments

While the Aseprite Importer offers comprehensive support for many Aseprite features, it currently does not support slices and tilemaps. Unity Technologies is committed to ongoing development and innovation, and future updates may address these limitations to provide even more functionality and versatility to sprite animators.

With the release of Aseprite Importer 1.0.0, Unity Technologies continues to empower sprite animators by simplifying their workflow and enhancing productivity. The Aseprite Importer’s default texture settings, comprehensive inspector properties, and customizable preferences offer a seamless integration between Aseprite and Unity, allowing animators to focus on their creative vision and bring their sprites to life with ease.

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