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Elwin Verploegen

Snippet: Drawing Lines In Editor WindowsDecember 19, 2014

By Elwin

This script was written by Yossarian King and Linusmartensson.

This script makes it easy to draw lines in editor windows, which is perfect for creating separator lines or showing connections between nodes. Here’s an example of that from our dialogue editor:

Line drawing in editor window

Line drawing in editor window

using System.Reflection;
using UnityEngine;
// Line drawing routine originally courtesy of Linusmartensson:
// Rewritten to improve performance by Yossarian King / August 2013.
// This version produces virtually identical results to the original (tested by drawing
// one over the other and observing errors of one pixel or less), but for large numbers
// of lines this version is more than four times faster than the original, and comes
// within about 70% of the raw performance of Graphics.DrawTexture.
// Peak performance on my laptop is around 200,000 lines per second. The laptop is
// Windows 7 64-bit, Intel Core2 Duo CPU 2.53GHz, 4G RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 220M.
// Line width and anti-aliasing had negligible impact on performance.
// For a graph of benchmark results in a standalone Windows build, see this image:
public static class Drawing
    private static Texture2D aaLineTex = null;
    private static Texture2D lineTex = null;
    private static Material blitMaterial = null;
    private static Material blendMaterial = null;
    private static Rect lineRect = new Rect(0, 0, 1, 1);
    // Draw a line in screen space, suitable for use from OnGUI calls from either
    // MonoBehaviour or EditorWindow. Note that this should only be called during repaint
    // events, when (Event.current.type == EventType.Repaint).
    // Works by computing a matrix that transforms a unit square -- Rect(0,0,1,1) -- into
    // a scaled, rotated, and offset rectangle that corresponds to the line and its width.
    // A DrawTexture call used to draw a line texture into the transformed rectangle.
    // More specifically:
    //      scale x by line length, y by line width
    //      rotate around z by the angle of the line
    //      offset by the position of the upper left corner of the target rectangle
    // By working out the matrices and applying some trigonometry, the matrix calculation comes
    // out pretty simple. See for a picture of my
    // notebook with the calculations.
    public static void DrawLine(Vector2 pointA, Vector2 pointB, Color color, float width, 
                                bool antiAlias)
        // Normally the static initializer does this, but to handle texture reinitialization
        // after editor play mode stops we need this check in the Editor.
        #if UNITY_EDITOR
        if (!lineTex)
        // Note that theta = atan2(dy, dx) is the angle we want to rotate by, but instead
        // of calculating the angle we just use the sine (dy/len) and cosine (dx/len).
        float dx = pointB.x - pointA.x;
        float dy = pointB.y - pointA.y;
        float len = Mathf.Sqrt(dx * dx + dy * dy);
        // Early out on tiny lines to avoid divide by zero.
        // Plus what's the point of drawing a line 1/1000th of a pixel long??
        if (len < 0.001f)
        // Pick texture and material (and tweak width) based on anti-alias setting.
        Texture2D tex;
        Material mat;
        if (antiAlias)
            // Multiplying by three is fine for anti-aliasing width-1 lines, but make a wide "fringe"
            // for thicker lines, which may or may not be desirable.
            width = width * 3.0f;
            tex = aaLineTex;
            mat = blendMaterial;
            tex = lineTex;
            mat = blitMaterial;
        float wdx = width * dy / len;
        float wdy = width * dx / len;
        Matrix4x4 matrix = Matrix4x4.identity;
        matrix.m00 = dx;
        matrix.m01 = -wdx;
        matrix.m03 = pointA.x + 0.5f * wdx;
        matrix.m10 = dy;
        matrix.m11 = wdy;
        matrix.m13 = pointA.y - 0.5f * wdy;
        // Use GL matrix and Graphics.DrawTexture rather than GUI.matrix and GUI.DrawTexture,
        // for better performance. (Setting GUI.matrix is slow, and GUI.DrawTexture is just a
        // wrapper on Graphics.DrawTexture.)
        Graphics.DrawTexture(lineRect, tex, lineRect, 0, 0, 0, 0, color, mat);
    public static void DrawBezierLine(Vector2 start, Vector2 startTangent, Vector2 end, 
                                      Vector2 endTangent, Color color, float width, 
                                      bool antiAlias, int segments)
        Vector2 lastV = CubeBezier(start, startTangent, end, endTangent, 0);
        for (int i = 1; i < segments; ++i)
            Vector2 v = CubeBezier(start, startTangent, end, endTangent, i/(float)segments);
            Drawing.DrawLine(lastV, v, color, width, antiAlias);
            lastV = v;
    private static Vector2 CubeBezier(Vector2 s, Vector2 st, Vector2 e, Vector2 et, float t)
        float rt = 1 - t;
        return rt * rt * rt * s + 3 * rt * rt * t * st + 3 * rt * t * t * et + t * t * t * e;
    // This static initializer works for runtime, but apparently isn't called when
    // Editor play mode stops, so DrawLine will re-initialize if needed.
    static Drawing()
    private static void Initialize()
        if (lineTex == null)
            lineTex = new Texture2D(1, 1, TextureFormat.ARGB32, false);
            lineTex.SetPixel(0, 1, Color.white);
        if (aaLineTex == null)
            aaLineTex = new Texture2D(1, 3, TextureFormat.ARGB32, false);
            aaLineTex.SetPixel(0, 0, new Color(1, 1, 1, 0));
            aaLineTex.SetPixel(0, 1, Color.white);
            aaLineTex.SetPixel(0, 2, new Color(1, 1, 1, 0));
        // GUI.blitMaterial and GUI.blendMaterial are used internally by GUI.DrawTexture,
        // depending on the alphaBlend parameter. Use reflection to "borrow" these references.
        blitMaterial = (Material)typeof(GUI).GetMethod(
    BindingFlags.NonPublic | BindingFlags.Static).Invoke(null, null);
        blendMaterial = (Material)typeof(GUI).GetMethod(
    BindingFlags.NonPublic | BindingFlags.Static).Invoke(null, null);

To use this script, simply call the following function in the OnGUI function of an editor window.

DrawLine(Vector2 pointA, Vector2 pointB, Color color, float width, bool antiAlias)

Where pointA is the starting point of the line, and pointB is the end of the line. This will draw a straight line between those points. To draw a curved line like in the image at the top of this post you can either use the DrawBezierLine function of the above script, or use a function that’s built into Unity (which is what I use in the above picture). The code below is what I use to draw those lines.

	float tangent = Mathf.Clamp((-1)*(start.x - end.x), -100, 100);
	Vector2 endtangent = new Vector2(end.x - tangent, end.y);
		new Color(0.88f, 0.73f, 0.19f, 0.5f),

I haven’t done a performance test of the DrawBezierLine against the Unity DrawBezier, but if it works it works (and generally I don’t try to overthink performance when writing editor scripts).

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