Recoloring Sprites in Unity

What are the Options?

  • Before running the game (ie. in Photoshop),
  • Before providing a texture to the shader,
  • Within the shader.
One possible implementation of this is to export the player-inputted colors into small gradient textures with pre-defined dark/light extrapolation, concatenate them, and provide it as a sampling texture for a sprite which is defined in partitioned grayscale.

Part 1. Palettes

[CreateAssetMenu(menuName = "Colors/Palette")]
public class Palette : ScriptableObject {
public enum Shade {
public string colorName;
public Color highlight;
public Color light;
public Color pure;
public Color dark;
public Color outline;
private static readonly Color BLACK =;
private static readonly Color WHITE = Color.white;

public Color GetColor(Shade shade) {
if (shade == Shade.WHITE) {
return WHITE;
} else if (shade == Shade.HIGHLIGHT) {
return highlight;
} else if (shade == Shade.LIGHT) {
return light;
} else if (shade == Shade.PURE) {
return pure;
} else if (shade == Shade.DARK) {
return dark;
} else if (shade == Shade.OUTLINE) {
return outline;
return BLACK;

Part 2. ColorMap

public abstract class ColorMap : ScriptableObject {
protected virtual void PrepareColors() { }
protected const byte zero = 0;
public Sprite Recolor(Sprite baseSprite) {
Texture2D tex = Instantiate(baseSprite.texture);
NativeArray<Color32> pixels_n = tex.GetRawTextureData<Color32>();
int len = pixels_n.Length;
unsafe {
Color32* pixels = (Color32*)pixels_n.GetUnsafePtr();
Map(pixels, len);
Vector2 pivot = baseSprite.pivot;
pivot.x /= baseSprite.rect.width;
pivot.y /= baseSprite.rect.height;
var s = Sprite.Create(tex, baseSprite.rect, pivot, baseSprite.pixelsPerUnit);
return s;
protected abstract unsafe void Map(Color32* pixels, int len);
  • You need to call tex.Apply after editing a texture’s raw data,
  • You need to call GetRawTextureData and not GetPixels, which will work but also allocate half your bank account,
  • Sprite.pivot is in pixels, but when creating a new sprite you have to provide it as normalized to [(0,0), (1,1)],
  • In Sprite Import settings, make sure Read/Write Enabled is on, and you probably want the format to be RGBA 32,
  • You may need to modify other options like extrusion or mesh type in the Sprite constructor (I set my mesh type to FullRect for shader effects).
public abstract class ThreeColorGradientMap : ColorMap {
protected Color32 mBlack;
protected Color32 mGray;
protected Color32 mWhite;

protected override unsafe void Map(Color32* pixels, int len) {
for (int ii = 0; ii < len; ++ii) {
Color32 pixel = pixels[ii];
float value = pixel.r / 255f;
if (value > 0.5f) {
value = value * 2 - 1f;
//Lerp from gray-color to white-color
pixel.r = (byte)(mGray.r + value * (mWhite.r - mGray.r));
pixel.g = (byte)(mGray.g + value * (mWhite.g - mGray.g));
pixel.b = (byte)(mGray.b + value * (mWhite.b - mGray.b));
} else {
value = value * 2;
//Lerp from black-color to gray-color
pixel.r = (byte)(mBlack.r + value * (mGray.r - mBlack.r));
pixel.g = (byte)(mBlack.g + value * (mGray.g - mBlack.g));
pixel.b = (byte)(mBlack.b + value * (mGray.b - mBlack.b));
pixels[ii] = pixel;

[CreateAssetMenu(menuName = "Colors/ThreeColorGradient")]
public class PaletteThreeColorGradientMap : ThreeColorGradientMap {
public Palette mapToBlackBase;
public Palette.Shade mapToBlackShade;
public Palette mapToGrayBase;
public Palette.Shade mapToGrayShade;
public Palette mapToWhiteBase;
public Palette.Shade mapToWhiteShade;

protected override void PrepareColors() {
mBlack = mapToBlackBase.GetColor(mapToBlackShade);
mGray = mapToGrayBase.GetColor(mapToGrayShade);
mWhite = mapToWhiteBase.GetColor(mapToWhiteShade);

3. Actually Recoloring Things

public class RecolorMe : MonoBehaviour {
public ColorMap recolorMap;
private void Start() {
SpriteRenderer sr = GetComponent<SpriteRenderer>();
Sprite s = sr.sprite;
Sprite recolored_s = recolorMap.Recolor(s);
sr.sprite = recolored_s;





Software engineer, epic gamer, and Touhou fangame developer.

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Software engineer, epic gamer, and Touhou fangame developer.

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