Scene Visibility in Unity

Use Unity’s Scene Visibility (SceneVis) controls to quickly hide and show objects in the Scene View, without changing the object’s in-game visibility. Read this section to learn how to use SceneVis tools, including keyboard shortcuts, visibility toggle methods, and Isolation.

The first appearance of SceneVis controls is noticed in Unity 2019.1a.

Scene Visibility - Unity 2019

Goals for SceneVis:

  • Quick access to hide and show via keyboard shortcuts, or hierarchy buttons;
  • 100% granular visual control, i.e. can hide/show individual items, parents don’t override;
  • A clear indication of hiding/showing state in the Hierarchy, without getting cluttered;
  • Ability to enable/disable the effects of SceneVis, without losing hide/show states;
  • Save vis state info, but never “dirty” the scene, play nice with source control.

Scene Visibility Overview

As a scene becomes more detailed, it often helps to temporarily hide and show specific objects, allowing you to view, select, and edit without obstructions. SceneVis enables this functionality via hierarchy tools and keyboard shortcuts, plus a toolbar toggle to quickly enable or disable the effects (similar to the Scene Lighting toggle).

A special “Isolate” action will immediately show only the selected objects, then revert to the previous SceneVis settings when Isolation is exited.

SceneVis Overview - Unity 2019

Because SceneVis only affects the editor Scene View, in-game visuals do not change. This means your scenes won’t have accidentally missing items, and hiding an object will not trigger bakes for lighting, occlusion, or other systems.

Additionally, SceneVis modifications are always saved, but only locally- hiding and showing objects with SceneVis will not create source control conflicts.

UI and Keyboard Shortcuts

SceneVis Hierarchy Column

This column displays visibility status for each item in the hierarchy:

  1. This item and its children are visible;
  2. This item and its children are hidden;
  3. This item is visible but has some hidden children;
  4. This item is hidden but has some visible children.

SceneVis Hierarchy Column

If an item and all its children are visible, they will only show a status icon on hover.

SceneVis Toolbar Toggle

Click to enable or disable the effects of SceneVis (image on, image off).

SceneVis Toolbar Toggle - Unity 2019

Keyboard Shortcuts

SceneVis does not include default keyboard shortcuts (currently). However, you can set your own easily:

  • From the top menu, choose next to open the Shortcuts panel:
    • “Edit > Shortcuts” on Windows,
    • “Unity > Shortcuts” on Mac OS X;
  • In the “Category” column, choose “Scene Visibility”;
  • Set your shortcuts as desired.

Scene Visibility - Shortcuts

Hide and Show Objects

Hide and Show Individual Object:

  1. Hover your mouse over a visible item, and you should see the “Visible” icon show.
  2. Move your mouse over the icon (it will highlight), and click to toggle it’s status to Hidden.
  3. The item becomes Hidden, and will now show the “Hidden” icon.
  4. Click again to toggle back to Visible.

Scene Visibility - Unity 2019

Hide and Show an Object + Children:

  1. Hover your mouse over an item with several children;
  2. Move your mouse over the icon (it will highlight);
  3. Hold ALT and click;
  4. The item and all its children will become Hidden, and will now show the “Hidden” icon;
  5. Hold ALT and click again to toggle back to Visible.

Isolate Objects

SceneVis Overview - Unity 2019

Isolate is a special function that allows you to immediately narrow your view to a selection of objects, then pop back to the “normal” scene view. Any visibility changes you make while in Isolation are temporary.

Currently, you will need to set up the Isolate shortcut by yourself: Cmd + Shift + I.

Using Isolate:

  1. Hide several random items in your scene, just for example’s sake;
  2. Select one hidden item and one visible item;
  3. Press the keyboard shortcut for “Isolate”;
  4. Note that all non-selected items are now hidden, and the two items you selected are visible including the previously hidden item;
  5. Look in the bottom-right of your Scene View, click the “Exit” button under “Isolation”;
  6. Note that all items are back to the pre-isolation visibility status.
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I am Andrew Sirota, Founder at Makaka Games and full-time Publisher on Unity Asset Store. First of all, read the latest docs online. If it didn’t help, get the support.
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