I think it’s just worth covering how easy it is to achieve the layered 3D rendered effect is with 2D images. So, we’ve got the rendered scene here:
This was something I didn’t finish in Carrara, but used it as a quick render for demonstration purposes. You duplicate the layer (I used Paint.NET, which is free) and the new layer you just cut out everything that’s going to overlap your characters.
In this picture, I’ve changed the appearance of the top layer so you can see where I’ve cut out.
It’s a basic job as it’s for demonstration purposes and as a result, the player’s movement will have to be restricted if I wanted to retain the illusion.
The next layer will be my ‘collision sprite’.
The idea of this is just to provide an image for your sprite to collide with. This was a quick job, so it’s not perfect, but when I come to the actual tutorial I will provide content that’s more accurate.
Then, here is the result, I’ve put in a couple of red rectangles just demonstrating the illusion.
If I had the system worked out perfectly, I’d have my character walk around the the back and front of the scene and it’d feel 3D, but with 2D sprites and a pre-rendered background.