VR development: Unity explainer 6 of 8

Add animated people to the city

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Import and set up animated people to populate the city


Name of explainer:
Import and set up animated people to populate the city

Creative theme: VR development

Software used: Unity


This is explainer 6 of 8 in this series

This series includes:

  1. Install the Unity hub and Unity LTS
  2. Download Oculus integration, create a new Unity project and set it up for VR
  3. Install VRIF and send a VR scene to a Quest 2 headset
  4. Import a low poly city scene and add a VR camera rig
  5. Edit a 3d object to interact with it in VR
  6. Import and set up animated people to populate the city
  7. Animate a police car to race around the city streets
  8. Add a soundtrack and attach sounds to individual objects

The Software

This series of explainers uses Unity, one of the most popular real-time 3d development environments. It’s used by millions of creators to develop games, create animations and visualisations and even produce short movies. Need inspiration? Check out their showcase.

Unity personal edition is completely free. If you start to make money commercially from your Unity creations you’ll need to upgrade to a paid professional license.

Over the course of eight explainers we’re using Unity and various free and paid assets from the Unity asset store to test a workflow from Unity to a Meta Quest 2 headset, send a city scene to the headset and add objects we can interact with. We go on to add animated people and a speeding police car! Finally, we import an ambient soundtrack and attach sounds to specific objects.

Our city at the end of this series

This is how our city looks at the end of this series. Remember the environment is designed to be experienced in a VR headset and not viewed as a ‘flat’ video!

The pre-requisities

This is an INTERMEDIATE workflow explainer series. We’re starting from scratch so don’t worry if you’ve never used Unity, but you’ll find this series easier to follow if you have basic knowledge of the Unity interface and how to navigate a 3d scene.

If you’re new to IT / computing, this workflow series is not likely to be suitable. To get started with 3d software in a beginner-friendly environment, we recommend the free Tinkercad. See makeuseof for a helpful overview of 3d design and the specialisms available to you.

Why would I do this?

Our city is currently completely motionless, which may work for a post-apocalyptic scenario, but we’d like to add signs of life! Unity supports numerous animation workflows, and these are dependent on the kinds of object(s) you’d like to animate. In this explainer we introduce humanoid animation using a paid asset. You’ll be among the zombie hordes in no time!

Invasion of the zombie dance troupe 🙂

Let’s do it!

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Good to know

We’re using the PAID Unity asset ‘Low poly animated people‘ (below) to demonstrate how to add animated people to the VR city…

There are numerous character packs available on the Asset Store, though check they include built-in animations if you’re just starting out. For VR use, it’s recommended to use low-poly assets rather than highly detailed, realistic models which may run slowly in a headset.

Where to next?

If you’re brand new to adjusting 3d objects in Unity, this tutorial introduces moving, rotating and resizing 3d objects:

As mentioned in the explainer, adjust the size of your polygon people and test them out in tiny form or as Staypuft-style supersize giants! Below we’ve added a massive mummy to wreak havoc across the city!

In the explainer we looked at a limited range of the character animation attributes included in the polygon people asset. There’s much more you can configure! For example, you can change each character’s walking or running speed as well as switching off individual animations you don’t want to see (E.g. Waving or texting):

Animating 3d ‘humanoids’ from scratch would be an explainer series in its own right. This article from gamedesigning is a useful start point if this interests you.

MIXAMO is a web resource offering hundreds of animated characters to download and include in your Unity projects. Owned by Adobe, it’s a FREE resource. Get started with the video below!

In the next explainer we’ll create path-based animation (also refered to as waypoint animation) to make a police car race along our city streets!

Notes and updates

There are no notes or advisories at this time. This video explainer was last updated in May 2022. This page was last updated in May 2022.

We at pixels.cool are not responsible for the content of any external webpages or software downloaded from third party sites. Links are included in good faith at the time of writing. All explainer content is compiled in good faith using processes and methods used by the team. Modern software offers users many ways to accomplish a single task, and for reasons of clarity we choose not to refer to multiple options. All computer users should run up to date virus / security software at all times to minimise risks of data loss.

This is number 6 of 8 explainer videos in this series. Make sure you check out the others!