Beginning 3D: Explainer 8 of 8

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Import a free Unity coffee shop asset and place our 3D objects in the scene

Overview

Name of explainer: Import a free Unity coffee shop asset and place our 3D objects in the scene

Creative theme: Beginning 3D

Software used (for this explainer): Unity

User level: INTERMEDIATE

This is explainer 8 of 8 in this series

This series includes:

  1. Get tooled up for this explainer series
  2. Navigate the Tinkercad interface, add 3d objects to the workplane and rotate & scale them
  3. Create a coffee mug in Tinkercad
  4. Export a coffee mug from Tinkercad in OBJ format
  5. Navigate the Kenney Shape interface and edit built-in objects
  6. ‘Trace’ a Space Invader image in Kenney Shape to create a 3d object and export it in OBJ format
  7. Create a new Unity project and import the objects created in Tinkercad and Kenney Shape
  8. Import a free Unity coffee shop asset and place our 3D objects in the scene

The Software

This series of explainers uses three separate programs:

Tinkercad for introducing basic 3d navigation, scaling and rotating shapes, combining them and exporting 3d objects. Tinkercad is completely free and runs in a web browser. Get yourself a free account now!

Kenney Shape, for ‘tracing’ a 2d image to turn it into a 3d object and export it. At time of writing Kenney Shape costs less than £5 / $5. We created and exported a 3d Space Invader in explainers 5 and 6.

Unity for importing 3d objects and assembling them into a scene. Unity is FREE for personal use. We’re starting to assemble our Retro Cafe in this final explainer. With additional time and effort, yours could go on to look a bit like this:

3D Objects created in this series

Using the general theme of ‘Objects for a Retro Cafe’, we’ve already created and exported a coffee mug using Tinkercad:

We’ve also ‘traced’ a 2d image of a Space Invader in Kenney Shape to turn it into a 3d object:

Here’s how your 3D cafe scene could look at the end of this series!

The pre-requisities

This is a BEGINNER explainer series, starting with beginner-friendly software. You need to have a basic knowledge of using Windows and downloading and installing software to follow this series. Tinkercad and Kenney Shape are beginner-friendly programs. Unity is a complex application and is not recommended for new computing users. For introductory courses and videos for Unity, check out Unity Learn

Why would I do this?

The Unity asset store showcases many thousands of assets, from sound packs to fully-realised 3D cities! Some are free and some require a one-off payment. We’ll be focusing on coffee-related assets for this explainer 🙂

We’ll import a free coffee shop asset and bring our own 3D models into it. The scene can then be used as the basis for a video, animated scene, VR scenario or game environment!

Let’s do it!

Click the play icon to watch this explainer video. Subtitles are available – Click the settings cog at the bottom right for options. You can watch this video full-screen by clicking the full-screen icon at the bottom right.

Good to know

The Unity Asset Store is the obvious place to shop when you’re working with Unity, but there are plenty of high-quality sites that sell compatible 3d resources. In particular, take a look at cgtrader, turbosquid and sketchfab. All these sites run regular sales events so if you have your eye on a particular paid asset it can be worth the wait 🙂

This explainer is categorised as INTERMEDIATE level as beginners with 3D software may find Unity complex without support. Unity offers its own UNITY LEARN platform with lots of free and paid learning options to get your skills up to scratch in your prefered areas!

Where to next?

This is the final explainer in this series. Here’s some inspiration for what you can go on to do next!

ADD ‘WALLS’ TO THE SCENE

If your cafe scene will be used for taking screenshots or recording video / animated footage, you’ll want to add walls and a floor! Here’s a quick, easy method to get started:

1: Create a new PLANE by selecting the GameObject menu, 3D Object, Plane:

2: Import an image or texture of your choice into the project, in the same way we imported 3d objects earlier in this series. I’ve imported two ‘metal’ images into the ‘retro objects’ folder:

3: Drag and drop an image onto the plane. The plane can be scaled and rotated like any other object. Repeat this process for all walls, floor and ceiling as needed to create the illusion of an enclosed space:

NOTE: This method is appropriate for updating the scene to use for video recording and taking screenshots. It is not a recommended workflow for updating a gaming environment.

MODEL DIRECTLY INSIDE UNITY

If you’re enjoying Unity, you can even create models directly inside it with a modelling asset such as UModeler:

UModeler provides a FREE ‘lite’ version as well as plenty of online help and support. The full version costs around £110 / $130 and is regularly included in Unity asset store sales:

See our explainer series ‘Introduction to 3d modelling using Umodeler Lite’ if you’re ready to get started!

EXPORT YOUR SCENE FOR VR USE

There are numerous ways to convert a Unity scene ready to send it to a VR headset. Our favourite VR asset is VRIF (The Virtual Reality Integration Framework):

We use VRIF in our ‘Introduction to VR’ explainer series to let us explore and interact with a cityscape in a Meta VR headset!:

EXPORT YOUR UNITY SCENE AS A 360 DEGREE IMAGE OR VIDEO

Various assets are available to help record 360 images or videos directly from a camera in a Unity scene. As used in our ‘Showcase’ explainer series, one of our favourites is AT+ Videoclip:

This asset adds a traditional video editing timeline to the Unity interface, so you can use your video editing skills to sequence a 360 degree video (or regular ‘flat’ video) tour of the cafe! It’s how we recorded the ‘tour’ video below:

LEARN MORE ABOUT TEXTURES AND MATERIALS

If you plan to continue learning Unity you’ll need to discover more about materials, shaders and textures. These are distinct concepts but intrinsically linked, and even a basic understanding of them will help you develop a coherent visual aesthetic for your work!

Remember, this is part of a series of explainers – Join us again for the other explainers in the series 🙂

Notes and updates

There are no notes or advisories at this time. This video explainer was last updated in April 2023. This page was last updated in April 2023.

We at pixels.cool are not responsible for the content of any external webpages or software downloaded from third party sites. Any 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 provides users with many ways to accomplish a task, and for reasons of clarity we choose not to refer to multiple options. All computer users must run up to date virus / security software at all times to minimise risks of data loss.


This is number 8 of 8 explainer videos in this series. Make sure you join us for the others!