Modelling in Unity using ProBuilder

What do you think are the essential things for any game? Logic? Models? Assembling the scene? If all of the aforementioned things are essential for creating any game, what is an odd thing amongst them all? Well, you can apply logic within the Unity software; you can assemble anything within the Unity software; however, you could not create models within Unity until it (Unity Technology) acquired the asset named ProBuilder. In this article, we are going to learn how to create models within the Unity software and use them for our game. We shall also learn how to export those models. Before going deep into the creation of models, let us have a look why such an asset deserves a complete post; what are the advantages of using this asset.

Advantages of ProBuilder

The following are the advantages that are noteworthy here:

  • It is free of cost. You do not need to pay even a single dime to acquire this asset.
  • As it is freely available, now you do not have to buy any third-party proprietary Softwares like Maya etc. to build your models. You can easily build models for simple games within Unity.
  • Even if you need to use any modelling softwares for the complex models, you can create the prototype using this asset and export the model for further amendments. Free softwares are also available that does pretty good. One of the best free modelling software is Blender.

Preliminaries

In this section, we will be familiarizing ourselves with the required steps to do modelling within the Unity application.

  • Essential Tool
  • Required Asset
  • Tool Installation
  • Project Creation
  • Downloading ProBuilder

Let us discuss each one of them!

Essential Tool

You will require the following tool:

  • Unity (Latest Version). Right now, I am using Unity 5.6.3

Required Asset

You will require the following asset:

  • ProBuilder

Tool Installation

You are required to install the Unity software. For that, go to the following link, download and install it:

https://unity3d.com/get-unity/download

The steps to install the Unity software are self-explanatory. If you are having some trouble downloading and installing the software, comment down below; I shall try to sort them out.

Project Creation

After the installation of Unity software, you now need to create a new project and fill out the following fields:

  • Project Name
  • Location

Project Name is the name of your application, and Location refers to folder where you want to save your project files.

Downloading ProBuilder

After the creation of the project, all you need to do is to go to the Asset Store and download the ProBuilder. The path to open the Asset Store is as follows:

Window (Toolbar) ---> Asset Store

Now search for the ProBuilder asset. Make sure that you select the following asset (as shown below):

Rechecking

Make sure to check the following chart in order to know whether you have skipped any preliminary step or not:

  • Essential Tool
  • Required Asset
  • Tool Installation
  • Project Creation
  • Downloading ProBuilder

After completing the preliminaries, we need to have the closer look at the ProBuilder asset.

ProBuilder

ProBuilder is an asset, which has recently been acquired by Unity Technologies, for building the model objects within Unity. It is a very powerful asset for creating the models for Indie programmers. Instead of working on bunch of different softwares, you can now do almost everything within Unity.

After importing (downloading) the ProBuilder asset, you might have noticed that there is one option that appeared in the toolbar (as shown below): Tools (if you have not installed any other package before, this would be new to you).

Upon clicking on the Tools, you would find the ProBuilder inside it. Now open the ProBuilder Window by following the below-mentioned path:

Tools ---> ProBuilder ---> ProBuilder Window

Now you would see the following Window in Unity:

If you right-click on this Window, you would see the following options:

Right now, as you can see, it is in Text Mode. If you change it to Icon Mode, you would see the following panel:

Now let us discuss the important options of ProBuilder one by one!

New Shape Tool

The icon for the New Shape Tool in the ProBuilder panel is shown below:

It is the tool that contains different shapes, which you can even customize. When you click on this tool, you would see the following panel:

In this panel, there is one drop-down menu named Shape Selector. It consists of the following selectors:

As you can see in the above list, the Shape Selector panel contains many predefined objects like stair, door, pipe etc. Make your game’s scene using these objects (for practice). Following are the few I have imported into my scene:

As you can see above, the scene contains the door, stair, arc and plane. You can edit their settings before importing them into scene.

If you want to edit their shape after importing them into your game’s scene, you need to check the following panel at the top of the scene window:

There are four modes available, which are as follows:

  1. Object mode (in black-already selected in the image above)
  2. Vertex mode (second icon)
  3. Edge mode (third icon)
  4. Face mode (fourth icon)

First, in object mode, you can translate, rotate, or scale the whole object by selecting this mode.

Second, in the vertex mode, you can manipulate the individual vertices of an object, as the object is made up of vertices (which are the dots).

Third, in the edge mode, you can alter the shape of an object using the edges (which are the straight lines).

Last, in the face mode, you can change the shape of an object using the faces (which are made up of at least three vertices).

In the above scene, which contains the arc, stair, door and plane, let us use all of these modes:

As you can see in the above picture, there are four changes that have been made to the previous scene:

  1. Using the Object mode, the arc has been translated behind the door.
  2. Using the Vertex mode, the top most vertex of the stair is manipulated.
  3. Using the Edge mode, the top of the door has been moved down.
  4. Using the Face mode, the plane is altered a bit (a bump on the plane).

New Polygon Shape

The icon for the New Polygon Shape in the ProBuilder panel is shown below:

Using this option in the ProBuilder panel, you can create your custom object within a scene. It is the most important and powerful option in the ProBuilder. You can create any shape using this option. In order to use this option, click on it, and draw an object on the scene using vertices (as shown below):

As you can see above that an irregular shape has been made using the New Polygon Shape option. By using this option, you can create much more complex shapes than the one shown above (which is actually a simple one). After the creation of the model, you can even export it by going to the following path (make sure to select the object before exporting it):

Tools ---> ProBuilder ---> Export

There you would see the following options for the export:

  1. Export Asset (It would export the object as a Unity Package)
  2. Export Obj (It would export the object as an object file; the most common extension for the modelling softwares like Maya, Blender etc.)
  3. Export Ply
  4. Export Stl Ascii
  5. Export Stl Binary

As mentioned above, the most common export extension is obj. Use it to export the model and modify it in any other modelling software if requires.

Material Editor

The icon for the Material Editor in the ProBuilder panel is shown below:

In order to apply the material on the model, you can use the material editor. The material editor’s panel would look like this:

As you can see above that in the Material Palette you can load different materials, and can use those materials by using the shortcut:

Alt + {the-number-from-0-to-9}.

For example, select any object and use the shortcut Alt+1 to load the default material on the object. Likewise, if you want to apply material on the specific face of an object, you can select that face and apply the material by using the above-mentioned shortcut (where you have loaded where material). For instance, in the object given below, as you can see the upper face is selected and the green material has been applied on it. Likewise, the one face in front has the same material (as shown below):

As you can see above that the slot Alt+2 has the Green material loaded, and by selecting the upper face of the object and applying the shortcut Alt+2, we can apply the material on the selected faces of the object.

Summary

In this article, we have learnt how to create models within the Unity software and use them for our game. We have also learnt how to export those models. At the end of the article, we looked at how to apply the materials to the objects as well as their selected faces. In a nutshell, we have explored the option of creating a model within Unity without using any other proprietary or third-party software. I hope you like the article! For now, I’m saying goodbye… until we meet again! 😄

AUTHOR

about 1 year ago

Thank you for writing interesting articles. I am looking forward to sharing your knowledge.

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