Play is not an asset creation environement. Play projects are rather created by assembling various imported assets that are then put in order and relationship. (the only exception to this are the 3D Primitives Geometry nodes: cone, box, cylinder, torus, sphere that are generated within Play).

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Supported 3D model formats

When it comes to importing 3D models, the supported 3D file formats are .obj, .dae, .ply, .fbx – which can have a single or multiple meshes within those files.

Size of acceptable 3D models

3D models can be huge in size and polycount, especially if generated with photogrammetry (with Autodesk ReMake, as example) or 3D scanners. Due to limitations of WebGL and for good viewing experience and performance, in majority of cases you will need to reduce the polygon count or texture size. We recommend:

  • Geometry: max 150k polygons. You can go higher but note that the size will impact the experience and performance of the scene.

  • Texture: 4k textures. This is non-negotiable as it is limited by the system. If you upload a larger file, it will still be reduced down to 4k.

Certain file formats (.fbx, .dae) contain color/material/texture information as well as geometry in a single file, while in others (.obj, .ply) the geometry is in a separate file than the texture. For handling the import of multiple files, you can .zip the geometry and texture files and drag and drop the .zip file in the Assets panel. Play will automatically unzip the file, separate the geometry from the texture and display them as individual entries in the Play Explorer.

Import a 3D mesh into your scene

  1. Locate the 3D model on your computer
  2. In the Assets Panel make a New Folder – (you don’t have to, but for clean work environment it’s a good idea, especially because .OBJ models have additional separate images for the texture.)
  3. Drag and drop the 3D model in that folder
  4. The files will upload and get automatically converted to a web format and stored in an Autodesk cloud space. The model is now ready to be used in a scene.
  5. Add a Model node to the hierarchy. Now:
    • To show the 3d geometry in teh render view, drag the .OBJ OVER the Model node in the Hierarchy graph. This will make the 3D model show in the render view, but it will not have any texture on it. = To apply the missing texture, you will need to drag and drop the image file that came with the .OBJ model over a ‘Texture 2D’ node that is linked to the Model node in the Control Graph (this might sound complicated, but if you watch the ‘Import 3D geometry’ video further down on this page, you will see it is easy!) bundle

Import a scene with mulitple 3D models, using the Bundle Node

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The Bundle Node is an intelligent node that understands and reconstructs a whole scene hierarchy as it is in your file. It works especially well with .fbx and .dae formats. The types of components it understands are:

  • Transforms / Hierarchy
  • Models
  • Cameras
  • Lights (Directional, Point, Spot)
  • Materials
  • Textures
  • Animation (experimental)

Take a look at the following video to see a scene made in Maya being replicated 1:1 in Play.

chair import

So, when do i use MODEL vs. a BUNDLE node?

In general, when importing 3D files, you will want to use a Bundle Node, since it will try to intelligently construct what it can find in your file for you automatically. You will want to use a Model Node if you know exactly that you only want to import a single mesh and nothing else. For example, even when you have a single model, using the Bundle Node will automatically give you a Material, Color Map, and Texture Nodes.

A single .fbx or .dae file contains a whole scene with multiple objects like cameras, lights, and meshes. Although it also contains material and texture information, the texture file themselves are not included and will have to be provided separately. To import textures correctly, upload the separate texture files to the same folder as your 3D file and make sure the names are correct. The Bundle Node will create the Material and Texture Nodes for you and will look for textures in the same folder as the 3D file.

An easy way to manage multiple files that must be together is to use a .zip file to include all the necessary texture files along with your 3D file. Simply drag and drop your .zip file into the Assets Library. It will automatically be unzipped and all the files inside will be converted.

chair import

Inside the Bundle node

A Bundle node is a graph node (a node capable of having subnodes inside of it). To see what is inside, you will need to make it editable. See the video above and follow along - right click on it in the Hierarchy Graph and click ‘Make Editable’. Conceptually, this is similar to ‘rasterize’ in Photoshop – the model will lose its intelligence and the process cannot be undone, but now the multipart sub-nodes can be seen and edited. Double click on the Bundle node and you will see its parts. This hierarchy comes straight from the way you set it up when you exported from your 3D modeling program.

If you use Autodesk Maya, we strongly recommend exporting as .dae because it will give you the best fidelity and Project Play will understand the entire hierarchy of the Maya scene.

If your mesh was an .obj or .ply, the geometry and their materials will appear, but the texture will be missing. You will need to place a Color Map and Texture 2D nodes in front on the Bundle node in the Control Graph, then attach the texture file in the Texture 2D node to see all your original textures.

Videos

Import 3D geometry (simple)
How to import single mesh 3D geometry.
Import 3D geometry (multipart)
How to import a multi-mesh 3D geometry.