You don’t have to know how to code to start creating interactive 3D configurators like a pro. Discover how you can use Unity Forma to create amazing product experiences for your customers with this how-to guide from our technical marketing team. For a deeper dive, watch the entire webinar featuring Jerome Maurey-Delaunay, Senior Technical Specialist at Unity.
Inside the guide
- Installation and product overview
- Understanding 3D assets, materials, and environments
- Importing a product and creating variants
- Adding material finishes to your project
- Creating thumbnails and adding camera views
- Testing and publishing
What is Unity Forma?
Unity Forma empowers marketing professionals to quickly create and publish marketing content and interactive experiences, including product configurators, from 3D product data – without needing to learn the intricacies of Unity or how to code.
Unity Forma is an extension to the Unity Editor that provides a standardized framework to ingest product data, prepare a master model and publish interactive and static content to multiple marketing channels. Without it, you would need to create your own framework and maintain it across multiple projects. Not only is this costly and time-consuming for individual customers to develop and maintain, but it also results in incompatible implementations.
With Unity Forma, you can collaborate with others within your ecosystem, saving on time and reducing cost for everyone. Instead of building tools, you can free your teams to focus on building amazing marketing content.
Installation and product overview
Unity Forma runs on top of the Unity Industrial Collection, a software suite that includes Unity Pro and Pixyz Plugin as well as AxF and xTex material importers. To use Unity Forma, you need to have a separate subscription to Unity Industrial Collection (or Unity Pro plus Pixyz Plugin).
Unity Forma provides a streamlined interface purpose-built to make it easy to get your product into Unity. Experienced Unity users can benefit from the optimized workflow and simplified user interface with all the power of Unity Pro – which you can easily switch to for added functionality if you choose.
If you need more information on installing Unity Forma, check out the Unity Forma installation and licensing documentation.
Understanding 3D assets, materials, and environments
Unity Forma offers many functionalities to bring your marketing vision to reality. First, you will need to import your own 3D assets, such as 3D models, materials, and environments, to build your configurator. With the Pixyz Plugin, Unity Forma can support more than 35 different 3D file formats.
Unity Forma comes with 300 sample materials, but you can also import your own material files (e.g., AxF and xTex) to create virtual replicas of your products and make them look more realistic.
Importing a product and creating variants
Now that you have Unity Forma installed and have an understanding of the different file types you can import, let’s take a look at how to import product files and how you can create different variants for buyers to experience.
When looking at your empty scene, you will see an Add Product button on the left. Click this button to add a product from an external file. You can also add a product from a Unity project if the product was previously loaded within that project.
Within the Unity Forma window, a Please Clarify pop-up window will appear. Select Create new Material Variant Sets to proceed.
Once the product has been added to the project, simply click and drag the product and drop it into the Product Setup tab of the Configurator panel. A pop-up window will appear asking which type of variant you would like to create. Material variants let you assign different materials to specific items of your product in Forma. Visibility variants let you show or hide specific items of your product in the Forma.
When you click Material, Forma automatically creates variant sets that are pre-populated within the model.
The pre-populated variants will appear in your product timeline.
Adding material finishes to your project
Working in the Scene view, you can add new material finishes from a range of preloaded options. To add a new material finish, ensure you’re on the Product Setup tab of the Configurator panel. Then, in the toolbar select Forma > Window > Material Picker. This will open the Material Picker window, which shows all of the materials loaded in the project. Now that you have the window open, simply find the material you would like to add and drag and drop it onto the material variant set you would like to add it to.
Thumbnails and camera viewpoints
Thumbnails are used in the runtime application you create with Forma. Thumbnails can show a preview image for each variant that you have created. They let consumers easily toggle through various options in your configurator.
This video shows you how to use the thumbnail tool to create previews for the different materials in this project. Start by selecting the visibility variant you’d like to create the thumbnail for. Once selected, the variant details will appear. Under Type Material, click Thumbnail Editor to create a thumbnail for the visibility variant selected. The Thumbnail Editor window will appear showing a preview of the thumbnail.
To edit the thumbnail, move the variant to adjust the position and angle of your variant within the scene. When you’re happy with the placement, click Save Thumbnail Camera Orientation, and then click Populate Thumbnails. Forma will automatically populate thumbnails for all materials within the variant set.
Adding camera views
Watch the video above starting at 02:12 to get started with adding camera views or continue reading to learn more.
Use camera views to let consumers explore your products from different viewpoints and direct them to specific features you would like to highlight. Each camera view that you create will tell your configurator how to behave when something is selected. To add a camera view, select the Camera Setup tab in the left Configurator window. You will notice a camera is already present; this is a default camera that can be edited. You can also add new camera views by clicking + Add. Once you have added a new camera view, you can edit how it behaves in the camera settings lower down. Watch this video walkthrough to learn more.
Testing and publishing
It’s important to test your configurator before publishing it. This will allow you to see how the finished configurator will look and behave. Take a look at this short video to see how to test and publish your project.
Learn more about Unity Forma
Expert-led sessions on Unity Forma
Join us for our monthly webinar series to learn more about using Unity Forma and Unity Industrial Collection.
Unity Forma on the blog
Check out deep dives into Unity Forma features as well as tips and tricks on our blog.
Unity Forma forum
Connect with other Unity Forma users and Unity experts to have all your questions answered. Discover how other Unity users are creating 3D configurators.
Frequently asked questions
Do you have a question about Unity Forma but can’t find the answer? Our frequently asked questions might be able to help!