Creating 3D Models and the importance of scale

For our final project for the trimester, I challenged myself to create some 3D assets for our game. Fortunately, we had a group of very talented animators doing most of the heavy lifting when it came to the models, but I still wanted to try it out myself. I started of by downloading a trial version of 3DS max, as I have used it once before.

Our game, Sticky Situation, is set in a backyard so I wanted to make a 3D model pot plant and add that to our game scene. How I pictured the pot in my head was a rectangle with a lipped edge around the top where the edges stuck out from the main rectangle. I started off by playing around with the cube tool, getting a feel for the camera movement.

After struggling with the cube tool, I made this odd contraption that slightly resembles a pot plant. I think.

As you can see, the top of the pot plant, is just 4 rectangles overlapping each other, which isn’t ideal, but it would work as a temporary model. After I exported the file as a .obj extension, I imported it into our Unity scene. This is where I encountered my next problem.

The pot plant’s scale is way off. I had to zoom out quite a bit to even be able to get it in the camera’s view. The temporary fix to this problem was to rescale it, at a texture to it and create a prefab, but I wanted to find out why it was so big.

The first thing I did was change the unit scale of my project, so that a 1x1x1 cube, is 1m^3. I then selected all the pieces of the pot plant, and used the scale tool to make the entire pot plant a scale of 10. In comparison, the original was approximately 60 units tall.


After that, I cleaned up some of the edges near the top of the pot plant, giving it a smoother look. I then exported it as a .obj, and imported into my scene. Here is the comparison between the original and the iteration.

All I needed to do now is add a texture, add some flower models the animators made and create a prefab so that we can now use it as a game object. After all this trouble with scale, I now know how important it is to take it into account. This also exaggerates the importance of an art bible so that the artists know what scale to make their models at so we don’t end up with a problem like this again.

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