Prepare Your 3D Models For AR

How to prepare and save your files as DAE for use in Augmented Reality

When preparing your file for use in Augmented Reality you need to ensure the following criteria are met. You can do this using your 3D software of choice or below you will find a tutorial using Blender, which is a free modelling tool.

  • Position your model at the center of x,y,z plane, preferably sitting flat on the plane and the correct way up
  • Scale your model in Metric units – Metres
  • Reduce the number of polygons as much as possible to keep the size of the file under a couple of Mbs
  • Use only latin characters in your filenames e.g. a-z, A-Z, 0-9
  • Export the file as a Collada DAE file

When the plugins and app convert your models to display in AR mode the scripts need to be able to access the nodes of your model in order to apply any textures. These nodes must be primary nodes for each part that needs a texture.

Single node and multiple texture

If there is only one node, and you wish to add multiple texture images to it, the way to handle this is to create a single image called a UV map where each face on your polygon object is tied to a face on the UV map.

Multiple nodes & multiple texture images

You can apply one texture image to each node and this image’s name should be same as node name.

Using Blender to save your model as a DAE file

We don’t need the cube that is automatically added. In the top-right panel, look for the Cube element, select it and delete it:

Next, go to the File → Import menu, you’ll have the option to choose among many formats.

Choose the format of your 3d file and locate it on your drive to import.

If your model does not appear in the center of the 3D space you will need to center it first, otherwise it will be difficult to position it correctly in the AR view.

Locate your model by rotating around the scene.

Orientate your model so it is sitting the correct way up.

Select the model name in the top-right panel and the Set Origin menu appears on the left, choose the option Geometry to Origin:

Your model should now have the origin at the center of it. You may want to move it so the base of the model is sitting on the horizontal plane.

Please ensure the units setting is set to Metric with a scale of 1.000 and that the Dimensions look appropriate.

If your model appears too large once in the AR view of the iOS app you can adjust the scale in Blender and re-export it, or you can use the scale drop down within the AR for WordPress and AR for WooCommerce plugin settings on your website.

If your file is large (> 2Mb) then it is a good idea to reduce the number of polygons in the model to reduce it’s file size. To do this you can apply the ‘Decimate’ modifier.

Go to the File → Export menu, and choose the Collada .dae format. In the next window, choose the texture options Include UV Textures and Include Material Textures:

Choose a location on your drive  and export your model there. You’ll see two files, the model in DAE format and the texture ready for import into the plugin.