🛢️🛢️🛢️ How to create LODs with Blender and use them with Unity

Tutorial / 17 June 2022

In this article we will see how to create LODs with Blender and use them with Unity. LOD stands for Level Of Detail and is an optimization technique to reduce hardware workload by reducing the number of polygons of the meshes that are distant from the camera.

When an object is far from the camera, details will not be seen, but if LODs are not used, the GPU will still calculate the number of polygons in the distant mesh thus leading to unnecessary workload and impacting the performance of the scene. But thanks to the LODs technique the polygons will be reduced so that optimal performance will be achieved in real-time rendering.

By name convention you assign LOD0 to the original mesh and then increase the number by reducing the geometry.

Let’s create LODs with Blender!

We can create LODs by reducing the geometry manually or through the use of a modifier, in this case Blender’s Decimate modifier. It’s useful to reduce geometry manually when we need to maintain a clean topology, such as for characters, organic shapes or anything that needs to be deformed or animated. Instead, for static objects, like game props, we can make use of decimation modifiers. 

✔️ To create LOD1 we make a copy of LOD0 with Shift+D

✔️ We add the Decimate modifier and set the ratio value to 0.6

✔️ We add the Weighted Normal modifier if shading artifacts occur 

Then we repeat the same process for LOD2 and LOD3. We duplicate LOD0 and create LOD2 by add the decimate modifier with ratio 0.4 and LOD3 with the decimate modifier and ratio 0.15

How to use LODs with Unity               

At this point you can export to FBX format our LODs and use them with Unity.               

We organize the Unity project with all the necessary folders. In particular, the Textures, Meshes (containing the imported LODs in fbx format), Materials folder and Prefabs folder were created. 

The textures folder contains the textures with the 4K, 2K, 1k and 512 dimensions that will be used with the LODs. The LOD0 will have the material with 4K textures loaded, the LOD1 at 2K and so on. 

✔️ We move LOD0, LOD1, LOD2 and LOD3 to the hierarchy panel of Unity.

✔️ Then we select LOD0 from the hierarchy and add a LOD Group component from the Inspector panel.

✔️ Now we have to select the respective slots named LOD0, LOD1 etc. (to add a new slot right-click on them and Insert Before) click on the add button and add the corresponding LODs present in the hierarchy we created with Blender.

We can then drag our lod0 into the prefabs folder to create a prefab that we can easily reuse in the scene with the loaded LOD Group. 

In this article we looked at How to create LODs with Blender and use them with Unity

So that’s it as far as creating LODs with Blender is concerned. Stay tuned for new posts!

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🖱️ Blender Selection Tools - Tutorial for Beginners

Tutorial / 13 June 2022

Blender Selection Tools

In this article we will look at Blender Selection Tools and learn how to select and deselect objects in the 3D viewport

In the left toolbar (keypad N) you can select the Select and Activate Items button. If we hold down this button it will be possible to choose different modes of selecting objects, including Select Box, Select Circle, Select Lasso. To select objects in Blender’s 3D Viewport we will just left-click on them. 

Selection of all 3D objects 

Pressing Shift+Left mouse button will allow multiple selection of objects. We can select all the objects in the scene at once by pressing the A key, and with the Alt+A key it will be possible to deselect them. We can also press A twice fast enough to deselect. 

It’s possible to select some 3D objects in the viewport and then reverse the selection with Ctrl+i.

Box, Circle and Lasso Select

By activating box selection, you will be able to create a selection box by dragging the left mouse button, and everything inside that box will be selected. We can create a multiple selection with the selection box by holding down the Shift key. Instead, it’s possible to deselect by pressing Ctrl.

It’s possible to call up the select box more quickly with the shortcut b. When we use shortcut b for the selection box it will be possible to deselect 3d objects by holding down the middle mouse button. 

Then we have the circle selection mode, which can be invoked with the shortcut c. We can enlarge the radius of the circle by simply scrolling with the mouse wheel. It will be possible to deselect by holding down the middle mouse button. 

And finally we have the select lasso. This will create a select lasso by holding down the left mouse button and dragging. With the select lasso we can create multiple selections of 3D objects by pressing Shift and deselect by pressing Ctrl. 

Blender selection tools – Some tips for selection in edit mode

The selection methods we have seen so far in object mode also apply to in edit mode to select vertices, edges, and faces. 

And here are some suggestions for selection in edit mode. You can select an entire loop by pressing Alt+Left mouse button.

If we need to select a contiguous area, instead of selecting individual faces with Shift, we can select them in one go. By selecting the first face and then the last one while holding Ctrl

To select faces alternately more quickly, we can select the first face then the second and then press Ctrl+Shift+ the + key on the numpad.

In this article we took a look at the Blender Selection Tools

So that’s it as far as Blender Selection Tools are concerned. In future articles we will look at some advanced selection techniques, so stay tuned!

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🍷 How to Create a Realistic Wine Glass with Blender for Beginners.

Tutorial / 02 May 2022

🍷 Create a Realistic Wine Glass with Blender!

Hi ArtStation dudes! I'm Francesco Saviano from 3D Skill Up. Today we're going to see how to create a realistic wine glass with Blender.

Almost everything around us in real life can be traced back to simpler, more primitive shapes like cubes, cylinders, spheres, etc. With this principle in mind we can begin to model starting from simple shapes and then arrive at increasingly complex and detailed forms. This phase is known as blockout.

🖼️Let's start with a reference

Although in this case a glass is a very simple shape, it is always a good idea to start modeling with a reference image in the background or in front of us. In this way we won't have problems with proportions and our 3d models will be more realistic.

In Blender we insert an image in the background adding it from the menu add -> image -> reference (shift+a shortcut)

Let's start modeling the wine glass!

Once we have inserted the image in the background we can start modeling the wine glass. We start with a cylinder, enter edit mode (tab key to switch from edit mode to object mode) scale on z, place it at the base and then extrude and scale following the profile of the glass in the image. We then remove the top face.

Let's add modifiers!

At this point we can add the modifiers:
✔️Subdivision Surface

Solidify will give thickness to the wine glass while subdivision surface will give it a better shape by subdividing the mesh..
Remember to apply the shade smooth in object mode by clicking with the right mouse button -> shade smooth.

We then place some edge loops (ctrl+r) to give the appropriate shape to the glass.

Then let's create the liquid part for the wine.

We must apply the Solidify modifier, in the modifiers stack select it and use the shortcut Ctrl+a to apply it

To create the liquid part that will represent our wine, we select in edit mode the inside of the glass up to a certain height, duplicate the selection and separate it creating a new piece.

In Edit Mode, once selected the faces we are interested in, we duplicate them with Shift+D and then separate them pressing p->Separate Selection

Now let's recalculate the liquid normals. Just select the whole piece in edit mode by pressing the a key (select all). Then press alt+n to open the Normals menu and recalculate the normals.

🔥 It's time to create your glass and wine materials!

Glass Material

To create the glass we will use the PBR Principled BSDF shader of Blender, in this way we will have a physically correct material. Let's move to the Shading workspace, select the glass in Object Mode and create a new material. I called it mat_glass.

In the Principled BSDF Node we set:

✔️ Transmission to 1

✔️  Roughness to 0 

✔️ Base Color to pure white.

In Blender Properties, in the World Properties tab, load an HDRi by selecting in Color->Environment Texture. Also remember to change the rendering engine from Eevee to Cycles if it is not already set.

Wine Material

In the same way we create the wine material. Select the mesh in object mode and assign a new material mat_wine. As for glass we set transmission value to 1 and roughness to 0. For this liquid we will additionally use the:

✔️ Principled Volume node

necessary because otherwise the liquid would look too clear and clean. Instead it needs some consistency, some depth. 

Then we insert the Principled Volume node from the Shader Editor pressing Shift+A then Shader->Principled Volume. We increase the density and change the color absorption. In this way we will absorb part of the light as it passes through the volume, creating a more "dense" liquid. And that's what we were looking for!

💡 Let's set the lighting and launch the rendering!

We insert a floor and a camera and use the three-point lighting type. We add a key light shifted to the left about 45° from the camera. We add a fill light to the right at 45° from the camera, and a back light behind the object. The light intensity should be set like this 100% key light, 50% fill light and 20% back light.

We use a warm color for the key light and a cool color for the fill light so that we have a nice warm-cold transition.

🔥 Then in the Render Properties tab set the samples to 150 plus denoise and start rendering!

🍷 And here's how to create a realistic wine glass with Blender! 

▶️ If you want you can follow the whole process on YouTube (🇮🇹 Italian audio with 🇬🇧 English subtitles)

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