Learn how Google's Poly works with Unity EditorXR

Staff Writer By: Matt Schoen, Unity


Learn how Google's Poly works with Unity EditorXR | VR, AR, Google Poly, Unity, EditorXR, game development,

With our launch of Poly for Unity EditorXR and Google's new Poly Toolkit for Unity, you can now import Poly models directly into your VR project. Get ready to explore thousands of 3D assets on Google's Poly that will spark your imagination and help you build great experiences.

Note that Poly for Unity EditorXR (developed by Unity Labs) is currently under experimental status. This particular implementation is not officially supported by Unity and any upcoming changes to Google's Poly Toolkit could break the package.

If you're not familiar with Google's Poly, it allows artists and developers to download 3D objects created on Tilt Brush and Blocks, and then use them in their own apps on any platform for free. There are thousands of Tilt Brush sketches, Blocks objects and 3D assets available for your Unity project, and you can mix various models or even customize and bring them back into Tilt Brush.

Galactic Cat by 3Dominus - Poly Enter the Deep by Karl Channell - Poly
Blocks Truck by Chris Ross - Poly Mountain // Bunker // Cave by Danny Bittman - Poly

Google's Poly API

Today, Google released the Poly API, which gives developers direct access to the growing collection of 3D Poly assets directly within Unity, allowing them to search, download and import Poly objects dynamically across desktop, mobile, VR and AR or traditional 3D applications.

Poly Toolkit for Unity plugin

Google has also made available the Poly Toolkit, a Unity Editor plugin available on the Asset Store. This plugin allows Unity creators to easily import and use any Poly model directly in Unity. Once you install the Poly Toolkit plugin, you just need to download the package, click the model you want to import, and it shows up in your scene.

Poly for Unity EditorXR plugin

As part of Unity Labs' Poly support, the team has extended access directly into EditorXR with the Poly for Unity EditorXR plugin, which was built with your AR and VR development in mind. With the latest version of EditorXR and the Poly Toolkit, you can easily discover and download thousands of free 3D objects and scenes, and it is fully integrated with Tilt Brush and Blocks, meaning you can quickly grab what you want and add it to your scene.

This marks one of the first examples of cross-compatibility among major VR creation apps. Unity is thrilled with this breakthrough, as it will benefit creators in the VR community who are hungry for exploring new possibilities.

Getting started

Here are some useful resources to help you get started. Note that to use Unity EditorXR you'll need a Vive or an Oculus Rift.

For more information about Google's Poly and their Poly Toolkit for Unity, check out these additional resources:

  • Google's Poly Toolkit for Unity: Download this directly from the Asset Store and start using thousands of Poly 3D assets in your Unity projects.
  • More about Google's Poly: Get additional information about Poly for artists and developers and how to make the most of the Poly API.

Accessing Poly 3D assets with Unity EditorXR

After installing the necessary resources, pick the Poly workspace from the main menu. You'll see a grid of featured assets shared by Blocks and Tilt Brush users. Just like the project workspace, you can scroll and scale the grid, and click-and-hold to grab any models that have loaded their previews. Larger models take time to download and import, so we represent them with cubes and thumbnails. Once you click a cube to start downloading its model, the label turns blue and displays "Importing..."

Importing a Poly 3D asset directly into Unity EditorXR

Feel free to click a few more cubes, scroll the list and grab other models while waiting. When the import completes, the cube will return to its original size and the model will preview when you hover the ray over the cube. At this point, grab the model and place it in the scene.

Panel options and filtering by Blocks and Tilt Brush models

Beyond just scrolling and grabbing models, you can sort and filter the list using the UI on the front of the Workspace. You can sort by newest or most popular, and filter by format, complexity, and category. The Poly Toolkit handles web requests and model imports, and will intelligently cache downloaded models and resources, up to a maximum file size, which you can configure in the Editor's main menu under Poly -> Settings.

Limitations and user feedback

Because this workflow is new and experimental, we have made a few key decisions that are VR-specific:

  • Importing assets and instantly making them Prefabs causes frame drops, which is unacceptable for VR, so assets are only added to the scene. If you want to turn them into Prefabs, we recommend you do so via the 2D editor.
  • The import process can occasionally cause a second or two of frame drops on completion. We're working with Google on a solution, but in the meantime, we recommend you choose smaller assets to import directly in VR, and import large assets one at a time.

We'll be regularly providing updates and add-ons, and welcome any and all feedback. If you have suggestions or general comments, please add an issue on GitHub.

Creating and sharing your work

There are thousands of beautiful creations waiting for you to explore, remix, and incorporate into your projects. Be sure to share your screenshots and progress GIFs on social media with #poly and remember to add @Unity3dwhen you do. We're excited to see what you make!

Note that all of the content in the Poly API is available through a Creative Commons license and is free to use in whatever you create. Just be sure to give the proper attribution.