Easy Voxel Art for Unity

April 25, 2017

Before reading this article, please see this short animation:

http://i.imgur.com/ENAEv2c.gif

And this is voxel. Basically, voxel art is like pixel art but in 3D. Instead of having pixels in a 2D canvas, you add 3D units to the space. These 3D units are commonly small enough and always the same size. As usual, people with a lot of talent & imagination create awesome worlds with this art style…

…Like a Zelda Remake.

But today we are not here to rant about people with talent, but to create original awesome characters (and worlds too) ready to use in our unity projects.

Do you remember MS Paint? we are using a similar tool to build our models, it is named MagicaVoxel and the most important: it’s free!

Once you became acquainted with this application and all its tools, you need a character model with the famous “T pose”.

http://i.imgur.com/Km2tf2V.gif

This is me creating a cheap mario clone, watch the complete video here.

There’re a couple of details you should take into account when designing your character model:

If you followed previous tips, your character might look something like this:

http://i.imgur.com/qJOIvNm.png

Export your character in obj format. Now you are ready for the next step.

Create an adobe account if you haven’t, and browse to Mixamo.com. Upload your model (.obj file) and start with the auto-rigging tool. Set the anchor points like this:

http://i.imgur.com/f1Zm58r.png

Please note the dropdown selection at the bottom side. Selecting “No Fingers (25)” for Skeleton LOD is essential. Otherwise your model won’t be processed correctly.

If your model is different, or the auto-rigging tool doesn’t recognize the character properly, just try again moving the anchor points around the places they suppose to be. When the model rigging is done, you should be able to see it in movement. It works like magic!

Let’s give a try to the animations. Luckily, Mixamo has A TON of different animations. Most of them have configurable parameters to fit almost every model. I didn’t have issues with mine.

http://i.imgur.com/vRaHzi2.png

Take all what you need, create a pack and download it as FBX for Unity (.fbx):

http://i.imgur.com/7PvpbHT.png

Import this package on unity and you are ready to rock. Remember to import the texture generated by MagicalVoxel as well or your model will look dead 😁.

Extra stuff you need to do:

Now unless you need very specific animations, you won’t need a designer/animator to make original-looking videogames anymore!


TL;DR

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