Making Blender Unity Friendly

 

This post is mostly intended for Unity developers that also use Blender but even if you don’t use Unity, these Blender settings may be useful to you.

If you work with Unity and Blender at the same time, it can be very confusing and frustrating if, for instance, the camera controls and the UI layout are not the same in both of the applications. To make matters worse, Blender also uses a different cartesian coordinate system where the Z-axis is up instead of forward which makes exporting models to Unity a bit of a pain, if you’re not used to it.
To make Blender behave a bit more like Unity there are a couple or steps that you can take. On this page you’ll find my personal blender preferences that I use for navigation in the 3D view as well as my Blender to Unity export settings.
On this page you’ll find step by step instructions to do this yourself or if you don’t want to go trough the trouble you can download my personal blender startup scene and exported input configuration here: github.com/Timanious/BlenderConfigFiles-Unity

Changing Blender Input settings

 

Adding a new Key-config Preset

Before you start changing things, make a new Key-config Preset by clicking on the plus button and give it a name, for example Unity:

Selecting with the left mouse button

Go to File > User Preferences.. and select the Input tab.
Enable Select with: Left on the left side of the window:

Mapping a different key to change the 3D cursor position

Go to File > User Preferences.. and select the Input tab.
Open the 3D View settings on the right side of the window and then the 3D View (Global) settings.
Change the key for ‘Set 3D Cursor’ by clicking on the box on the right side of the window and then press the key combination that you want to use instead. I have chosen Shift Cmd Right Mouse, which doesn’t seem to get in the way of other mapped keys:

Rotating the camera with the right mouse button

Go to File > User Preferences.. and select the Input tab.
Open the 3D View settings on the right side of the window and then the 3D View (Global) settings.
Change the key for ‘Rotate View‘ by clicking on the box on the right side of the window and then click with your Right Mouse button:

Pan the camera with the middle mouse button

Go to File > User Preferences.. and select the Input tab.
Open the 3D View settings on the right side of the window and then the 3D View (Global) settings.
Change the key for ‘Move View‘ by clicking on the box on the right side of the window and then click with your Middle Mouse button:

Saving the User Settings

When you’re done changing your input settings make sure that you press on ‘Save User Settings‘ all the way at the bottom of the window!:

 

Changing Blender’s UI layout

The way that you change the layout of the windows in Blender is a bit different from how it works in most applications, so it takes a little bit of getting used to but when you understand how it works it turns out to be a really elegant and efficient way of organising your windows.

Flipping header bars to the top of the view

The default position for menu bars or window ‘headers‘ is at the bottom of the window. If you want the menu bar of any window to be at the top of the window you can right somewhere in an empty area of the header and select ‘Flip to top‘ from the pop-up window:

Changing what a window shows

In Blender every window can be every other window as well. So if you want to change what an already existing window shows, you can simply press on the ‘Current editor type for this area‘ button that each window has in the left corner of the ‘header‘  (the window’s ‘menu bar’):

Creating new windows

In Blender every window has a couple of diagonal arrow-ish lines in the top right and bottom left corners that you use to drag out new windows or to close existing windows:

If you want to create a new window on the right-side of a existing window you can use the
arrow-lines button on the top-right of the existing window and click-drag it to the left:

To create a new window on the left side you do the same but drag the bottom-left arrow-lines button to the right and of course this also works for creating new windows at the bottom or top of existing windows.

Closing windows

If you want to close a window in Blender you have to drag another window ‘on top of’ the window that you want to close. So for instance if you want to close a window on the right side of another window, then click-drag the the arrow-lines from the top-right corner of the left screen horizontally to the right until you see a large arrow appear and then release the mouse button:

In the exception that you want to close one window that is underneath two other windows then you have to close one of the two windows that are above it first. This is a little bit cumbersome but there isn’t really a way around it:

Making Blender’s layout the same as Unity

If you want to have the same kind of layout in Blender as the Default layout in Unity you can put a ‘Outliner‘ window on the left side of the 3D View window (This would be your ‘Hierarchy’ view in Unity), a ‘Properties‘ window on the right side of the 3D View window (This would be the ‘Inspector’ in Unity) and a ‘File Browser‘ window on the bottom (This would be the ‘Project’ view in Unity):

When you’re done making changes to the layout and you want to keep those settings for the next time that you start Blender, then make sure to save your startup file by going to File > Save Startup File :

You can also save your layout as a preset by clicking on the plus button next to ‘Default’ in the main menu bar:

Blender to Unity FBX export settings

To export your models to Unity as .fbx files without having to mess with rotations and scale, first go to File > Export > FBX.
In the export window under ‘Export FBX‘ in the bottom left screen change the settings as in the example image below and when you’re done click on the plus button next to ‘Operator Presets‘ to create a new preset for the settings and give it the name Unity for instance:

 

When you’re done, press ‘Export FBX’ in the top-right corner.

Because you now change the rotation when you export you’re file you don’t have to rotate it differently in blender, so you can just have your models in blender use the z-axis as up!

Remember that you have to select your ‘Unity’ export preset that you just created every time that you want to export a model because Blender doesn’t save this!

Also remember that Because Unity can work with .blender files right out of the box so you won’t always have to export your models as .fbx files.

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