Introduction to Model Targets in Unity

This guide walks you through the process of importing and working with Model Targets in Unity. Import your Model Targets from databases and start designing and developing AR experiences to augment your products.

Get Started with Model Targets by trying our Vuforia Core Samples that are also available in the Unity Asset Store. The samples include two scenes, one for Model Targets and one for Advanced Model Targets. Create your own Model Targets with the Model Target Generator (MTG) and import its database as a .unitypackage into Unity

Set up Unity with Vuforia Engine and Model Targets

See Getting Started with Vuforia Engine in Unity if you are unfamiliar with Vuforia Engine in Unity. We recommend having the physical object present to test the tracking quality and digital content with a webcam or a device.

Setup Vuforia Engine in Unity

  1. Create a new Unity project. For supported Unity Editor versions, see Supported Versions.
  2. Add the Vuforia Engine package to your Unity project as explained in this article.
  3. Replace the default Main Camera with an ARCamera from GameObject -> Vuforia Engine -> AR Camera.
  4. Obtain a License Key for your project. Please refer to the Vuforia License Manager guide on how to obtain a Vuforia Engine license key.

    NOTE: Device tracking is enabled by default. It is recommended to use Device Tracking with Model Targets.

Add a Model Target to your scene

If you haven't already done so, generate a Model Target database using the Model Target Generator. You will be importing the .unitypackage file generated from the MTG tool. Alternatively, a default Model Target database with the Viking Lander can be imported by creating a ModelTarget GameObject before importing a database. 

  1. Select GameObject -> Vuforia Engine -> Model Target. A default Model Target database comprised of the NASA Viking Lander with two Guide Views (front and back) can then be added if no Model Target database was detected.

  2. If you have your own Model Target generated, import the database by selecting Assets -> Import Package -> Custom Package… and select the .unitypackage file.

TIP: You can verify that a database was added from the overview in the Vuforia Configuration (Cmd+Shift+V/Ctrl+Shift+V).

TIP: Disable the model extraction from databases if you only need to track the targets.

Configure the Model Target

A Model Target GameObject needs a Database and Model Target assigned to it from the Inspector panel. A preview model representing the Model Target will be shown in the Scene. The purpose of this model is to aid you in placing an augmentation relative to specific parts of the physical object itself - it is only visible in the Scene view of the Unity Editor and it will not appear at runtime. The preview can be hidden by disabling the enable Visualization in Model Target Preview component.

  1. In the Inspector window of the Model Target, verify that the Physical LengthPhysical Width, and Physical Height fields match the dimensions of your real-world object, in meters. Size differences between the physical object and the Model Target is known to affect tracking quality.

  2. Add a cube or other content as a child to the Model Target GameObject.

    TIP: You can import content for the Viking Lander or the toy vehicle through the Vuforia Core Samples package.

  3. Test your Model Target with Vuforia’s Play Mode in Unity by pressing the Play button in Unity. Or, deploy the app to your device.

Tracking configuration of the Model Target 

Model Target tracking can be optimized to your object type and purpose with a motion hint and tracking mode. The Model Target’s parameters can be set in the Motion Hint and Model Type menus in the Model Target Generator. However, the value can also be manually overridden in Unity. Please see the article Optimizing Model Target Tracking for details on the tracking mode and motion hint for Model Targets.

Configure Guide Views for a Model Target

A Model Target is generated with one or more Guide Views for initializing tracking of an object from different angles; see Guide Views for details. In Unity, you can select which Guide View to show from the Model Target Behaviour component of the Model Target if it has multiple Guide Views.

NOTE: Advanced Model Targets don’t require a Guide View. See Configuration for Advanced Model Target Databases in the section below for more information.

  1. Choose between your Guide Views from the dropdown Guide View. At runtime, with the GudieView2D mode enabled, an outlined representation of the object is rendered on the screen – this is the Guide View. It disappears when the matching object is detected.
    • Override Detection Position creates an empty GameObject that can be used to replace and position the Guide View in world space.
    • Custom 2D GuideView Image lets you replace the Guide View with a custom image in Texture 2D format.

Guide View mode

The Guide View Mode defines how the Guide View is rendered. 

  • NoGuideView will not render the Guide View on the screen. Use this mode for adding your own application logic to present target detection.
  • GuideView2D renders the pre-configured Guide View.
  • GuideView3D is for HoloLens or Magic Leap applications for rendering a 3D model representation of the object and the detection position.

Manually switching between Guide Views

If your Model Target has multiple Guide Views, you can switch between them at runtime in a custom C# script with SetActiveGuideViewIndex():

// The index to activate must between 0 and mModelTarget.GetNumGuideViews()-1
var guideViewIndexToActivate = 0;
/* Or, set Guide View to activate by string name */
string guideViewNameToActivate = "Front";
/* Afterwards you should set the guide view display mode */
mModelTarget.GuideViewMode = ModelTargetBehaviour.GuideViewDisplayMode.GuideView2D;

Configuration for Advanced Model Target Databases

Advanced Model Targets use the same ModelTarget GameObject. An Advanced Model Target database is trained through the Model Target Generator. For more information refer to these articles: Model Target Generator User Guide and Advanced Model Target Databases..

The setup of Advanced Model Targets is similar to standard Model Targets, with exception of the Guide views.

  1. Go to GameObject -> Vuforia Engine -> Model Targets -> Model Target to create a ModelTarget GameObject in your scene. Select the newly created GameObject in the scene hierarchy window.
  2. In the Inspector window, select the Database dropdown menu and select your imported Advanced Model Target database.

  3. If you are using multiple Models in one database, then you may choose between the Model Targets stored in the database in the Model Target. Switch between the models as you add content to the models. Keep in mind that all content must be child objects of the ModelTarget GameObject.

NOTE: Unlike standard Model Targets, Advanced Model Targets are automatically detected without first displaying a Guide View on the screen.

But it is good practice to display some general guidance to the user to identify the object that can be tracked. The following code shows how this could be done. See other best practices on the Model Target Guide View page.

if (mModelTargetBehaviour.TargetStatus.StatusInfo == StatusInfo.INITIALIZING)
   // All model targets in the scene are initializing, display custom UI here

Configure the ModelTarget GameObjects and add content to them as you would with other Model Targets.