Model Target Generator User Guide

The Model Target Generator (MTG) converts an existing 3D model into a Vuforia Engine database that can be used by the Vuforia Engine for Model Target tracking. This tool enables you to confirm whether the features of your model will be usable, to set up the initial snapping position, and then export the final database.

The database generated by the MTG includes renderings of the model from the Guide View (detection position), which you can use to create your own custom Guide View images that might be a better match for the visual style of your app than the default Guide View image.

Training Model Target databases

The Model Target Generator lets you define one or multiple Guide Views for each object and it allows you to merge different Model Targets, each with one or more Advanced Views, into a single advanced database. An advanced database is trained with the MTG through a cloud-based deep learning process that allows your app to automatically switch between multiple Model Targets, each with one or multiple Advanced Views with recognition ranges up to 360-degree at runtime.

For more information on data used in the MTG processes, please see Model Target Generator Data Processing.

Installing the Model Target Generator

Minimum system requirements

  • The Model Target Generator is supported on Windows and macOS. For more details on supported versions, please refer to the Supported Versions table.
  • If you are on an enterprise network, provide the MTG access to the * domain. See also Firewall Configuration.

Installation and Setup

The MTG is linked to your developer account and is launched by logging in with your developer credentials. For easy access over multiple MTG launches, the credentials can be stored in the Windows credential store or the macOS Keychain by checking the Remember Me box, and the credentials will be removed again when signing out.

Instead of using Vuforia Developer account credentials between team members, use OAuth2 client_id and client_secret credentials as the username and password. See Vuforia Web API Authentication on how to generate client credentials for your team. The generated client credentials must include the Create Dataset Signature scope for standard Model Target generation and Model Targets – All or Advanced Model Targets for advanced Model Target training.

The MTG is available from Vuforia’s Download Page.

The MTG is available as an installer for Windows (.exe) and macOS (.dmg). Download the installer and follow the steps to install the software.

For Windows

  • Open the downloaded installer and choose whether to install for one or all accounts and, thereafter, select the directory to install the Model Target Generator. A shortcut is automatically created on your desktop when the installation is complete.

For macOS

  • Open the downloaded installer and drag the installer file to the Applications folder to install the tool. For repeated use, you can create a shortcut on your desktop or pin the app to the start-menu.

A basic set of model converters is shipped with the MTG. If JT conversion is required for input, Creo View and the accompanying JT adapter need to be installed as well. Only when Creo View is able to import JT files can the MTG do so. The full list of supported formats is listed below.

As long as the source model is of a format that the MTG is able to import, no additional model conversion is needed. The MTG takes care of it automatically when a new project is created, or even when the source file is updated (assuming that the source file is still accessible at the location used upon project creation).

Model Requirements and Preparation

The MTG can read a variety of 3D file formats and convert them into Vuforia Engine’s internal mesh format. Consequently, any visual error in the model introduced in this conversion process will be displayed in the MTG viewport. Some source model formats can result in wrongly converted models since they are missing mesh information. Therefore, the MTG should be used to check whether the imported model corresponds to the source data. If there are issues, using a different file format may resolve them; if not, the source data may need to be cleaned up.

Vuforia Engine’s Model Target Tracking performs best on CAD models which have particular characteristics, such as the corresponding color to the physical object, are low in complexity, and when it follows our other best practices.

For more information, see Model Targets Supported Objects & CAD Model Best Practices.

Supported features

The import pipeline supports meshes containing:

  • Multiple sub-meshes
  • Vertex positions
  • Vertex normal
  • Vertex texture coordinates (one set only)
  • Diffuse solid colors
  • Diffuse texture colors
  • Normal maps

In case the input model provides more than the aforementioned information (e.g. additional texture coordinate sets), they will be ignored upon import.

Supported formats

The MTG supports reading of: Creo View (.pvz), Collada (.dae), FBX (.fbx), IGES (.igs, .iges), Wavefront (.obj), STEP (.stp, .step), STL (.stl, .sla), VRML (.wrl, .vrml), glTF 2.0. When Creo View Adapter for JT is installed, then JT data is also supported.

NOTE: The MTG for macOS does not support STEP (.stp, .step) and JT data files.

The best import results have been observed with Creo View Adapter, Collada, FBX, and JT.

NOTE: Supported texture formats on the models are JPG, PNG and PGM files in 32-bit, 24-bit and 8-bit.

Model preparation

When preparing the 3D model for the MTG, you will need to check that the scale of the digital and the physical object matches. Attempting to track a toy replica with the 3D model of the full-size object can lead to tracking failures in some instances. In order to be sure to get the best tracking quality, the sizes of the models and physical objects should match.

Model parts, geometric detail, textures, and model composition are all areas that should be reviewed to prepare your model for the MTG. See a detailed overview of recommendations and best practices including model complexity in Model Targets Supported Objects & CAD Model Best Practices.

Simplify models

If the 3D model is too complex, the model will need to be simplified in order for the computer vision algorithms to run efficiently on mobile devices in real-time.

You can use the Simplification tab in the MTG. It will upload the 3D model to the secure Vuforia cloud where its complexity is reduced.

Alternatively, you can manually reduce the complexity by lowering the number of polygons until the recommended input is accepted. See CAD Model Best Practices for those numbers.

Model Target Generator Interface

The MTG main interface on the Home Screen has two main parts: It consists of a list of your individual Model Targets that have been imported or created. Double-clicking on any of them will lead to the 3D viewer to edit the Model Target and its Guide Views. In the 3D viewer, a range of tabs are available for configuring your Model Target. In the right corner, a progress indicator shows if all options were addressed.

Create new Model Targets, import projects, and create Advanced Model Targets from the Create button.

In the left sidebar, you can switch to the overview of training sets for Advanced Model Targets including your configured, running, and finished training sessions. It is here you create and export one or more Model Targets into one trained Device Database or train an Advanced Model Target with Advanced Views.

The status bar on top of the Home Screen displays your available quotas to create Model Targets and advanced databases. A Vuforia Developer account with a Basic plan has a quota of 20 Model Target Generations and 20 training sets for creating Advanced Model Target Databases. Additional quota can be acquired through licensing. Please see the Vuforia Pricing page for more information.

See How to Create a Model Target for a step-by-step guide on creating a new Model Target using the Model Target Generator.

NOTE: If you are facing connection issues or receiving a ‘Service is not available. Please try again later.’ when using the desktop MTG application while in your enterprise environment, see Installing the Model Target Generator.

Using the Output Files

When a Model Target database is created the files created include dataset files (XML & DAT), Unity Asset Package, project file (VUP), a JSON configuration file, and image-pairs (PNG) of each Guide View.

For Unity development, you will use the Unity Asset package file. Import it into your Unity project and add and configure a ModelTarget GameObject to load your Model Target from the database. See the Introduction to Model Targets in Unity for more information.

For an app developed using the Vuforia Engine native SDK, load the DAT and XML into a Model Target Observer. See Model Targets API Overview for more information.

Optionally, use the PNG files as a baseline to design custom Guide View images that your app will use to guide users to correctly align the camera with the tracked objects in order to initialize tracking. If used, note that custom Guide Views need to be loaded and packaged separately by the application developer. See the Model Targets API Overview for details.

Guide Views

Using the Model Target Generator, it is possible to define one or more Guide Views for a Model Target, and to set the Target Recognition Range for each Guide View. For more information, see Model Target Guide Views and Advanced Views

Advanced Model Target Databases  

If you want to allow your app to automatically recognize different objects without displaying Guide Views, or if you wish to have one or more Model Targets with a recognition range up to 360°, you need to train an Advanced Model Target database.

This is done by a cloud-based training process from the Model Target Generator desktop tool. See Advanced Model Target Databases for more information.

Learn More

Model Targets Overview

How to Create a Model Target

Model Target Guide View

Advanced Model Target Databases

Model Targets Supported Objects & CAD Model Best Practices

Model Targets API Overview

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