Having never used Unity Forma before, Brett Wissemann brought a submarine configurator to life through months of planning and a passion for 3D.
Whether it was competing in drawing competitions, reimagining insects as vehicles, or teaching himself 3D modeling in high school, Brett Wissemann has always loved design and exploring new ways to broaden his creativity.
After completing post secondary studies in interactive entertainment, Wissemann went on to work in a variety of industries, including media and entertainment, automotive, toys and gaming – where he discovered real-time 3D for the first time.
Aspiring to broaden his knowledge of real-time 3D, Wissemann began learning to use new real-time 3D technologies, tools and plugins. When Unity Forma was announced, Wissemann was keen to try the new tool and committed to designing his own 3D model of a fully customizable submarine.
Wissemann drew creative inspiration for his product configurator from Google Images and Pinterest. Wissemann took snippets from the images and placed them onto a mood board, the biggest influence being The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.
Referencing the mood board, Wissemann used 3ds Max to experiment with combining simple shapes until he finally achieved his ideal silhouette of a U-shaped submarine.
Once the submarine silhouette felt right, Wissemann designed modules that would enable customers to configure the submarine into a custom research, luxury or sports build. This process raised practical design questions: “How many people could fit in this version?” “What kind of accessories would I offer?” “How would you lift and transport the submarine?”
These questions pushed Wissemann to take his submarine from a simple silhouette to a detailed model by adding more identifiable visual cues, such as propellers, navigation equipment, and ceiling hatches.
“When your reference for the detail is all the images you’ve collected, you begin to make something familiar, even if it has never been imagined in that way before,” says Wissemann. “You start looking for things that appear on real submarines and have real practicality. Giving someone a submarine that could provide them with a lot of utilities was my goal.”
Once Wissemann had all of the practicalities of his submarine figured out and was satisfied with the model he had created, the next step was to convert the model into a Unity asset using the Pixyz suite of data preparation tools.
Pixyz’ wide range of tools enabled Wissemann to model the submarine to a high degree of detail, reduce the polygon detail to his preferred settings, and import the model into Unity Forma.
After watching a few tutorials Wissemann was surprised by the ease of use of Unity Forma. Wissemann played around with Unity Forma’s functionality, then imported his model from Pixyz into Unity Forma and began working on textures, colors and lighting – the elements that really make a model spring to life.
“What I liked the most about Unity Forma was that many tasks, like adding buttons, settings, conditions and dependencies – things that would typically take me forever to figure out – were already templated and easy to drag and drop,” says Wissemann. “You can just create a button, duplicate it and assign it seamlessly. If you have an animation, the timeline feature is excellent. Everything looked great, and Unity Forma worked exactly the way I expected it to, without having to customize it.”
While Wissemann spent weeks exploring his concept and perfecting his submarine model, importing the model and building the configurator in Unity Forma took only three days.
“It was just so simple and flexible. I was able to easily jump between the Unity engine and Unity Forma, which gave me a lot of functionality to work with,” says Wissemann. “I can see the power of this. For people who have never used Unity Forma, once you get past the initial surprise of an interface that’s so simple, you realize just how much you can accomplish with this tool.”
Using Unity Forma, Wissemann was able to unlock major efficiencies by reducing the time and resources that are typically required to create interactive product configurations. His work on this submarine configurator is a testament to what creativity, dedication, and a powerful tool can accomplish together – without having to do any coding.
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*At the end of the 30-day trial period, unless canceled, the annual subscription cost of Unity Forma is $4,980 and will be automatically billed to your payment method on file. At the start of each annual cycle, you will automatically be charged for your Unity Forma license at the then prevailing rate (currently $4,980 a year). The annual cycle repeats every year until you cancel your subscription. To use Unity Forma, you will also need a subscription to the Unity Industrial Collection or separate subscriptions to both Unity Pro and Pixyz Plugins. Click here for more information and FAQs.