How to Create a USDZ file for Shopify

How to Create USDZ files from Shopify product shots

With native support for browser based AR on iOS 12 here,  merchants on Shopify are now looking to add USDZ content to their product listings . The Shopify help pages give you the basic overview for taking the necessary reference photos to help a 3D artist create the USDZ file.

In this 3-Part article, I’m going to show you how to create the USDZ asset so it looks exactly like those reference product shots above.

Software required

  1. Cheetah 3D

Part 1  Creating the Mesh

The first step is to open up Cheetah 3D and using “Blueprint” mode add photo views for the , Front,  Left sides.  This allows us to build the mesh shape using the reference photos accurately.

We will start by adding a cylinder for the base of the vase. Set the sides to 8, which matches the vase. Just change the radius to match the reference photos. Then delete the top part of the cylinder leaving only the base.

 

Next you add a second cylinder polygon and scale the height & width by flicking between front & left views again until they match the reference photos exactly, the number of sections longitude should be set to 8 sides.  After getting the scale matching,  delete the top and base sections of the cylinder as you won’t need that part of the mesh.

Before bridging the base with the mid-section of the vase, we will need to add some subtle details. Notice how the outer edges of the sides are not parallel? We need to fix this before moving on. A quick fix is to use the scalpel tool and add a line down the middle of each side. This will allow us to drag the top and bottom points of that middle line to match the reference photos.

After doing that for the 16 points you mesh should look like this.

To bridge the base with the mid-section we first need to merge the top & bottom mesh into single mesh, then use the bridge tool to join the meshes together.

We now do the top vase stem by adding a cylinder polygon again, but this time we leave the sections longitude as the default 32,  and we scale the height & width & flick between front & left views again until they match the reference photos exactly. However, now because the bottom edge tapers inwards, we need to delete the top/base part of the cylinder, then select the bottom edge and move in to match taper.

After we taper the base edge the vase stem should look like this.

We then merge the top half  with the bottom & use the bridge tool to join them together.

We now use the shell modifier  to create the vase thickness to 0.2.  A nice touch is adding the bevel finish to soften the edges to match the reference photos.

Add the bevel around the edges using the bevel tool and selecting edges that require bevelling.

Another detail the raising of the inner edges.

Adding the bevel again.

 

The last detail is the top lip of the vase. Do a “ring cut” in the centre and drag the edge slightly upwards.

 

The finished mesh should look like the vase below.

 

 

In the 2nd part of the article I’ll show you how to create the texture maps.

 

 

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