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Is it better to shade a model inside the 3D modeling software or inside Unity?

As an example, if I need to use a transparent model, should it be made transparent inside the modeling application or inside Unity?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What problem are you trying to solve? It's hard to answer if something is generally better. Better for a specific situation is much easier to answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Jul 11, 2014 at 18:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ My concern at the moment is use of a transparent object, What do you think will be better? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dinal24
    Jul 12, 2014 at 4:12

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Shaders in 3D art applications almost never have anything to do with shaders within the game engine. The parts of the model that carry over are fundamentals like the mesh geometry.

That said, fairly standard stuff like an alpha channel in the texture (to make parts of the model transparent) usually operate the same way in both places. Alpha transparency and diffuse color are about the only two things that you can make this assumption about.

In other words, create diffuse texturing and alpha transparency in your 3D art application so that you can see what the model will look like in Unity, but realize you'll be setting it up again (this isn't hard, just telling Unity which image to use for transparency) within Unity.

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Is it better to shade a model inside the 3D modeling software or inside Unity?

Any effects brought by shaders in your modeling software have to be recreated in Unity, those won't be carried over. When you import a 3D model into Unity you import structural data (geometry, material info, texture coords and in some cases the list goes on, for example, Unity recognizes and applies modifiers from .blend files).

As an example, if I need to use a transparent model, should it be made transparent inside the modeling application or inside Unity?

Model your art without making it transparent, then make it transparent once it gets in Unity. To make a model transparent in Unity you will have to use a shader that supports transparency. Unity comes with a few, including Transparent (Bumped) Diffuse, which you'll probably use most often.

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