Version: 2021.1
Scene View Draw Modes for lighting
Importing Models

Supported model file formats

Unity uses the .fbx file format as its importing chain. It is best practice to use the .fbx file format when you import any type of model into Unity; however, you can also import Meshes and animation from the following types of files:

The following applications do not use .fbx as an intermediary. Unity converts them into the .fbx file format before importing them into the Editor:

For more information about importing these file formats, see the documentation on SketchUp Import Settings and SpeedTree Import Settings.

Exported 3D files

Unity can read .fbx, .dae (Collada), .dxf, and .obj files. These are the easiest files to import into Unity, because you can import them from software that Unity does not directly support, and you can also re-import exported .fbx or .obj files into your 3D modeling software of choice to check that all of the information has been exported correctly.

These kinds of files are also often smaller than the proprietary equivalent, which makes your project size smaller, and faster to iterate over.

Proprietary 3D application files

It is best practice to export to .fbx instead of directly saving your application files in your project, and you should not use native file formats directly in production. However, sometimes you might need to include these files as part of your project. Unity can import proprietary files from the following 3D modeling software, and convert them into .fbx files:


Unity does not provide built-in support for Cinema4D files. To use Cinema4D files in Unity, you should export them from the proprietary software as .fbx files.

Assets saved as .ma, .mb, .max, .c4d, or .blend files fail to import unless you have the corresponding 3D modeling software installed on your computer. This means that everybody working on your Unity project must have the correct software installed. For example, if you use the Autodesk Maya LT license to create an .mb file and copy it into your project, anyone else that opens your project also needs to have Autodesk Maya LT installed on their computer.

Optimizing your files

Before you import your files into Unity, there are a number of steps you should follow to ensure that your files are optimized in the best way.

Think about what you want to export: some sceneA Scene contains the environments and menus of your game. Think of each unique Scene file as a unique level. In each Scene, you place your environments, obstacles, and decorations, essentially designing and building your game in pieces. More info
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objects are essential but others might be unnecessary, so you can optimize the data in Unity by keeping only the essential objects. This helps remove unwanted data from your scene, and also means you can use a preset or custom scene exporter to automate or simplify the export process.

Preparing what you need to include

The following table outlines special considerations you should make for each asset type to work most optimally in Unity:

Object Preparations
Meshes All NURBS, NURMS, splines, patches, and subdiv surfaces must be converted to polygons (triangulation or quadrangulation)
Bake deformers Make sure that you bake deformers onto the models in your application before exporting to the .fbx file format. For example, if you want to export a complex rig from Maya, you can bake the deformation onto skin weights before you export the Model to .fbx.
Textures Make sure the textures in your application are either sourced from your Unity Project, or copy them into a folder called Textures inside your Unity Project.

Note: Don’t use the Embed Media option to embed textures into the .fbx file. Because Unity has to extract the textures before it uses them, embedding them enlarges your project and slows the import process.
Smoothing If you want to import blend shape normals, you must have smoothing groups in the .fbx file.

Setting the .fbx export options

Before you export the .fbx file, make sure that you use the latest .fbx exporter version that your 3D modeling application supports. When you export to .fbx, make a note of each setting in the export dialog of your 3D modeling application so that you can match up the .fbx import settings in Unity. Most .fbx exporters allow you to enable or disable exporting of certain animations, camerasA component which creates an image of a particular viewpoint in your scene. The output is either drawn to the screen or captured as a texture. More info
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, and lighting effects, so if anything is missing when you import it into Unity, check to see if it was exported.

Verifying and importing into Unity

Before importing your .fbx file into Unity, verify the size of your exported file. Perform a sanity check on the file size (for example, to see if it is larger than 10KB). Re-import your .fbx file back into the 3D modeling software you used to generate it (for example, into a new scene). Check to make sure it is what you expected.

To import your file into Unity, follow the instructions for Importing, keeping in mind how you set the export options in your 3D modeling software.

Scene View Draw Modes for lighting
Importing Models