Creating and Prepping Assets
Spark AR Toolkit for Blender 2.83 and 2.9

Spark AR Toolkit for Blender 2.83 and 2.9

A model of a chair. It is being created in Blender, using the Spark AR Toolkit.

Adding 3D objects to your Spark AR effects is a great way to create more immersive effects that take place in people’s real surroundings.

You can create your own 3D objects with tools such as Blender, a free and open-source 3D content creation suite.

Spark AR Toolkit is an add-on that you can use in Blender to optimize your 3D object and check it's ready to import to Spark AR Studio.

Use Spark AR Toolkit to:

  • Make your 3D objects more lightweight.
  • Set the height and the pivot point position.
  • Export quickly and easily.

This article is for people already familiar with Blender. Download the latest version here.

Older versions of Spark AR Toolkit are not compatible with Blender 2.9. If you downloaded the Toolkit before 25 September 2020, make sure to download it again from this page.

Installing Spark AR Toolkit

To install the toolkit:

  1. First, on the desktop version of this page, download the zip file by clicking the pink button labeled Spark AR Toolkit under Downloads on the right-hand side.
  2. Then save the compressed zip file to your computer, without unzipping it.

Then, in Blender:

  1. From the Topbar, select Edit and Preferences.
  2. From the Blender Preferences window, select Add-ons and click Install an add-on.
  3. Locate Spark AR Toolkit zip file on your computer and click Install Add-on.

Blender Preferences Window with Add-ons selected

To enable and start using Spark AR Toolkit:

  1. From the Add-ons menu, search for Spark AR Toolkit.
  2. Tick the checkbox to the left of Import-Export: Spark AR Toolkit to enable it.

Blender Addons menu with Spark AR Toolkit selected

You can now access Spark AR Toolkit via the Sidebar. To do so:

  1. Open the Sidebar by clicking the small arrow icon at the top right corner or pressing the N key. Shortcuts may vary.
  2. Click the Spark AR Toolkit tab.

Blender interface with example 3D armchair and Spark AR Toolkit accessed from Sidebar

Optimizing your 3D object

You can only use Spark AR Toolkit to optimize one mesh at a time.

If your 3D object is made up of multiple meshes, try combining all the surfaces into one mesh or optimizing each mesh individually before combining and exporting as one.

Select your mesh

Select a mesh to get started. It will then be listed in Spark AR Toolkit, under Mesh.

Spark AR Toolkit with Armchair mesh selected

Check triangle count

The Optimization section in Spark AR Toolkit displays your mesh’s current triangle count.

A checkmark to the right of the count will let you know that the triangle count is in line with the Spark AR Technical Guidelines.

Optimization section with checkmark to the right of triangle count

If you see a white exclamation point instead, the triangle count meets requirements, but the mesh will perform better if reduced.

A red exclamation point indicates that the triangle count is too high and you’ll need to reduce it.

Optimization section with red exclamation point

Reduce triangle count

Use the Reduce Triangles section to make your mesh as lightweight as possible without negatively impacting the visual quality of your 3D object.

Try reducing the triangle count by different percentages and checking that your object maintains its realism and shape before applying any changes.

For example, to reduce the triangle count by 50%, follow these steps:

  1. In the box below Reduce Triangles, enter the number 50.
  2. Press enter and check the appearance of your object from all angles.
  3. Click Apply to apply the changes to your mesh.

If you forget to hit apply any further optimizations you make will be applied to a still-heavyweight object. This could slow down the application.

 Using Spark AR Toolkit to reduce triangle count in 3D armchair mesh

Clean up

Next, under Clean Up Mesh click Apply. This will further reduce triangle count by repairing and removing geometry that could cause issues when exporting to Spark AR.

The clean up includes:

  • Deleting loose geometry.
  • Making planar faces.
  • Splitting non-planar faces.
  • Splitting concave faces.
  • Degenerate dissolve.

Scale and positioning

The scale and positioning displays your 3D object’s height and lets you adjust both the height and pivot position.

Set Height

A checkmark to the right of your object’s height will let you know that it follows the Spark AR Technical Guidelines.

 Scale and Positioning interface showing correct height

If you see a white exclamation point instead, the height meets requirements, but the mesh will perform better if reduced.

A red exclamation point indicates that you’ll need to reduce the height.

To set the height:

  1. In the Scale section, enter a value in the box below Height.
  2. Choose either centimeters, inches or feet from the dropdown menu to the right of the Depth box.

Scale section of Scale and Positioning interface

The default unit of measurement in Spark AR Studio is in metres. Learn more.

Set Pivot Point

Click Center or Bottom to shift your mesh’s pivot point to a desired position.

Pivot Point section of Interface with Bottom option selected

Exporting your 3D object

When you’re happy with the results, all you have to do is click Export Mesh to save your 3D object to your computer.

If the Export Mesh button is greyed out, your object is not ready to be exported and you’ll need to adjust the triangle count and try again.

Once you click Export Mesh, there’s no need to worry about file format and export settings, your 3D object will be ready to import to Spark AR Studio!

Export section of Interface with Export Mesh selected

Some users experience an issue when they try to optimize and export the same mesh multiple times. If you have this issue, we recommend first reopening the Blender project before applying any more optimizations and re-exporting your mesh

Adding your 3D object to Spark AR Studio

Once your object is exported, add the 3D object to your Spark AR project.

If you are used to working with Blender you can also learn how to use the Blender environment textures to add Blender image-based lighting to your scene.