Please note that this article describes an older version of the Terrain Mesh Exporter. This tool was renamed to "Terrain Converter" in Gaia version 3.3.0 and up. You can find an updated documentation for the newer, improved version here:
The Terrain Mesh Exporter is an useful tool that allows you to export your unity source terrains in different output formats. You can turn the unity terrain into .obj files, turn them into meshes, convert them into a low poly style and more.
Please note: Converting your original unity terrains into a different format has the potential to alter your scene completely. Please make a backup of your project before starting to convert terrains to ensure you will not accidentally lose any work in the conversion.
Why use the Terrain Mesh Exporter?
- Exporting as an OBJ allows you to bring your terrain into another 3d modeling software for edits etc.
- Creating mesh terrains allows you to use alternative unity assets designed to run on meshes. It can also be interesting to achieve certain graphical styles
- Terrains can be converted into flat shaded meshes based on the current terrain texturing (perfect for low-poly styles)
- You can use the exported meshes as so-called "Impostor Terrains" that you use as replacement for full unity terrains in the distance. This allows for larger view distances without sacrificing too much performance. This is also integrated with the terrain loading in Gaia pro, so that these impostors will be switched out with the actual terrains automatically as soon as the camera gets closer.
- You can optionally only export the colliders of your terrain and objects, which can be useful for server builds.
To use the terrain mesh exporter, you can open the tool via
Gaia Manager > Advanced > Gaia Tools > Terrain Mesh Exporter.
Starting out: Using the presets
The easiest way to use the Terrain Mesh Exporter is to use one of the predefined presets. To do so, you can simply select one of the presets from the "Export Preset" dropdown, and click the start export button. The available presets are:
- Export the terrains to .OBJ files.
- Convert to a mesh terrain.
- Convert to low poly.
- Create imposter terrains.
- Convert to mesh terrains and create imposters.
- Convert to low poly and create low poly imposters.
- Bake Colliders.
- Custom (Unfolds the advanced options)
If you are curious about what a certain preset does, you can click the small "+" button next to the dropdown which will unfold the advanced settings. A preset is just a collection of pre-made settings. If you have a certain combination of settings you want to keep, you can save and load your own preset values with the Save and Load Settings button in the Advanced Settings.
As soon as you select a preset and click the "Start Export" button, the terrains will be exported with the selected settings. Depending on the settings this can take a bit, especially if you are running a scene with multiple terrains in it. After the export is done, the exported terrains should be displayed, and the original terrains are either hidden or stored in a backup scene. You can get your original terrains back by choosing "Revert Export". You can then choose different export settings and start the export again, which allows you to experiment with different export settings.
If you are not sure what a certain setting does, keep in mind that clicking the "Question Mark" icon in the top right corner in the window will display additional help texts for each field.
The options offered to Gaia Pro include: creating/ exporting impostors, converting terrains to low poly, convert to mesh and create impostors, and convert to low poly and create low poly impostors.