Cheetah3D provides the most useful features you need to get the job done, and organises them within a beautifully elegant user interface that's powerful, intuitive and quick to work with. Performing truly advanced operations in Cheetah3D will seem like second nature very rapidly. Cheetah3D packs a terrific punch for its tiny price. In fact, the program provides a level of productivity that you will be hard-pressed to equal in software ten times the cost!
Current Version: http://www.cheetah3d.com/download.php
Book: Learn 3D with Cheetah 3D 6
Unity Documentation: http://unity3d.com/Documentation/Manual/HOWTO-ImportObjectCheetah3D.html
Unity Scale Calibration
1 unit in cheetah = 1 unit in Unity
Cheetah3d is a polygon/subdivision modelling app, with its own set of custom "modifiers"
Cheetah can create 2 UV sets per model, but can only display 1 at a time. It has full support for lightmapping, including radiosity, AO, and colour baking.
Cheetah supports Bones, Inverse kinematics.
Cheetah supports Unity friendly bone-based animation, and object based keyframing. It is fully capable of creating bone based animated characters for Unity. Integrates just fine with Mecanim.
Exporting to Unity
If you save your Cheetah files into your asset folder and have your textures there too, Unity will automatically link the texture to the model. Apply Unity shaders to suit (Lightmapping etc).
What you see in cheetah is what you get in Unity, with the exception of cheetah's "Smart Folders" Move objects outside of smartfolders before saving final asset to Unity project folder.
For Unity to use Jas files it needs to have Cheetah3D on the same system. Unity uses Cheetah3D to convert the jas file to fbx. It is recommended to save files as native .jas format, for convinience. For files which may be edited in another app, export as .fbx (recommendation)
Importing a Terrain Heightmap
Getting a terrain heightmap exported properly can be a bit confusing. Hopefully this will help.
- Export your terrain from the Unity: Terrain -> Export Heightmap RAW ( Select 8 bit, WINDOWS )
- Open the resulting RAW file in Photoshop
- Image -> Rotate Canvas -> Flip canvas Vertical
- Image -> Rotate Canvas -> 180
- Save as tiff (no compression, pixel order interleaved, MAC byte order )
Now you can open Cheetah3d and import the terrain by creating a new Relief object ( Polygon -> Relief ) and selecting the tiff you exported previously as the texture for the relief.