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We have received a few blender models which we want to make configurable by our users on the web. What is the best way to export the 3D model for this kind of operations? We were thinking the best way would be to export the textures for each part of the model separately and then apply them on the model as the user selects the materials, but we're not sure if that's possible.

The reasoning behind this is that the models have too many combinations which would be hard to export as a whole UV map for the model for each and every one. Also, the content is meant to be used on the web and a whole new UV map has approx. 5MB, whereas the part of the texture for e.g. sofa's legs is significantly smaller.

User would start with the default combination (default materials) and should be able to select the material on various separate parts of the model (example: wooden legs, red seat, etc.). After that, user can choose to open the configured model in AR View.

For all of this we're using the <model-viewer> web component by Google if that's any help. Thank you in advance.

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The most popular format for web atm is GLTF, there is a Blender Addon for that.
Ofc. you cannot unwrap some vertices and ignore the rest, if you want separate UV Maps, you need separate objects (not files). Having an atlassed texture is always more perfomant than using multiple ones, not sure if that's an option in this case though.
It's probably easiest to separate the parts into different objects, use different materials on each part and set their textures individually.
if your UV Layout alone is 5MB, consider decimating your objects either manually or by using the decimate modifier.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Frederik for taking the time. I will surely try the suggestions. It would also probably be the best fit for the other cases where we'd like to replace a part of the model for the other part (like replace the furnitures legs for with some differently-shaped ones). I guess if we export the legs as a separate object we could do that easily. But, first of all, I need to make sure to learn how to export those parts as a separate objects. I'll make sure to mark it as the correct answer when I figure that out. Maybe you could provide me with some materials on how to separate that objects? $\endgroup$ – Dawid Zbiński May 26 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. As long as they are separate objects in Blender, they also will be in your GLTF. Give them appropriate names, so you can address them by script. I made configurator for Wedding rings, if you need consulting, let me know. $\endgroup$ – Frederik Steinmetz May 26 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you once again. I managed to achieve what I wanted and it gave me a good start for swapping various models parts (objects) in the model preview. $\endgroup$ – Dawid Zbiński May 27 at 10:05

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