How to make a VR/AR floorplan (or any drawing) 3D easy & free

I could write a lengthy post about 3D literacy and why it’s important but instead of that I’ll try to teach you something, I hope you have fun creating!

Skill you will gain

Turning a 2D floorplan or drawing into a 3D model that you can explore in VR or AR.

Requirements

  • Inskcape ( free software, you can get it here ) for making an SVG.
  • An account in Tinkercad ( also free ) for making the model.

Step 1

Find a floorplan that you like or sketch something and get that picture on your computer. Open Inkscape and paste/import the image.

Step 2

Open the layers panel with this button. We want to make a new layer to draw on.

Step 3

Lock the layer the image you pasted is in, and then make a new layer. We don’t want to draw on the layer with the picture.

Step 4

Set the opacity of the layer with the image to 20% with that slider. That way we can see our drawings and the reference.

Step 5

Select the empty layer and pick the line drawing tool, hold Control to restrict lines to angles that are increments of 15° ( 15°, 30°, 45° … ) This makes it easier to follow the features of the floorplan.

Make sure that the shapes are closed, make as many shapes as you need to complete all walls. Curves are fine too.

In this case I needed two shapes in total.

Step 6

Remove the layer with the image once you are satisfied with your drawing.

Now save the file, it should be a “.svg” file.

Step 8

Login to Tinkercad and make a new design.

Step 9

Click the import button in the top right and pick your svg file. The result should look like this:

Holding the right button lets you rotate the view. Scrollwheel lets you zoom in and out. Hold middle button to pan.

Step 9

Click any wall to select the shape. A white square will appear in the center:

Click and grab that square up to give the walls the height you want.

Step 10

We can add windows and details easily by cutting and adding models. Grab the translucent cube from the right panel and drop it near the wall you want to make a window in.

Looking up close, we can see some arrows around the object, the arrow that points up is for moving the object in the vertical axis, the white squares for scaling and the curved arrows are for rotating.

Step 11

Grab the cube and lift it above ground, then scale it to form the hole that will become a window.

Do this for every window and door you want.

If we do the same but with the solid box it would add volume to the model instead of poking holes.

Added a simple table with cylinders and a floor with a box.

Step 12

Select all objects by grabbing from an empty space to cover all objects inside the selection rectangle.

Now click the group button:

Your model is ready to export. Go to the Export button that’s next to the Import button you used before and pick the “.OBJ” option. That’s your finished 3D model.

In a future tutorial I’ll teach you how to use it in WebVR.

You can use the same technique for any kind of 2D drawing that you want to turn into a 3D model.

Closing words

3D literacy is very important if we want to see VR and AR flourish, I don’t want the medium to be a passive one, the possibilities are endless but the barrier of entry is quite high. This process looks long but you’ll see how easy it is.

Make whatever you imagine and tell me on twitter @alfredofrlp !

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