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Last updated on July 05, 2019

Producing VU.CITY-ready FBX models

Target audience: Users of 3ds Max, Maya, and Blender

There are several concepts you’ll need to familiarise yourself with to help understand what makes a VU.CITY-ready FBX file.

The following video demonstrates zeroing a model using a dedicated 3D modelling package (Blender), and how the location of the model’s origin / pivot is used when positioning the model in VU.CITY:

Note this workflow will look different and the terminology will vary from app to app.


Zero is an abstract reference point at the centre of 3D space where X, Y and Z all equal 0.  In much the same way we consider Earth’s position relative to the sun, a model’s position is considered relative to zero.

Zero is also referred to as World Zero, Origin Point, 0,0, and 0,0,0 in different applications.

Modelling packages generally display a grid in the centre of the 3D scene, and zero can easily be found at the centre of this grid.

VU.CITY uses zero in 3D space as a common reference point for zero in the grid coordinate system relative to your city (GBOS for UK cities, and ITM for Belfast). Therefore a model’s relative position to zero should be the same as your survey coordinate’s relative position to the origin of your grid coordinate system (this is illustrated further below).

Pivot / Origin

The pivot / origin of a model is used by VU.CITY to locate where your model is in 3D space. This is an important concept to understand when applying geolocation to an FBX file.

If for example your proposed site plan contains a survey coordinate, the location of that survey coordinate should be set as the pivot / origin of the model like so:

Geolocating for FBX

Once you have established the relationship between your survey point, and your model’s origin/pivot, you can then geolocate it by changing the world position of the origin/pivot like so: