Working with Assets

In this article:

In Torch AR, each visual element that exists in your scene is an object. Each object is created from an asset, which is a piece of source content such as a 3D model, an image, or a video. If you think of an asset as an inked rubber stamp and your scene as a sheet of paper, the image created when you press the stamp to paper could be thought of as an object. Just as you can create multiple stamped images using a single rubber stamp, you can create multiple objects from the same asset.

Screen shot of the Torch interface with the Object drawer open

With a dog asset saved to your project, you can reuse that asset to create as many dog objects as you want in your scene. Each dog could then be configured to have different object properties—color, position, scale, and so on. You can use interactions to design an AR experience where the dogs react to the user’s presence.

Using the Object Drawer

The Object drawer is where you find collections of assets that you can use to create objects in your scenes. You can search vast libraries of 3D models. You can reuse assets from existing Torch projects. You can also import files assets from your device’s Camera Roll and most cloud storage services.

To open the Object drawer, tap the Object drawer icon (cube +) at the bottom of the screen. The Object drawer opens, displaying a row of assets that corresponds to the currently selected asset collection tab below.

Screen shot of the Object drawer icon highlighted at the bottom of the screen

Note: Depending on your device and whether you are working in portrait or landscape mode, you may need to scroll horizontally to see all the asset collection tabs.

When you create a new project, the Object drawer opens automatically after you set the World Anchor. The Object drawer will open to the Poly collection tab by default. While you are working in a project, if you reopen the Object drawer, it will open to the last tab you used. The default tab for the Object drawer is set back to Poly each time you open a different project or close and reopen Torch.

The next section describes the superstar of the Object drawer: the asset collection row.

Using the Asset Collection Row

The asset collection row is the area of the Object drawer where you see assets that correspond to the currently selected asset collection tab. You’ll find the six asset collection tabs below the asset collection row, along the bottom of the Object drawer. For any asset in the asset collection row, you can easily create an object in the current scene.

To add an object to the current scene from the asset collection row:

  1. If the Object drawer is not already open, tap the Object drawer icon (cube +) at the bottom of the screen. The Object drawer opens.
  2. Animated gif of the Object drawer opening when you tap on the Object drawer icon at the bottom of the screen

  3. Find the asset that you want to use in the asset collection row. If there are more assets in the asset collection row than fit on your screen, you can scroll horizontally to see more assets.
  4. Note: To create an object from an asset that is not displayed in the current asset collection row, you will need to locate that asset before continuing.

  5. Drag the asset up out of the Object drawer and into the scene. A new object is created from the asset. The new object is selected (highlighted in blue) automatically. A placeholder cube may appear in the scene while the object loads.

Tip: When dragging an asset up into the scene to create an object, drag directly up (instead of at an angle) until your finger is beyond the top edge of the Object drawer; then you can move the new object around freely.

A new object is usable immediately upon creation. You can start setting object properties for and adding interactions to a new object, even if it is still represented by a placeholder cube.

Note: When you add an object to your scene by dragging an asset from the asset collection row, the asset is automatically saved to your project. In this way, you can add an object to your scene and save the source asset to your project as a single step.

You can use the asset collection row when any of these four tabs are open: This Project, My Projects, Sketchfab, and Poly.

Understanding the This Project Collection Tab

When the This Project collection tab is selected in the Object drawer, the asset collection row displays all assets in the current project. This includes assets that have been used to create objects in the project and also assets that were saved for creating objects in the future.

Cropped screen shot of the open Object drawer with the This Project tab selected

From the asset collection row of the This Project collection tab, you can:

Note: On the This Project collection tab, the asset collection row is organized from most recently added to least recently added (left to right).

After an asset is saved to your project, it will remain in your project until you remove the asset. Simply deleting all objects that use an asset does not remove that asset from a project. However, if you remove an asset from a project, that will delete all objects that use that asset from all scenes within that project.

Note: If you tap the This Project collection tab and you see the message “No Results” instead of the asset collection row, your project doesn’t have any assets yet. That’s OK! The next section describes how you can find assets for your project.

Locating Assets for Your Project

The first step to locating an asset for your project is to determine which asset collection to use. You can search the huge Sketchfab and Google Poly collections for 3D model. You can reuse assets from your current project and your other projects. You can also import assets from your device’s Camera Roll and most cloud storage services. That’s a lot of options!

Which Asset Collection Should I Use?

Use this handy table to determine which asset collection to use for finding the assets you want and adding them to your project:

If the asset you want is a(n): Use this asset collection:
Asset from one of your other Torch AR projects My Projects
Asset from a Torch AR project that is currently shared to you My Projects
3D model that you created
(accessed via cloud storage, provider must support the iOS Files app)
Browse Sketchfab (requires Sketchfab login)
3D model that you will search for Sketchfab (requires Sketchfab login)
Poly
Image from your device Camera Roll
Video from your device Camera Roll
Image from your cloud storage account
(cloud storage provider must support the iOS Files app)
Browse
Video from your cloud storage account
(cloud storage provider must support the iOS Files app)
Browse
Audio file (Not currently supported)

If there are file types other than images, videos, and 3D models that you want to import through the Browse collection tab, send us an email to let us know.

Note: In addition to iCloud, all cloud storage services that support the iOS Files app will work with the Browse collection tab; these include Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, SugarSync, and Amazon Drive. You won’t need to use the iOS Files app to import assets into Torch, but you will need to download and log into the iOS app for your cloud service provider.

Understanding the My Projects Collection Tab

When the My Projects collection tab is selected in the Object drawer, the asset collection row displays the assets used across all of your projects. This includes assets in all projects currently shared to you by other designers. It does not include assets that exist only in the current project.

It’s helpful to think of the My Projects collection as a convenient way to reuse assets from other Torch projects for your current project. From the asset collection row of the My Projects collection tab, you can:

On the My Projects collection tab, the asset collection row is organized from most recently added to least recently added (left to right).

Note: Prior to Torch AR version 1.16, the My Projects asset collection was alphabetically sorted. For projects that were created before version 1.16, newly added assets will appear before (to the left of) any assets—still alphabetically sorted—that were added to the project using past versions of Torch AR.

Tip: To remove an asset from the My Projects asset collection row, open the project that contains that asset, and then remove the asset from that project. If the asset is saved to multiple projects, you’ll need to remove the asset from each of those projects individually. If the asset is from a project that is shared with you, you can remove yourself as a collaborator on that project to remove all of that project’s assets from your My Projects collection.

Using the Sketchfab and Poly Collection Tabs

In the Object drawer, you can use the Sketchfab and Poly collection tabs to find 3D models for your project. Sketchfab is a popular site that offers thousands of 3D models that you can use for free. Poly is Google’s entirely free library of 3D models. Between Sketchfab and Poly, you have access to a huge selection of 3D models when designing in Torch AR.

For each 3D model that you use from Sketchfab or Poly, remember to verify that the model has a license type which permits your intended use.

In order to search Sketchfab for 3D models through Torch, you must link a Sketchfab account to Torch. Conversely, you can search Poly for 3D models and add them as assets to your Torch projects without linking an account. If you want the widest selection of 3D models to choose from, it’s worth creating a Sketchfab account (if you don’t already have one) so you can search both Sketchfab and Poly for assets.

Linking a Sketchfab Account

To link a Sketchfab account with Torch AR:

  1. If the Object drawer is not already open, tap the Asset icon (cube +) at the bottom of the screen. The Object drawer opens.
  2. Tap the Sketchfab collection tab to open it.
  3. Tap the button with the text “Link to Sketchfab.” An alert appears with the text, “Torch” Wants to Use “sketchfab.com” to Sign In.
  4. Tap Continue and sign in to Sketchfab.

Cropped screen shot showing the Link to Sketchfab button

To disconnect a Sketchfab account from Torch, access the Profile & Settings through the My Torch menu and switch the Sketchfab toggle to the left.

Note: Even when a Sketchfab account is linked to Torch, only Sketchfab models that are both publicly available and freely downloadable can be accessed through Torch. Specifically, it is not possible to access private uploads or models from Sketchfab Collections or Likes.

Searching Sketchfab and Poly for 3D Models

You can use the search tool to discover 3D models in both the Sketchfab and Poly collection tabs. Search is also how you access specific models by name; this could be a model you uploaded to Sketchfab or one that you saw while browsing the Sketchfab or Poly sites.

Cropped screenshot showing the Object drawer open with the Poly tab selected

To search for a 3D model in Sketchfab or Poly:

  1. If the Object drawer is not already open, tap the Object icon (cube +) at the bottom of the screen. The Object drawer opens.
  2. Tap the Sketchfab collection tab or the Poly collection tab to open the asset collection row and reveal the search bar.
  3. Note: If you open the Sketchfab collection tab and see a button with the text “Link to Sketchfab,” you must link a Sketchfab account to Torch before continuing.

  4. Tap in the search box where the text reads, “Search for an asset in Sketchfab or Poly.” The keyboard opens.
  5. Enter a short description of the type of model you want, or the name of a specific model, and then tap enter. The asset collection row populates with search results for the currently selected tab.

From search results on the Sketchfab and Poly collection tabs, you can:

After searching Sketchfab and Poly, you can use the same search term to search the other collection. Simply tap the other tab to search there instead. You can switch the same search back and forth between Sketchfab and Poly as many times as you need to find the asset that you want.

Cropped screenshot showing the Object drawer open with the Sketchfab tab selected

Note: Only the most recent search term is retained. Neither past search terms nor results are saved. While searching, if you see an asset that you may want to use in the future, why not save it for later?

3D Model Licensing

When you use a 3D model from Sketchfab or Poly in your project, you will need to verify that it has a license type which permits your intended use.

Screen shot of the Torch interface with the Quick Project Settings button highlighted on the context menu

To check the licenses for each 3D model in your project:

  1. From Design mode, tap the Quick Project Settings button (two horizontal lines with two circles). The Project Settings menu appears.
  2. Tap Attribution & Credit List. Torch opens your default browser and displays the list of licensed assets in your project, the attribution and the license type. To visit the Sketchfab or Poly page for an asset, tap the asset name link.
  3. Screen shot of the Attributions window
  4. To return to Torch, tap the arrow in the upper left.
  5. Tap anywhere outside the Project Settings lightbox to close it and return to the design environment.

You can learn more about licensing and attribution of assets for assets from Sketchfab and Google Poly.

Adding Your Own 3D Models through Sketchfab

There are two options for adding your own 3D model to your project. One option is to upload your model to Sketchfab, and then search for it by name from the Sketchfab collection tab. For a detailed guide to this process, see Uploading Sketchfab Models into Torch AR. The other way to import your own 3D model into Torch is to save it to compatible cloud storage and access it through the Browse collection tab.

Importing Files from the Camera Roll and Cloud Storage

In the Object drawer, you can use the Camera Roll collection tab to import images and videos as assets from your device’s Camera Roll. You can also use the Browse collection tab to import images, videos and 3D models as assets from most cloud storage services including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, SugarSync, and Amazon Drive.

The Camera Roll and Browse collection tabs work differently than the other asset collection tabs; instead of asset collection rows, these collections each have their own interfaces. When you import assets from the Camera Roll or Browse collection tabs, those assets are added directly to the current project and displayed in the asset collection row on the This Project collection tab. From there, you can drag an asset up to create an object from it in the current scene just as you would any asset in an asset collection row.

Tip: If you are importing images and videos into Torch, there’s a good chance that you can benefit from some guidance on making the most of 2D assets in AR.

Using the Camera Roll Collection Tab

The Camera Roll collection tab of the Object drawer is the place to import images and videos as assets from the Camera Roll of your device.

Cropped screenshot of the Object drawer with the Camera Roll button highlighted

To import images or videos from the Camera Roll of your device to your project:

  1. If the Object drawer is not already open, tap the Asset icon (cube +) at the bottom of the screen. The Object drawer opens.
  2. Tap the Camera Roll collection tab. The full screen “Photos” interface appears.
  3. Tap the collection that contains the items that you want to import.
  4. Tap each item you want to import to select it. Each selected item will appear with a check mark on the lower right of its thumbnail. The number of items currently selected appears at the bottom of the screen: “[N] Items Selected”
  5. Tip: You can select items from multiple collections to be imported in a single step. From within a collection, you can navigate back up one level by tapping the arrow in the upper left of your screen. The items you’ve already selected will stay selected. Then you can navigate into another collection and select more items to import at the same time.

  6. When you have selected all items that you want to import, tap Done in the upper right of your screen. “Processing assets…” appears in the middle of the screen, and then the assets are added directly to the current project and displayed in the asset collection row on the This Project collection tab. For each item, a loading animation appears with the item’s file name first with “UPLOADING,” then “PROCESSING.”

Even while an asset is loading, you can drag the asset up to create an object from it in the current scene. A placeholder cube will appear in the scene as the asset for the object continues to load. You can start setting object properties for and adding interactions to the new object, even if it is still represented by a placeholder cube.

Note: If you add an asset to your project from the Camera Roll collection tab when that asset had already been added to your project, a duplicate asset is created. There is no relationship between these duplicate assets.

Using the Browse Collection Tab

The Browse collection tab of the Object drawer is where you import images, videos, and 3D models from cloud storage as assets. If there are file types other than images, videos, and 3D models that you want to import through the Browse collection tab, send us an email to let us know.

In addition to iCloud, all cloud storage services that support the iOS Files app will work with the Browse collection tab; these include: Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, SugarSync, and Amazon Drive. You won’t need to use the iOS Files app to import assets into Torch, but you will need to download and log into the iOS app for your cloud service provider.

Cropped screen shot of the Object drawer with the Browse button highlighted

There are two options for adding your own 3D model to your project. As with images and videos, you can upload your 3D models to compatible cloud storage to access them through the Browse collection tab. You can also upload your model to Sketchfab, and then search for it by name from the Sketchfab collection tab. For a detailed guide to this process, see Uploading Sketchfab Models into Torch AR.

Tip: If you want to add several images or videos to your project from cloud storage, consider first downloading them to your device’s Camera Roll. You can add assets from your Camera Roll to your project more quickly (and with fewer taps) than you can from the Browse collection tab. To take this approach, start by using the iOS app for your cloud storage provider to download your images and videos to your device’s Camera Roll, and then follow the process for importing assets from the Camera Roll.

To import a single image, video or 3D model from cloud storage to your project:

  1. (If necessary) From the iOS App Store, download the app for the cloud storage service that you want to use, and log in to that app.
  2. (If necessary) In Torch, open the project where you want to import assets.
  3. If the Object drawer is not already open, tap the Asset icon (cube +) at the bottom of the screen. The Object drawer opens.
  4. Tap the Browse collection tab. The Browse interface appears.
  5. If the cloud service that you want to use isn’t listed under Locations, tap Edit in the upper right. The Locations list will expand to show all available cloud services. A toggle and a move handle will appear next to each cloud service. Tap the toggle to enable the cloud service that you want to use, and then tap Done in the upper right.
  6. Screen shot of the iOS Browse interface

  7. Tap the cloud service that you want to use to open it and show its files and folders.
  8. Navigate to the file that you want to add as an asset to your project. You can import one asset at a time from the Browse collection tab.
  9. Note: If the file you want has a cloud icon next to it, that file has not yet been downloaded from cloud storage to your device. If the file is large and you select it in the next step, it may take some time to download before Browse will close. If you want to continue designing in Torch now and wait to import the file later, you can tap Cancel in the upper right at any time.

  10. Tap the file that you want to import as an asset. The file is downloaded to your device (if necessary), and then the new asset is added directly to the current project and displayed in the asset collection row on the This Project collection tab. For each item, a loading animation appears with the item’s file name first with “UPLOADING,” then “PROCESSING.”
  11. Screen shot of the Torch interface with the Object drawer open and the This Project tab selected

    Even while an asset is loading, you can drag the asset up to create an object from it in the current scene. A placeholder cube will appear in the scene as the asset for the object continues to load. You can start setting object properties for and adding interactions to the new object, even if it is still represented by a placeholder cube.

    Note: If you add an asset to your project from the Camera Roll or the Browse collection tab when that asset had already been added to your project, this creates a duplicate asset. There is no relationship between the duplicate asset and the original asset.

    Note: When you use the Browse collection tab in Torch to access cloud storage, that access is granted by the cloud storage apps you’ve logged into on the current device. If you later sign into Torch on a different device, you will need to also log in to cloud storage apps on that device before you can add more assets to your project using that device.

    Using Asset Collection Drag Targets

    When the asset collection row is visible in the Object drawer, you can drag downward on an asset to reach the asset collection drag targets. These drag targets appear in the area where you usually see the Asset collection tabs. The asset collection row is visible—and thus its drag targets are reachable—when any of these four tabs are open: This Project, My Projects, Sketchfab, and Poly.

    Using asset collection drag targets, you can:

Cropped screenshot of the Object drawer showing an asset being dragged

The following table illustrates the asset collection drag targets that will be available depending on which asset collection tab is open and whether you have any objects selected in your scene:

Table titled Asset Collection Drag Targets by Asset Collection Tab

The following sections describe how to use the asset collection drag targets and discuss a use case for each one.

Replacing the Asset for Selected Object(s)

When you’ve put a lot of effort into designing a scene, chances are that you will have configured object properties and interactions for objects in your scene.

Consider a scenario in which you’ve created a scene with multiple dogs, a mix of beagles and poodles; then later you decide that you want some of these existing dogs to be pugs instead. You might worry that you’d need to create new objects from a pug asset and manually reconstruct the intended object properties and interactions for those objects.

Have no fear of asset regret! When you select object(s) in your scene, you can use the Replace Selection feature to change only the asset for those object(s). Replace Selection preserves all existing object properties and interactions. When objects have complex object properties and interactions, Replace Selection is a huge time-saver for changing the asset of those objects.

Animated gif demonstrating how to replace an asset by dragging it to the Replace Selection button

To replace the asset for one or more objects with a different asset:

  1. Select the object(s) in your scene that you want to replace the asset for.
  2. Tip: You can use the Multi-select feature to select several objects and replace the asset for all of those objects at the same time.

  3. If the Object drawer is not already open, tap the Asset icon (cube +) at the bottom of the screen. The Object drawer opens.
  4. In the asset collection row, find the asset that you want use. If there are more assets in the asset collection row than fit on your screen, you can scroll horizontally to see more assets. If the asset that you want isn’t in the current asset collection row, you will need to locate that asset.
  5. Note: After you press your finger to the screen in step 4, keep it pressed to the screen until step 6 asks you to release.

  6. Drag the asset down towards the asset collection tabs. The asset collection tabs disappear, and the asset collection drag targets appear in its place.
  7. Drag the asset over the Replace Selection drag target. A circle appears around the Replace Selection drag target. In the scene, the blue selection highlight around each selected object turns into a red selection highlight.
  8. To cancel and not replace the assets of the selected object(s), drag the asset back up and release over the asset collection row. To continue with the replacement, release the asset over the Replace Selection drag target. Each selected object changes to reflect the new asset. After replacement, the updated objects remain selected so that you can continue to modify them as a set.

Tip: If you drag down on an asset from the asset collection row and the Replace Selection drag target is disabled, you don’t have any objects selected. Tap an object in the scene to select it and try again.

Note: When you replace the asset of an object, the replacement asset is automatically saved to the current project. However, the original asset of the object is not removed from the project.

Saving an Asset to the Current Project

While selecting assets for a project, sometimes you’ll notice an asset that you’ll want to save to your project for later--instead of creating an object from that asset right away.

For example, imagine that you have a scene with a dog, and you want to give a ball to the dog. You tap the Poly collection tab and search for "ball." From the search results, you choose a tennis ball asset and drag it from the asset collection row up to create an object from it in your scene.

In the Poly search results for “ball,” you notice a baseball asset that you also like. You could drag the baseball asset up into the scene to create a baseball object, but what if you don’t want a baseball in your scene right now?

You can use the Save Asset feature to add an asset to your project without creating an object from it. Even if the asset is later removed from the original source, you’ll still have your own copy saved in the This Project collection tab.

Note: When you import files from your device’s Camera Roll or cloud storage, these assets are automatically added to your project. (That is, you won’t need to follow these steps.)

Animated gif demonstrating how to save an asset without creating a new object by dragging to the Save Asset button

To save an asset to the current project:

  1. If the Object drawer is not already open, tap the Asset icon (cube +) at the bottom of the screen. The Object drawer opens.
  2. In the asset collection row, find the asset that you want to save to your project. If there are more assets in the asset collection row than fit on your screen, you can scroll horizontally to see more assets. If the asset that you want isn’t in the current asset collection row, you will need to locate that asset.
  3. Note: After you press your finger to the screen in step 4, keep it pressed to the screen until step 6 asks you to release.

  4. Drag the asset down towards the asset collection tabs. The asset collection tabs disappear, and the asset collection drag targets appear in its place.
  5. Drag the asset over the Save Asset drag target. A circle appears around the Save Asset drag target.
  6. To cancel and not save the asset to your project, drag the asset back up and release over the asset collection row. To continue with saving, release the asset over the Save Asset drag target. The asset is saved to the asset collection row of the This Project collection tab.

Note: If you drag down on an asset from the asset collection row and you see the Remove Asset drag target instead of the Save Asset drag target, congratulations! The asset is already saved to your project.

Tip: You can reuse an asset from another project without opening that project. You don’t even need to remember which other project the asset is from! You can save the asset to your current project directly from the Object drawer: Tap the My Projects collection tab, find the asset in the asset collection row, and then drag the asset to the Save Asset.

Note: When saving assets from the My Projects, Sketchfab, or Poly collections, attempting to save the same asset multiple times does not create duplicate assets in your project. Remember that you can use one asset to create multiple objects in a scene and across multiple scenes within a project.

Removing an Asset from the Current Project

When you have unwanted assets in your project, the This Project asset collection row may feel a bit cluttered. Torch does not remove assets from your project automatically.

Imagine that you have a dog house in your scene. When you decide that Fluffy is an inside dog, you delete the dog house object. Only the dog house object was deleted. Even without any dog house objects in your scene, the dog house asset will remain in your project until you use the Remove Asset feature to remove it from the asset collection row on the This Project tab.

Animated gif demonstrating how to remove an asset from your project

Now imagine a different scenario: Fluffy really enjoys playing with sticks and you’ve lavished Fluffy with gifts by adding many stick objects to your scene. When Fluffy is tired of the sticks, you decide to tidy up your scene and want to delete all the stick objects at the same time.

You might worry about needing to delete each stick individually. Since the sticks all share the same asset, you can delete them simultaneously by using Remove Asset to remove the stick asset from your project. If you do that, you will not be able to create any more stick objects in the future (unless you fetch another stick asset, of course).

To remove an asset from the current project:

  1. If the Object drawer is not already open, tap the Asset icon (cube +) at the bottom of the screen. The Object drawer opens.
  2. Tap the This Project collection tab. The assets for the current project appear in the asset collection row.
  3. In the asset collection row, find the asset that you want to remove from your project. If there are more assets in the asset collection row than fit on your screen, you can scroll horizontally to see more assets.
  4. Note: After you press your finger to the screen in step 4, keep it pressed to the screen until step 6 asks you to release.

  5. Drag the asset down towards the asset collection tabs. The asset collection tabs disappear, and the asset collection drag targets appear in its place.
  6. Drag the asset over the Remove Asset drag target. A circle appears around the Remove Asset drag target.
  7. Caution: Removing an asset from your project is permanent. There is no undo.

  8. Release the asset over the Remove Asset drag target. A confirmation dialog box appears with text that reads: “Remove [name of asset] from this project?”
  9. If the asset is not in use by any objects, the text will also read: “Are you sure?”
  10. If the asset is in use by one or more objects, the text will also read: “This asset is used in [count] scene(s). Removing it will also delete all objects that use it in those scenes.”
  11. Tap Cancel to keep the asset in your project. Tap Remove to permanently remove the asset from your project.

Tip: If you drag down on an asset from the asset collection row and you see the Save Asset drag target instead of the Remove Asset drag target, you aren’t viewing the collection for the current project. The asset you tried to remove may (or may not) be in your project. Here’s how you can check: Tap the This Project collection tab and check the collection asset row for the asset that you wanted to remove. If you find the asset, you can remove it by dragging it down to the Remove Asset drag target. Remember that if there are more assets in the asset collection row than fit on your screen, you can scroll horizontally to see more assets.

Note: Deleting all objects in a project that use an asset does not remove that asset from the project. However, removing an asset from a project will delete all objects that use that asset from all scenes in that project.

Tip: To remove an asset from the My Projects asset collection row, open the project that contains that asset, and then remove the asset from that project. If that asset appears in multiple other projects, you’ll need to remove the asset from each of those projects individually. If the asset is from a project that is shared with you, you can remove yourself as a collaborator on that project to remove all of that project’s assets from your My Projects collection.

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