This is the first part of a two series blog post. Read the second part about the Intricacies of Designing Interactions in Augmented Reality here.
We at Umbra are big believers in “markerless” Augmented Reality (AR). Simply put, the AR device you are using should be aware of your surroundings. So instead of having to revert to physical markers (such as QR-codes), your AR device should understand how a 3D model aligns with your surroundings [provided that you’re in that same physical location].
There are still a few small steps ahead before this is a reality on your iOS-device. Luckily, the direction Apple is moving with ARKit shows that they are already working on algorithms that, for example help recognize distinctive features of the world. Another welcome addition will be the rear-facing laser sensors to their phones which will also help with distance measuring, thus more accurate alignment of the 3D model against the world around you.
While we’re waiting for the aforementioned features to become a reality, we spent a bit of time improving the navigation and content alignment in our Umbra Composit Viewer. Even if our customers are already telling us that AR application has completely changed the way they communicate design, we’re not satisfied before we’ve managed to make AR somewhat of a second nature for everyone.
So let’s dive into what we’ve cooked up in our latest (1.5.1) update for iOS:Jump to desired location
Previously you needed to save a camera location in our WebGL viewer to a desired location in the 3D model and then open that up in the iOS application. Now you can just open up a model, switch to the Jump-mode and simply point where you want to go. Accurate and super handy, we promise!
Clipping the model
Since a lot of our customers deal with multistory content, we needed to figure out how could one jump to a point of interest located anywhere in the model. The solution we ended up with was to implement a simple clipping plane. As the name states, you can clip the model from top to bottom and jump to any location.
Aligning the floor vs. tracking surface
After jumping, the chosen [real world] AR tracking surface is automatically aligned against whatever horizontal plane you decide to jump onto in the 3D model. While you still have to manually align the last inches for a while longer, this alone makes the whole process way less painful than before.
Returning to Tabletop
We added a small button to quickly return you to the last non-1:1 scale. This makes the transition between tabletop and 1:1 scale rather smooth and helps you navigate around the model even if didn't have pre-saved camera locations available.
We hope these improvements help you be more successful delivering presentations and communicating design using Augmented Reality. In the next post we’ll dive a bit deeper into some additional intricacies of interaction design for augmented reality.
Try out these new features by downloading our free trial or logging into your Umbra account.
For more instructions on using jump mode in real scale, please visit our AR tutorial.