With Augmented Reality, Whilst it may not directly contribute to my larger VR project, the medium was still interesting to explore as I’ve mainly experienced the format through mobile games such as FNAF AR or Pokemon GO with these games utilizing real world environments to create interesting set ups and mechanics that make these characters interact with the real world around them.
During my research into the capabilities of AR, I also noticed that AR could be used to advertise products or contacts such as the use of QR codes. QR codes, in our modern society, has been essential due to it’s accessible nature especially for users with visual impairments. With AR, by scanning a QR code, users could be greeted with a small animation alongside someone’s contact details to add uniqueness to any contact card or promotion.
In terms of games, as mentioned previously, AR can also be used to virtually interact with a real life environment. For instance, bringing art layers to life or having characters or different animations interact with the world around the user. AR is used primarily as an artistic medium in this case.
Creating AR using Zapworks and Unity
During this experimentation, I worked with Unity to create a small AR product that would allow users to scan a QR code so that when they used their camera over the image, it would pop up within that Unity environment
So I started off by setting up the Zapworks assets and plugins in Unity, adding in an image scanner, a rear facing camera and an image tracking target. For the image tracking target, it helps Zapworks identify the object when scanned, allowing the image to rotate or move alongside the user’s camera movements
Once I set up the environment, I adjusted the AR camera so that it’ll be able to scan and identify the image during the training process and added in an example image into the scene.
I also adjusted the workspace so the image scanner would be able to easily identify the AR trigger alongside adding the image as a tracking target.
Here is a video of the first part of the AR experimentation, This was just a test to help understand and experiment with Unity and Zapworks’s functions and capabilities. However, I wanted to add something further into the experimental AR project: adding in a 3D object that can interact alongside the image target.
So I created a seperate object using the plane mesh and added an extra drawing as a material. Along with this, I added some triggers to the 3D object so that the mesh would pop up along the image.
Here, I added runtime events that would allow the art to only be visible if the user’s camera was hovering over the AR trigger.
Despite trying on multiple attempts, unfortunately the 3D popup for the AR experiment was unsuccessful, but I’d like to continue exploring and improving this concept within the near future.
With this medium, I could definitely use and experiment this to further my art similar to my research prior. I could also potentially use this as a way to also showcase different art pieces for my portfolio or for any commission work with employers within the near future or even create some art and showcase them using the animation format. Either way, this medium within emerging technology could help users experience art through an 3D virtual lense and in the future, I’d like to experiment with this medium by mixing different 2D and 3D elements, such as this exploration piece, in order to present my art work in a visually engaging manner.