Augmented Reality Production
Augmented Reality (AR) is a way of bringing digital content into the real world. Whereas Virtual Reality removes the viewer from their surroundings and places them in an artificially created environment, AR overlays digital media onto the real world around the viewer.
You’ve probably come across AR already without noticing it – Snapchat’s animated emojis, Instagram’s stickers/filters and Pokémon Go are all mainstream examples.
The image on the left is from one of our latest AR projects, for Selfridges, London. They had a giant virtual artwork by Jon Emmony suspended in their atrium. See the project here.
We produce WebAR, App based AR (iOS and Android) and social AR such as Snaplenses and Spark AR.
Scroll down to find out more about the different types of AR.
Types of AR
WebAR is augmented reality that happens through the web browser, without the need for an app to be installed. This means no app downloads and a quicker route to the experience for the end user. For this reason it’s usually the favoured approach for most of our clients. It does come with some caveats though, it’s not as good at world tracking (placing objects on flat surfaces) or detecting 3D objects, it’s also not so good for more advanced features such as ‘occlusion’ (placing AR behind other objects naturally in the 3D space of the environment) or dynamically removing people’s backgrounds from selfie based experiences. However, the friction to using the experience is minimal, so it’s still a great option.
The above picture shows a WebAR experience we built for Liverpool Football Club to celebrate their win in the premiere league.
WebAR is constantly evolving, it’s in a cat and mouse game with the phone OS providers that are constantly trying to restrict the capabilities of browsers and funneling people towards using apps. It seems Web AR is moving faster though, with richer experiences, better tracking and more recently, better sharing features too.
Social AR is augmented reality that can be experienced via some of the main platforms – Instagram and Facebook (Spark AR), Snapchat (Snaplenses) and now TikTok. The advantage to social AR is that there are very powerful tools already built that allow for advanced, fun and impressive AR, with minimal effort/cost. Also, of course, they are easily shared and usually pre-installed on the relevant demographic. The big catch with SocialAR though is the file size – experiences are typically limited to 4mb, this means experiences need to be simpler and usually more abstract rather than highly detailed.
The above picture shows the custom Mercedes G-Wagon from our ‘Project Gelandewagen’ experience. Here you can place the car anywhere through the Spark AR, Mercedes Instagram filter.
Social AR is a fast growing part of the industry especially with TikTok pushing AR hard and Snapchat’s brilliant new ‘Snap Landmarks’ filters that allow you to track famous historic locations such as the Eiffel Tower and Buckingham Palace.
App Based AR
The most powerful form of AR, app based AR allows for the full suite of features available, everything from utilising Apple’s lidar scanners to occlusion mapping and high end world tracking. If you can build or already have an app then this is where the most exciting features come in to play. We have built apps from scratch (e.g. Selfridges) and also integrated our content and experiences in other clients apps (BT Sport and Louis Vuitton). AR can be built natively or using Unity.
The above picture is from the BT Sport advert about the new AR features we put in to their native app.
How we work
1. Creative Consultation
All of our projects start with a call or meeting to discuss what it is you want to create using Augmented Reality, and what you hope it will achieve. Because AR is still a fairly new technology, there are often misconceptions about what it can and can’t do, and so our role at this point is to be clear and honest about your idea, whilst offering suggestions on how the project might work.
2. Product Scoping & Prototyping
Then we’ll get to work on a product scope – a detailed description of what it is we’re creating, the exact functionality it will have, and the associated timelines & costs. Once this has been agreed, we start building the first iteration of your product.
3. Production Review & Amendments
At regular intervals throughout the prototyping process, we’ll send you builds of the product to review and feedback on. This way, any issues are picked up quickly and changes made. Obviously it depends on the size of the project, but most AR projects take between 4-6 weeks.
To view some of our recent Augmented Reality projects, head to our Work page.