Digital agencies

Starting a career in augmented reality

Augmented reality is steadily claiming its spot not only in the digital universe but also in the career field. How can you leverage your existing skills to start a new career in AR? Here are seven smart ways to begin with.

You’ve always wanted to make your own augmented reality app. But the time, money, and coding skills required to build one have kept you from realizing your dream. Or what if you’ve been successfully building AR social filters and now consider turning it into a full time job? There are many ways to level up your career and kick off a promising future as an augmented reality expert. 

Start off as a junior developer, then move into AR

To make the most of your career, you’ll want to start off as a junior developer, then move into augmented reality. 

Some skills you’ll want to develop include: 

  • Programming. The first step on this path is learning how to program in a language that can be used for both AR and mobile app programming. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at some online resources like Udemy or FreeCodeCamp
  • 3D Modeling and Graphic Design. Understanding how 3D models work is essential if you want to create compelling digital objects for users. You should also have an eye for design if you intend on creating user interfaces or other visual elements that are essential parts of any great experience using AR technology. Learning how 3D models work is easy with online courses like those offered by Google’s Udacity program. There are also plenty of free resources available online. 

Level up from game designer to AR game designer

There are many ways to level up your career as a game designer and kick off a promising future as an AR game designer. 

It’s important to understand the difference between AR and traditional video games. Video games that use AR technology allow players to see their surroundings while playing the game on their device or computer screen. In other words, they interact with virtual objects that appear in real-life settings while still seeing through their physical eyes rather than looking at a screen alone. 

This form of gameplay has been used for years by Nintendo’s Pokemon Go and Microsoft’s HoloLens headset but has only recently gained popularity among gamers worldwide. To kick off the transition, dig into Augmented Reality for Everyone course that FreeCodeCamp provides.

– Consider becoming a 3D modeler

It’s a good starting point for anyone looking to get into augmented reality, 3D printing, CAD, VR and animation. Your skill set will most likely already has a lot of crossover with the gaming industry and engineering fields.

– Get creative with your experience in graphic design

Being a graphic designer can be a great entry point into augmented reality. Graphic designers are skilled in visual communication and often have experience with tools like Photoshop and Illustrator, which are used to create 3D models. This can come in handy when designing AR experiences because these apps and games often use 3D models as visuals. 

Graphic designers can also take their skills in designing 2D layouts and apply them to creating the user interface (UI) for an app or game—for example, designing buttons on the screen or menus that users will interact with using gestures on their smartphones or tablets. Keep this in mind when applying for jobs at companies that create AR applications! 

– Work on your design skills to become an industrial designer

If you want to work in augmented reality, there’s no better place to start than with industrial design. As an industrial designer, you’ll be tasked with creating objects that are functional and appealing, but also new ways to use technology that most people haven’t considered before. This requires a great deal of creativity and imagination—but also means that once you’ve got the hang of things as an industrially-trained designer, it will be easier for your ideas to get off the ground. 

If this sounds like something that interests you, consider getting into industrial design. You’ll need some training in engineering first (which is always helpful), but then all it takes is hard work and perseverance on your part. 

As augmented reality continues to grow, there are many different types of jobs that you can do with the technology. Here are some extra ideas to explore:

Business managers are responsible for overseeing an AR company’s overall operations and ensuring it is profitable. They might be tasked with hiring employees or finding new ways to promote the company’s products.

Content developers create software programs or other content for AR applications. This type of work includes writing code, building 3D models for games and apps, creating graphics for game engines like Unity or Unreal Engines, conceptualizing ideas for apps and games through sketches or illustrations, creating user manuals and instruction guides, managing databases used in development projects. 

According to Karl Hughes, there are even more career paths that software developers can take.

Looking to get started? Here are even more resources:

With all of the technology and growth in augmented reality, you can make a career out of it. We hope this article has given you some insight into which skills will help you succeed in the field and how to start building those skills today. Remember that it takes time and effort to build a successful career, but with persistence and passion for what you do (and no matter what age), it is possible!

We’re all about the future of augmented reality, and we want you to be a part of it! 

Digital agencies

4 ways AR transforms the customer journey

The digitalization of the customer journey is an inevitable leap for every brand. AR is here to help!

Digital transformation has been fueled by a series of events in recent years, making brands think on their feet and reactively adapt strategies on all levels. The customer journey has become one of the areas in the limelight.

While the pandemic imposed restrictions on daily lives and affected purchasing habits, the online dwelling time has propelled, giving the marketers a solid reason to take a closer look at emerging technologies such as AR.

Brands worldwide show that digitalization of the customer journey is a necessary step. Luckily, advanced technological solutions are here to help make a leap. Thanks to its versatility, AR solutions gradually become a vital component in accompanying the customer throughout the entire sales funnel and beyond.

Awareness: advertising of tomorrow

Starting from the very top of the funnel, marketers could use AR to boost brand awareness and customer engagement.

Let’s take advertising. AR-powered ads that we know and love rolled out just a couple of years ago. Snapchat pioneered programmatic AR ads in 2017. This pushed other social media giants like Facebook and Instagram to catch up on the trend and present their take on using AR in advertising. According to Digiday, TikTok gets ready to introduce a new AR ad format soon.

What started as a beta-testing for selecting industries, was rapidly scaled and implemented on a broader scope, based on raving feedback of advertisers and end-users. As AR technology becomes progressively light-weight, various platforms can integrate solutions without additional workload.

For customers, “seeing is believing” is synonymous with AR commerce. As brands tell their stories in new ways, customers experience products and services in simulations that feel real. With social distancing coming to stay for a while, trying things out through AR or learning about the product without physically visiting the store becomes vital.

The transit through customer journey stages gets streamlined and leads the prospects directly to the next stage.

Interest: a new dimension of customer experience

After the attention is caught, how do the brands spark interest and make a customer spend time exploring more? Immersive AR solutions make it possible. Advertisers who chose to tune in, receive a new toolset, powerful enough to flip the established paradigm of customer-brand interaction.

The AR industry provides technology to seamlessly create new customer and brand experiences on a larger scale.

A bonus for agencies and marketers is the high adaptivity of the AR solutions, meaning they could be customized for each industry’s specifics. Powered by cutting-edge AR products, brands leverage their ROI and supply customers with digital content that can be directly engaged with.

The level of interaction with such content is unprecedented and goes well beyond reading and liking. Given that augmented reality allows adding any digital content to the real-life environment, it sparks genuine emotions that no video or image could beat.

Desire: expanding functionality

Growing in functionality year to year, AR moves from a single-use experience to becoming a connecting tissue for many uprising technologies – such as AI, machine learning, and robotics.

Being less hardware dependent than VR, augmented reality proves to be a go-to solution that offers a lot of ways for deployment while being more user-friendly and highly customizable. Customers already carry AR-powered devices in their pockets (aka smartphones), creating an additional touchpoint to deliver experiences anytime.

Thanks to AR features such as Object Tracking, users can freely move around and actively interact with 3D content. Instant tracking allows the experience to take place literally everywhere – from the screen of the user’s smartphone or laptop to physical objects around, like buildings and city infrastructure. AR solutions open a new dimension of indoor and outdoor advertising.

Action: show and shop

Now, that the customer is attracted and engaged, how can we harness that attention and convert it to engagement and sales? AR comes in handy not only to present the product but also to add branded content of various complexity, showcasing product functionality and innovation.

With 3D instructional overlays, customers can visualize and learn more in real-time: be it a particular campaign or brand’s mission. Imagine allowing customers to try things virtually. Let’s say, verify if a piece of furniture fits in the room.

With AR, you can go a step further and even guide the assembling of the product. The augmented reality experience can spread throughout the entire customer journey, creating a comprehensive roadmap for brands to act on.

Design Ar GIF by Wikitude - Find & Share on GIPHY

Augmented reality solutions have the power to reimagine the customer journey as we know it. From harnessing customers’ attention by creating unique experiences that spark a genuine interest to boosting engagement and driving sales – this technology has it under its belt.

How are you leveraging AR in your customer journey? Let us know in the comments below.

Dev to Dev

APIs: scaling up AR capabilities

An API (Application Programming Interface) allows applications to communicate. Serving as an access point to an app, API enables users to access a database, request and retrieve information, or even alter data on other applications.

In this article, we get you familiar with the functionality of the Wikitude Studio and explain how you can benefit from using Studio API in your AR app.

Introduction to Wikitude Studio API

Wikitude’s Studio is an easy-to-use, drag and drop, web-based AR content manager. Using Studio, you can easily create two types of targets(image targets (2D items) and object targets (3D items)) to further augment for your JS-based app. On top of that, you can add simple augmentations to test your targets and their position. 

Not sure if the image target quality is good enough? Use the rating indicating the quality of an image target as a guide. Wikitude Studio API also enables conversion of image target collections to cloud archives and their management, making it possible to work with cloud-based recognition instead of on-app recognition. You can create and host your AR projects in Studio and link them directly to your app without exporting and pushing app updates.  

What does the Studio API do? 

Studio API allows you to access all the functionality mentioned above without logging in to Wikitude Studio. You can have your app or system programmatically communicate with the engine behind Wikitude Studio. The keyword here is “programmatically,” meaning the flow enables simplified app development, design, and administration and provides more flexibility. In practical terms, it allows users to quickly scale up and integrate AR capabilities into existing architecture. 

How can Studio API benefit your business: use cases

Now, let’s see some real situations where Studio API can come in handy.

  • Create the project for each of the targets your customers upload in your CMS

Studio API can be integrated into your own CMS, making it easier to maintain collections and content automatically. Say you run a printing photo service and an accompanying app. The end-customer can upload pictures and add digital content associated with that photo: a video, a song, an animation, or GIF. By scanning a printed image with the app, the customer can access an AR experience that enhances a memory or a moment captured on the photo. 

Creating the image targets, assigning augmentations to the targets, and publishing content can be managed programmatically, enabling you to design the user interaction the way you want to. 

Similar functionality could be used by a postcard service, corporate merchandise producers, and other services. 

  • Easily manage image targets and have your app make updates in the background  

When working with fast-changing content, numerous images, and heavy augmentations, we discourage storing your targets and augmentations in the app. Offline recognition will force you to redeploy the app frequently and make the size of the app massive. That’s where Wikitude cloud-based recognition comes to the rescue.

Imagine a publisher (just like issuing analog books and magazines with an extra AR layer. Such a service can have one app giving access to all the AR experiences associated with each printed item. As the new books and magazines are published, the publisher simply programmatically adds fresh digital content to the server, making it available for the users in the app via cloud-based recognition.

Wikitude cloud-based recognition provides an opportunity to work with a target collection containing up to 50,000 images. Otherwise, you are limited to 1,000 target images per active target collection, and only one group can be active at a time. This flow can lead to a longer recognition speed, and the end-user will need to switch manually between collections. The functionality could be extended to many other fields, such as education, tourism, art, and culture.

  • Integrate the AR functionality with already existing architecture and automatically grab data from that closed system 

The Studio API can also be used for 3D items. By having the 3D models and the material file of a machine, a robot, or part of an assembly line, you can use that information and render images of that specific machinery. The Studio engine will automatically process those images via the API to create object targets, while the API will help position augmentations. 

Using such AR experience lets employees detect and precisely localize malfunctions on the production line by grabbing data from other parts of the system, such as live sensors, measurements, and machinery history. The factory can leverage its existing training material or repairment specifications and overlay AR instructions on the machines, reducing the time required to identify and fix issues. 

Wikitude Plugins API 

The Plugins API allows extending the Wikitude SDK by 3rd party functionality. It enables users to implement external tracking algorithms (such as image tracking, instant, and object tracking) to work in conjunction with the Wikitude SDK algorithms. Additionally, you can input camera frame data and sensor data into the Wikitude SDK, which will take care of the processing and rendering. Our compatible plugins are written in C++, Java, or ObjC and can communicate with JavaScript, Native, and Unity plugins. Please note we currently don’t provide support for the extension SDKs like Cordova, Xamarin, Flutter. 

  • Integrate with OCR and code readers 

What else can you achieve? The Plugins API can trigger AR content via QR code and barcode reader or add text recognition. Our client Anyline‘s text recognition API allows apps to read text, gift cards codes, bank slips, numbers, energy meters, and much more. The company’s solutions have been used by Red Bull Mobile, PepsiCo, and The World Food Program.

Anyline barcode reader

  • Build remote assistance app by leveraging Wikitude’s instant tracking  

Typically, our engine is set up to recognize targets in the camera feed. With the Plugins API, you can set specific images as input rather than grab them from the camera feed. Where does that come in handy? That is an implementation-specific for remote support solutions, where one needs to broadcast a user screen to another user. Scope AR used this functionality when launching WorkLink Remote Assistance, their AR remote assistance tool. They required a markerless tracking provider to complement the plugin they created, and we were happy to support it with our technology.

  • Augment the human body 

Another use case that we’ve often encountered is adding face detection, hand detection, or body detection. To use it, you need a library specialized in one of those detection functions and plug Wikitude in it. It will take over the processing and rendering of AR content. Watch our detailed face detection sample to learn more.

Connecting with a face tracking library via the Plugins API is not the only way to create this type of AR experience in combination with Wikitude. Alternatively, you could access Face and Body tracking from ARKit or ARcore via AR Bridge in our Unity Expert Edition SDK.

Wikitude AR Bridge

As you already know, an API (Application Programming Interface) allows applications to communicate with one another. Wikitude’s AR Bridge, part of the Unity Expert Edition SDK, has similar functionality: it provides access to the tracking facilities of other native platforms, e.g., ARKit and ARCore. The AR Bridge enhances Wikitude’s image and object tracking by tapping into external tracking capabilities. There are two options:

  • Internal: this is a direct communication to ARKit and ARCore maintained by Wikitude and, at the moment, it offers basic positional tracking (no plane detection or more advanced tracking); 
  • Plugin: allows an indirect connection to any tracking facility, pre-existing or written by developers.  As an example, we provide integration with Unity’s AR Foundation plugin. 

We provide a ready-made plugin for Unity’s AR Foundation that developers can use immediately. The plugin uses AR Bridge to inform the SDK about tracking. All current and future AR Foundation features work similarly to what we referred to as 3rd party libraries in the Plugins API context.  

However, plugins can be developed by anyone, not just by Wikitude. For example, a company is building glasses with its tracking system and integrating with Wikitude. Since they are not using ARKit or ARCore, the internal AR Bridge won’t be a default. Instead, they can create their plugin and have this custom solution work fast inside our SDK.

Ready to start building today? Access our store to choose your package or contact our team to discuss which license is the best match for your AR project.


Augmenting the future: interview with Martin Herdina

Martin Herdina talks about Wikitude joining the Qualcomm family, growing together with the developer community, and why the future of augmented reality is headworn.

Running a start-up needs strong vision, grit, and persistence. Running an augmented reality start-up? Double that up and mix in a profound belief in an extraordinary team that can accomplish anything.

It started with a vision

Thirteen years ago, we set out on a mission to pioneer the augmented reality industry. As a team of engineers, researchers, product and business people from all walks of life, we came together under the Wikitude’s roof to pursue our curiosity and see what happens if we take another step towards our vision.

Our belief has always been that AR will drastically shape the future of how we consume information, and we worked hard to make that vision a reality.

Our belief has always been that augmented reality will shape the future of how we consume information, and we worked hard to make that vision a reality.

A fair share of wins (some smaller, some larger) in the market showed us that we are on the right path (even though things have been tough sometimes). Wikitude spearheaded the industry when we launched the world’s first mobile AR app. We’ve created tools that have become the go-to technology for developers worldwide.

Using our AR SDK, Wikitude customers and developers applied augmented reality across industry verticals, creating billions of apps and use cases. Through community’s tireless efforts, our vision of augmented reality has been taking shape!

The ultimate dream

But the final frontier was still ahead – not only making augmented reality accessible for everyone but turning it into the most natural experience that hardware can allow. Since 2013, when Wikitude started supporting wearable devices, we’ve been dreaming of headworn AR.

While smartphones serve as an important step, smart glasses would completely remove the friction of looking down on the small screen.

And this is where Qualcomm steps in. The company plays a special role in the XR ecosystem, having continuously shown interest in the XR segment, investing in the next generation of chips and reference hardware. We’ve been working together since 2019, integrating our AR SDK into Snapdragon® XR Platform, showing a glimpse of how the next generation of spatial computing will look like.

Now, when augmented reality hardware and technology have advanced to the point where both started to gain commercial traction, we are excited to join forces and accelerate the enablement of custom experiences powering the next generation of AR glasses. It’s a very exciting journey ahead, where together we’ll set the stage for a thriving AR ecosystem and mass-market adoption.

The future of AR is headworn

For years, we’ve been tailoring our SDK to support a number of headworn devices to enable flawless tracking and help users discover the potential headworn AR experiences can bring.

Why headworn? We believe it provides a basis to experience the true immersiveness that augmented reality is all about. Something that no smartphone can ever bring. Using AR headsets, users can see the augmented world around the same way they experience the real world. See-through displays allow a wide field of view while you have your hands free and can freely move around, collaborate, work and play with immersive experiences.

Using AR headsets, users can see augmented world around the same way they experience the real word.

The absence of friction headworn AR can provide will pave the way to the metaverse, where we will eventually interact and socialize, just like we do in the real world (plus the endless opportunities the digital universe can bring).

Driving adoption
While the expectations for AR hardware grow and the industry slowly gets to the point of meeting customer expectations, we believe that the world won’t switch to all-in-one AR devices in the nearest future. Instead, we are leaning in on the approach Qualcomm Technologies takes in connecting a lightweight viewer device to the smartphone that provides ultra-low-power technology with advanced rendering.

Powered by 5G, this is a pragmatic step toward enabling headworn AR tomorrow, making the innovation accessible for everyone who can’t wait to experience headworn AR.

What’s next?
Having become a part of the Qualcomm family, Wikitude will continue doing what we do best–working on our cutting-edge AR SDK and growing a thriving developer community. Our expertise in well-designed AR experiences, robust tools and strong knowledge of our developer audience and Qualcomm Technologies XR innovation will help strengthen the XR sector and accelerate the enablement of custom AR experiences as the toolkit of choice for headworn AR glasses.

United in the horizontal-platform approach, we share the vision of running a platform for headworn AR that will open up endless opportunities. And Wikitude developers will be the first to make a difference and start creating and experimenting with the new tools.

Introducing Snapdragon Spaces

Today we are unveiling a new beginning: Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform. This developer-first platform is tailored to remove friction for developers and unlock the full potential of wearable immersive AR.

Backed by Wikitude’s 9th generation AR technology and Qualcomm Technologies leadership in the XR ecosystem, Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform paves the way to a new frontier of spatial computing and empowers developers to create experiences for AR glasses that transform spaces around us.

Learn more about Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform to stay in the know

Snapdragon and Snapdragon Spaces are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Digital agencies

6 Innovative Augmented Reality Product Packaging Use Cases

This article covers six successful augmented reality product packaging campaigns created with the Wikitude AR Software Development Kit.

Augmented reality technology is gradually expanding its outreach by establishing its presence throughout various segments of the market. The product packaging sector, in particular, has been getting a lot of AR traction.

After covering the marketing advantages of augmented reality in packaging, we will now explore six Wikitude AR-powered use cases that brought innovation and excitement to the product packaging industry.

Jack Daniel’s AR Experience

The Jack Daniel’s AR Experience, from the Brown-Forman spirits and wine company, takes consumers on a virtual journey of the Jack Daniel Distillery through a series of pop-up book-style dioramas.

The Jack Daniel Distillery’s AR app offers a virtual tour of the distillery, allowing users to take a closer look at the whiskey-making process, and learn stories about the man himself—Mr. Jack Daniel.

AR app: Jack Daniel’s AR Experience [ Google PlayApp Store ]

Thirty days after the official global Jack Daniel’s AR Experience app launch, 30.000+ iOS and Android users watched over 110,000 ‘Jack Stories’ AR experiences with an average of 5:42 minutes of total session time per user.

Herbal Essences AR Experience

Herbal Essences AR

The haircare brand Herbal Essences wanted to drive more attention and encourage more consumers to make better choices when the products they use reach their end-of-use cycle.

The AR experience digitally displays an interactive beachscape around the bottle while displaying an informative video that speaks of the product and the plastic waste problem.

AR app: Herbal Essences AR Experience [ App Store ]

As the AR experience progresses, users see plastic waste washing up on the augmented shore and are invited to swipe the screen to help clean the oceans.

Mojokaii AR animated booster

Mojokaii AR

Mojokaii premium gaming boosters were created specifically for the gaming community. Tapping into the target audience’s affinity to immersive experiences, the Mojokaii AR companion app gamifies tasting and engages customers to collect all product varieties.

Augmented reality effects were created by an international team of VFX artists. By pointing to the packaging label, gamers dive into an immersive digital narrative, unique for each product variation.

The video on the labels and the visual effects around the product is shown in real-time, allowing customers to look at them from different angles. The Mojokaii app uses Wikitude’s curved marker-based tracking that recognizes label designs and shows unique stories and effects for each product.

Francesco Rinaldi® AR App

Francesco Rinaldi is a pasta sauce company that has been on the market for over 45 years. The company wanted to link tradition with innovation by bringing its brand icon, Mrs. Rinaldi, to life. The AR app enables Mrs. Rinaldi to share her stories of what makes her pasta sauce different from other brands.

After downloading and opening the app, users can use their smartphone camera to scan any of the Francesco Rinaldi pasta sauce jar labels. Depending on the pasta sauce line, Mrs. Rinaldi will magically come to life and deliver a specific message for that particular product. 

Each AR scan has a “Tap for More” button which invites the customer to the Extended Experience. Every click leads users to different landing pages containing more information about the company, packaging design, list of recipes and more.

AR app: Francesco Rinaldi® AR App

The AR experience has increased customer loyalty, brand and product differentiation, customer interaction, and brand recognition.

Ribena “Doodle your World” AR app

Ribena has been in the beverage industry for over 75 years. To bring life and user interaction to their ‘doodle bombing’ inspired campaign, they created the “Doodle your World” app to provide a fun augmented reality experience.

 The concept behind the AR app took its creative inspiration from the pop-culture art movement known as ‘doodle bombing’ and combined it with augmented reality technology. 

App users are encouraged to create their own doodle-bomb videos using the colourful Ribena character animations to share with friends via message and social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. 

The app experience goes on to reward users by unlocking more character animations from the content they create and share, and by purchasing and scanning any one of the limited edition AR ready “Doodle your world” Ribena drink bottles currently in circulation. 

Users can see Ribenary characters come to life on their screens anywhere they are. With the app, Ribena fans can also stream augmented reality videos in real-time, capture these special moments and share the fun with friends and family.

Fruit Bliss Interactive

Fruit Bliss creates wholesome snacks with simple ingredients. The company wanted to have a closer, more personal relationship with its customers and expand communication beyond the physical borders of their product packaging.

Customers use their smart device camera to scan select packages that will then trigger the AR experience.

AR app: Fruit Bliss Interactive [ Google Play ]

The solution was described as an “upgraded email newsletter”. It allows users to unlock augmented content in the form of news, info, social media links, newsletter invites, special offers, and more.

Technology and device capabilities have come a long way since the origins of AR. Today, developers equipped with the right tools have the ability to create various high-performing AR experiences that bring true value, and entertainment to the end-user.

The Wikitude AR SDK has a wide variety of augmented reality features that support can support your product packaging AR campaigns.

For Unity Experts, and due to popular demand, Wikitude is introducing AR capabilities for cylinder targets.

Wikitude Cylinder Tracking for Unity

Cylinder Tracking is the ideal AR feature for augmenting cylindrical-shaped drink cans, wine bottles, longnecks, aluminum tin cans, cosmetic bottles, and other tubular-shaped product containers.

Wikitude Cylinder Tracking technology covers a wide variety of cylindrical targets and label shapes. Unity developers can create campaigns that overlay cylinder targets with interactive digital augmentations such as videos, images, 3D models, audio, buttons, and more.

Interested in giving Wikitude Cylinder Tracking a try?

Want to enhance your product package with AR technology features? Access our store to choose your license or contact our team to discuss your specific AR requirements.

Dev to Dev

How to apply UX design principles in augmented reality

If you are a UX/UI designer who builds user experiences in digital environments, chances are you will be working with augmented reality sooner than you think. As AR applications rapidly break into the mainstream, making the user feel in control of a product becomes even more critical in user experience design.

This article breaks down the role that user experience design principles play in augmented reality application development, with a specific focus on UI design.

The article is based on a presentation by our senior software engineer, Gökhan Özdemir, for the “UX for AR” webinar. Watch the full recording here.

What is UX design for augmented reality? 

User Experience Design, or UX, is the process of designing a product that considers the needs of the users and makes the user flow as seamless and intuitive as possible. Good UX always starts with putting the user at the center of the design process. It also relies on the principles of human psychology and empathy.

Now, what about UX for AR?  In augmented reality apps, success means offering a great user experience through a seamless blend of hardware and software. 

Augmented reality experiences are overlaid on the real environment, so the user experience is spatial and highly contextual. It makes designing UX for AR more challenging as designers need to think through spatial experiences. Getting it wrong can mean users have a less than stellar experience – and no one wants that. 

Getting started

User design can be tricky. Designing for a new technology that is only getting traction? Even trickier! Let’s explore the role of user experience (UX) design in AR applications — how to think through your user experience as a designer and navigate the technical decisions when creating an AR app. 

You will learn how to create a compelling user experience for your AR application that considers the physical space and natural human interaction. 

Five pillars of UX design for augmented reality

Users prefer to interact with elements of an interface discreetly, not to be reminded of what the interface contains. This is different from the traditional user experience (UX) associated with conventional websites and mail applications. The UX for augmented reality (also known as 3D user interface) concept emphasizes interaction and visual interest above all else. Users are interested in entering the virtual space and are not distracted by surroundings that are not real.

Our five common UX design pillars for AR will help you define the considerations you’ll need to make when designing your UI and experiences for virtual objects.

Kick-off your design process by considering these criteria:

  • Environment
  • Movement
  • Onboarding
  • Interaction
  • UI (User Interface)

While it’s crucial to consider the first two pillars (environment and movement) designing for AR, the last three (onboarding, interaction, and UI) are equally crucial for both 3D and traditional 2D screen space UI.  


As augmented reality experiences are spatial and always interconnected with the real world, the environment plays a key role in the design process. The environment can be broken down into four most common categories of space, defined by the distance from the user.

Image source: Wikipedia

Examples of AR in the intimate space include face filters (like Snapchat or Instagram), hand tracking, or hand augmentations if you use a head-mounted AR display. 

Moving to personal space, augmented reality experiences might feature real objects, people, or the area around you. Featured in the video below, you can see a learning-focused AR experience that uses educational models to animate the chemistry concepts through an interactive digital layer.

AR experience in personal space

Another example of using augmented reality in personal space is popular table-top and card games and augmented packaging. Think augmented pizza boxes or collectible cards with augmented characters that interact with each other.

Next up is the social space. If you pan the camera further away, you will target the area that can be occupied by other people, unlike in a personal space where you have more privacy. This space segment is widely used for multiplayer AR games or augmenting objects on a scale, from the furniture to monuments and buildings.

In many cases, AR experiences in public space are anchored to specific locations with enough area to place an augmentation or sites that should be tracked in AR. The mumok AR experience in Vienna is a perfect example of the AR in public space where the entire building is tracked, using the Wikitude Scene Tracking feature.

mumok AR


The success of any new product or service directly depends on how well it integrates with today’s users’ minds — both physically and psychologically. Movement makes the next UX design pillar. When you design the experience, you want to use the area around the user most of the time.

As smartphones and head-worn devices give a limited view into the environment, the designer’s primary task is to guide the user. By including the navigation elements on the screen, you will be steering the user’s gaze, helping them get around and move along the experience. 

While you are visually guiding the user, it’s essential to keep in mind not to dictate to go in specific directions. This might lead to unwanted hiccups in the experience or even cause accidents. 


The next pillar we are going to explore is the user onboarding. Creating user-friendly and engaging augmented reality experiences can be a challenge. It’s not enough to just put some markers around your location or overlay some information on top of an image. You need to understand what the user is looking at and how they are using it. When creating the AR experiences, keep in mind that the most important thing for your users is not accuracy but usability. 

Another factor to consider is that different devices have various technical limitations in supporting AR features. Markerless AR, for instance, would require the user to move the device around, so that computer vision algorithms could detect different feature points across multiple poses to calculate surfaces.

The scanning process takes no time for newer devices with an in-built LiDAR sensor (like iPad Pro). But for other devices, your users might appreciate a comprehensive onboarding UI. The pop-up menu or instructions should guide the user on the following steps to successfully launch and run an AR experience.

To launch a tracking algorithm, you might want to use a sketched silhouette of the desired object to provide a clue on the shape and pose to prompt the user to align the view with the real object. Read more about the Alignment Initializer feature in our documentation.

Alignment initialization

Taking the onboarding offline, sometimes the physical methods like signage are used to communicate about the AR app, provide a QR code for quick download and mark the exact standpoint for an optimal experience. 


Once the AR experience is launched, we are transitioning to another UX design staple – interaction. During this phase, your user will benefit from the intuitive and responsive interaction. When designing for touch, you are most likely be using these most common gestures and prompts: 

  • Tap to select
  • Drag starting from the center of the object to translate
  • Drag starting from edge of the object to rotate
  • Pinch to scale

Responsive interaction means taking into account the distance from the desired objects to the camera, which will define how easy or difficult it is for the user to interact with it. To facilitate the interaction with farther placed objects, consider increasing the sphere’s bounding box to make it less dependent on the distance to the camera.

Minimizing input via finger might also be a good idea, especially when designing for tablet users. As most of the tablets are held with two hands, some UI or interaction elements placed in the middle of the screen will be very hard to interact with. Instead, use gaze input like triggering intro, interactions, or buttons in the augmented space by looking at them long enough. You might know this from VR where you don’t have any controllers and experiences are mostly driven by gaze. 

Consider using accessibility features, especially if you are designing for a broader audience. This way, you let the user rotate or reset the position of an augmentation instead of walking around it.

UI (User Interface)

The final principle we want to highlight is UI, which consists of augmented and traditional screen space. Depending on the use case, you will be using them interchangeably. While UI in the augmented space boosts immersion as the user perceives it as part of the experience, screen space UI is sometimes easier to read and interact. 

Designing with humans in mind

AR can improve people’s lives simply by allowing them to experience something that wasn’t possible before. Applying UX principles to AR can help designers create experiences that are clear, integrate easily into daily life, and create powerful emotional responses.

The guidelines we’ve shared aren’t magic bullets, but they do place fundamental guidance around where designers should be focusing their attention when crafting an experience for a user of any age.

What is your take on using UX principles when designing AR experiences? Let us know via social media (TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn) and tag @wikitude to join the conversation.

3d Dev to Dev

Creating 3D content for augmented reality

Content is constantly changing. Designed for TVs and devices in the early 2000s, it now transcends the 2D realm and comes to the world around. 3D augmented reality content needs to be as immersive as VR advocates ever dreamed, minus the isolation from the outside world.

The more AR becomes part of our lives, the higher the need for content to adapt to the 3D world. It means the content needs to be realistic, spatial, and engaging. And while there are thousands of apps online, most companies are still figuring out what compelling content looks like in AR.

In this post, we’re diving into the role of content in ​​augmented reality, the challenges the industry faces, and the future of spatial content. 

Augmented reality content basics

Augmented reality content is the computer-generated input used to enhance parts of users’ physical world through mobile, tablet, or smart glasses. It can be user-generated (think of social media face filters) or professionally produced by designers working for brands and specialized agencies. 

AR content often comes as 3D models but can also come in visual, video, or audio format.

Whether you are using AR to buy a new IKEA sofa or play a game, the quality of the content you see in the app will make (or break) the AR experience.

Image source: IKEA

The role of 3D content in augmented reality experiences

Among the thousands of AR apps in the market today, the most successful ones have one thing in common: high-quality, engaging AR content. Fail to deliver that, and your project will risk joining the astonishing 99.9% of apps that flop or become irrelevant in the app stores

Content is the heart of ​​augmented reality. It ensures users have a reason to keep coming back. 

Users might be thrilled to scan an augmented wine bottle a few times and share the experience with friends. But how many times can we expect them to go back and watch the same video? 

Companies must see AR content as a critical component of long-term, well-thought-through digital strategies to ensure app longevity. It means constantly delivering fresh, contextual, and personalized content. 

Easier said than done. From high production costs to a scarcity of skilled professionals, building AR content at scale is one of the biggest challenges companies face that blocks them from keeping the apps relevant in the long run.

Challenges of building 3D content for augmented reality

3D models need to create perfect digital twins of the real world. Combined with other rendering elements (e.g. animation, audio, and physics), they make for AR’s most used type of content and provide an additional immersive layer for the user experience. 

What the user doesn’t see is the relatively complex process of creating such realistic visual assets. Their production can go from a detailed manual process and re-using computer-aided data to a photogrammetry-based creation process.

Size limits, file formats, and the total size of the application are just some of the plenty requirements developers need to understand to build great AR experiences. In addition, a lack of industry standards for AR content and a limited qualified workforce imposes significant industry challenges.

Building 3D assets: 3D model versus 3D scanning

Before we jump into the technicalities of creating content for AR, there are some basic concepts we need to clarify.

3D modeling x 3D scanning

3D modeling and 3D scanning are two ways of building 3D assets for augmented reality. 

3D modeling uses computer graphics to create a 3D representation of any object or surface. This technology is beneficial when used to recreate physical objects because “it does not require physical contact with the object since everything is done by the computer” (Skywell Software). Therefore, 3D modeling becomes ideal for creating virtual objects, scenes, and characters that don’t exist in the real world (think of Pokémons and other fantasy AR games).

3D scanning uses real-world objects and scenes as a base for the production of AR assets. Using this method, the content creators don’t craft the model from scratch using a program. Instead, they scan the object using one of two different methods: photogrammetry or scanning through a 3D scanner device (LiDAR or similar). 

GIF source:

The main difference between the two is how they capture the data of the object. While photogrammetry uses images captured by regular smartphones, smart glasses, or tablets, scanning requires special devices equipped with depth sensors to map the object. 

It makes photogrammetry more accessible to the broader developer crowd when creating AR content, as no special equipment is required. On the flip side, 3D scanners are more reliable. 

Using either of two approaches, a point cloud can be extracted, which can be applied in the AR experience.  You can read more on the advantages of each method in the section 3D point cloud below. 

Ultimately, you can decide between using 3D modeling or 3D scanning by assessing the accessibility to the physical object to scan. If the selected AR object target is not available, then 3D modeling is the way to go. 

How is 3D content created for augmented reality?

There are plenty of AR content creation tools available on the market. Some are easy drag-and-drop that don’t require coding skills. Others are much more complex, and target experienced professionals.

Here’s an overview of the different possibilities:

Image source: DevTeam.Space

3D point cloud: In AR, a point cloud is a virtual representation of the geometry of real-world objects using a collection of points. Generated via photogrammetry software or 3D scanners, these points are captured based on the external surfaces of objects.

Because photogrammetry allows gathering 3D information out of 2D images, this method makes content creation more accessible. It overcomes ownership issues often faced with 3D models. As a result, anyone can create 3D models by simply recording or scanning the real object. 3D scanners (for example, LidAR-enabled devices) gradually become more available in the market and provide more detailed point clouds thanks to depth sensors.

Commercial tools such as Wikitude Studio, Apple Object Capture, and Amazon Sumerian are examples of photogrammetry-based programs.

AR Object Target Transformation in Wikitude Studio Editor

CAD (Computer-Aided Design): CAD models are commonly the first step to prototyping physical goods, bringing a first product view to life in the digital world. Assisted by software applications, AR developers can repurpose legacy CAD models for augmented reality-based solutions. Existing CAD data can then be used as the input method to create digital representations of the object or environment to be augmented.

Once uploaded into the selected program, CAD data is converted to an AR-compatible format in phones, tablets, and smart glasses. CAD models typically provide accurate information about the object, maximizing the potential for a reliable AR experience. Albeit being prevalent in the industrial sector, CAD-based AR experiences are progressively gaining popularity for consumer-facing apps.

Games, computer graphics: authoring software tools such as Blender, 3ds Max, and Maya are popular 3D design applications used by AR content creators. Unity, Unreal Engine, and even Apple’s Reality Composer are great tools to assemble the pieces of content and make them work together for augmented reality.

Other 3D models: beyond CAD, other popular 3D model formats can be leveraged to power augmented reality solutions, for example, glTF 2.0, FBX, Obj, etc. Compatible file formats will depend on the program used to build augmented reality. 

On the one hand, this wide variety of 3D assets formats has opened the doors to creators of many areas to put their existing models to work for AR. On the other hand, it creates confusion among developers, increasing the debate around the need for standardization in the AR industry and the creation of alternative tools that are intuitive and code-free.

What’s next for AR content creation?

With increased interest in augmented reality, we will see more tools emerging that help to create content, overcome workforce scarcity and deliver actual value through the technology. 

To facilitate content creation, AR companies invest in building platforms that don’t require technical skills (therefore closing the workforce gaps) to help brands optimize the AR content creation process. 

An example is Apple’s latest release: Reality Kit 2. This new framework includes a much-awaited Object Capture feature that allows developers to snap photos of real-world objects and create 3D models using photogrammetry. 

But if Apple’s announcement gives you déjà vu, you are not wrong. Last year, the AR media went crazy about an app that lets you copy and paste the real world with your phone using augmented reality.  

The topic of interoperability of experiences across platforms and devices is equally important. The ability to code an AR app once and deploy it in several devices and operating systems helps companies bring their projects to market as fast as possible.

The final and most crucial aspect is understanding how 3D content in augmented reality can deliver value to its users. That means getting clear goals for the AR project, understanding how it fits into your digital strategy, and having a deep knowledge of your customer. 

What are some of the trends you see in AR content creation? Let us know via social media (TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn) and tag @wikitude to join the conversation.

Dev to Dev

Augmented Reality Glossary: from A to Z

Augmented reality technology becomes a driving force behind tectonic changes in business methods by and large. We created a comprehensive AR glossary with the most common terms and definitions to help you understand the lingo better.

Augmented Reality Glossary



Augmented Reality (AR)

Technology that uses software to superimpose various forms of digital content – such as videos, photos, links, 3D models, and others – in the real environment, predefined images or object targets. The realistic augmentation is achieved by making use of the device camera and its sensors.

AR Bridge

A feature that allows developers to integrate native AR SDKs such as ARKit and ARCore with advanced image and object tracking functionality from the Wikitude SDK. When enabled, the camera configured as AR Camera will be driven by AR Bridge, while the Drawables will be driven by the Wikitude SDK. The Wikitude SDK provides a built-in connection to these native SDKs through the Internal AR Bridge implementation. This is a ready-made solution that just needs to be enabled. As an alternative, a Plugin implementation can be chosen, which allows the developer to integrate with other positional tracking SDKs.

AR Overlay

An overlay principle is indispensable for the augmented reality technology.  Overlay happens when the formats such as images, videos, or 3D are superimposed over an Image or Object Target.

ARKit and ARCore

These are, respectively, Apple’s and Google’s AR development platforms. Fully integrable with the Wikitude SDK, ARKit and ARCore can be extended with features that are not natively available in those AR frameworks or come with different quality standards (compared to the implementation in the Wikitude SDK).

Automatic Initialization

Automatic initialization is the default mode of the Wikitude SDK for both image and object targets. It is the most natural behavior for users, and as they point the camera towards the target, position and orientation will be detected automatically. The tracking of the target will start seamlessly. 


Alignment Initialization

The alignment initializer is a visual element in the UI that signals the user from which viewpoint (perspective) the object can be recognized and tracking can be started. This feature can be used for objects that are hard to recognize automatically (usually objects with unclear or unreliable texture). An unreliable texture could be an object that has different colors or areas that keep changing (e.g. mud, stickers). 

Assisted Reality 

Assisted Reality is a non-immersive visualization of various content (e.g. text, diagrams, images, simple videos).  Being considered experience within the augmented reality range, the assisted reality is often delivered through wearable hardware and serves to enhance personal awareness in given situations or scenes.

Assisted Tracking

Assisted tracking is a term describing a technology where the performance of Image, Cylinder, and Object targets benefit from the fact that a native AR framework is run in parallel. This results in increased stability of the mentioned trackers even when they move independently. Assisted tracking is enabled by default when using AR Bridge or AR Foundation.



Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

CAD or computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), is a technology for design and technical documentation. In AR, CAD is a common asset format used as an input method for augmented reality experiences. The format digitalizes /automatizes designs and technical specifications for built or manufactured products. 

Combine Trackers

The feature that allows developers to combine different trackers such as Positional Tracking from ARKit/ARCore, Image Tracking, and Object Tracking in a single AR experience.

Computer Vision (CV)

Computer vision is the ability of machines to recognize, process and understand digital images and objects, as well as scenes of the world around us. CV is one of the bases of augmented reality and the core of Wiktiude’s AR SDK. 

Cloud Recognition

Cloud Recognition is a cloud-based service that hosts predefined images online and allows recognition of many targets through a smartphone or smart glasses. This service allows fast, scalable, and reliable online recognition for ever-changing, dynamic, and large-scale projects.

Cylinder Tracker

Cylinder Tracker (or cylinder targets) is a special form of an Image Target. With it, images that are wrapped around a cylindrical shape can be recognized and tracked. This can range from labels on a wine bottle to prints on a can or any other graphical content. Cylinder Recognition and Tracking extend the capabilities of the Wikitude SDK to recognize cylinder objects. The feature is based on the Image Tracking module, but instead of recognizing plane images, it is able to recognize cylinder objects like cans through its images.



An instance of an augmentation prefab that is instantiated in the scene when a target is detected.


Extended Tracking

Extended Tracking allows digital augmentations, attached to objects, scenes, or images, to persist in the user’s field of view even when the initial target is no longer in the frame. That is particularly useful when showing large augmentations that exceed the target. 


Field of view

The field of view is an area that can be observed either physically by a person or through a device lens. Depending on the lens focus, the field of view can be adapted and can vary in size. 


Geo AR

Location-based augmented reality allows developers to attach interactive and useful digital content to geo-based markers. This means that unlike the typical marker-based AR features – like Image Tracking and Object Tracking, Geo AR does not need a physical target to trigger the AR experience. Wikitude has been developing augmented reality technology since 2008 and pioneered in launching the world’s first location-based AR app for mobile. 



A hologram is a digital content formed by light that is projected on a transparent display or into open space. This type of content can be static or interactive, is usually three-dimensional and commonly used for smart glasses/mixed reality devices such as HoloLens. 


HoloLens is a Microsoft’s head-mounted display, also referred to as mixed reality smart glasses. A popular device for industrial use cases and compatible with the Wikitude SDK.


Instant  Targets

Instant Targets is a feature within AR Instant Tracking which allows end-users to save and load their AR sessions. It means the important digital notes, directions, visual augmentations, and the whole AR experience itself can be accessed and experienced by multiple users across devices and operating systems (iOS, Android, and UWP) at different points in time. This makes sharing and revisiting the AR experience easy and meaningful. Instant Targets also allows users to load, edit, and re-save the AR experience on the fly.  The versatility of the feature use makes it very practical for remote assistance and maintenance use cases

Image Target

Image Target is a known planar image which will trigger an AR experience when recognized through the camera view from a smartphone or smart glasses. Targets are preloaded to the Wikitude system and are associated with a target collection for recognition.

Image Recognition and Tracking

This feature enables the Wikitude SDK to recognize and track known images (single or multiple) to trigger augmented reality experiences. Recognition works best for images with characteristics described on Wikitude’s best practice Image Target guideline. Suitable images can be found on product packaging, books, magazines, outdoors, paintings, and other 2D targets.  

Instant Tracking 

Instant Tracking technology (also known as ‘dead reckoning’) makes it possible for AR applications to overlay interactive digital content onto physical surfaces without requiring the use of a predefined marker to kick off the AR experience. Instant Tracking does not need to recognize a predefined target to start the tracking procedure thereafter. Instead, it initializes by tracking the physical environment itself. This markerless augmented reality is possible thanks to SLAM – Simultaneous Localization and Mapping technology. 





Machine Learning

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence, that provides computer algorithms with the ability to learn and constantly improve the learning outcome based on the knowledge collected.


Markup is the method of creating a composed scene by using the augmentations, triggers, or other information.



Object Target 

Objects can be used as targets to trigger the AR experience upon recognition via the camera view. The target is a pre-recorded map of the object. Object Targets can be created using two different ways: images or 3D models as input methods. The source material in both cases is converted into a Wikitude Object Target Collection, which is stored as a .wto file.

Object Recognition and Tracking

This feature enables the Wikitude SDK to recognize and track arbitrary objects for augmented reality experiences. Object Recognition and Tracking let users detect objects and entire scenes that were predefined. Recognition works best for objects that have only a limited number of changing/dynamic parts. Suitable objects for recognition and tracking include toys, monuments, industrial objects, tools, and household supplies.

Optical character recognition (OCR) 

OCR, or optical character reader, is the electronic conversion of images of handwritten or printed texts into machine-encoded text.


Positional Tracker (from Native AR frameworks)

The Wikitude SDK can use native AR frameworks (like ARKit or AR Core) in parallel to other trackers. This can be either through an existing connection to Unity’s AR Foundation or through Wikitude’s own AR Bridge. Positional tracking is the process of tracking the position and orientation of the device continuously by the device itself. This is sometimes referred to as World Tracking (Apple), Motion Tracking (Google), Head Tracking (VR headsets), or Instant Tracking (Wikitude Professional Edition).



Range Extension

The Wikitude SDK Image Recognition engine can make use of HD camera frames to detect images from further away. Further away in this context means distances 3x further away, compared to not enabling this mode (e.g. A4-sized target can reach recognition distances in the area of 2.4 meters/ 8 feet). This feature is called Image Recognition Range Extension and can be activated through a setting in the Image Tracker class. 

Real-world Scale

The Wikitude SDK can be configured to work with a real-world scale, which has the benefit that augmentations can be authored with a consistent scale that will be preserved when used on different targets.


Recognition describes the process of finding an image or object in the camera viewfinder. For augmented reality purposes, it is not enough to only identify the object or the bounding box of the object. The position and orientation of the object need to be detected accurately as well. This capability distinguishes AR recognition significantly from other recognition or classification services. Recognition acts as the starting point for tracking the object in real-time – this is also referred to as initialization. The Wikitude SDK has two recognition methods: Automatic Initialization and Alignment initialization. 

Remote Assistance

Remote Assistance in the context of augmented reality is the offering of a platform or application with features such as live video streaming of images and videos. The digital content is overlaid on the user’s view of the real-world environment, making it essential for frontline and field workers in various industries.  


Scene Recognition

The object recognition engine of the Wikitude SDK is used to recognize and track larger structures that go beyond table-sized objects. The name Scene Recognition reflects this in particular. The feature is ideal for augmented reality experiences using rooms, building facades, as well as squares and courtyards as targets.

Software Development Kit (SDK)

Group of development tools used to build an application for a specific platform.

Spatial Computing

This term is defined as human interaction with a machine in which the machine retains and manipulates referents to real objects and spaces.


SLAM is an abbreviation for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping technology. SLAM is a technology that Computer Vision uses to receive visual data from our physical world (usually in the form of tracked points). Devices then use this visual input to understand and appropriately interact with the environment. 


SMART is a seamless API within Instant Tracking that integrates ARKit, ARCore, and Wikitude’s SLAM engine in a single cross-platform AR SDK. By using it, developers do not have to deal with specific ARKit / ARCore code and can create their projects in either JavaScript, Unity, Xamarin, and Cordova. SMART works by dynamically identifying the end user’s device and deciding which should be used for each particular case.  



A target image and associated extracted data are used by the tracker to recognize an image.

Target collection

An archive storing a collection of targets that can be recognized by the tracker. A target collection can come from two different resource types: as plain (a regular ZIP file containing images in plain JPG or PNG) or preprocessed (regular images that are converted into a WTC file (Wikitude Target collection) for faster processing and optimized storing offline).


The AR experience should “understand and follow” where a specific object is placed in the real-world to anchor content to it. This process is commonly referred to as tracking. Tracking in ideal cases happens in real-time (minimum every 33ms) so that the object is followed very accurately. There are many trackers available today, ranging from trackers that follow a face, hands, fingers, images, or generic object. All of them are based on a reference that is later understood by the software.



Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies.



Wikitude SDK

The Wikitude SDK script handles the initialization and destruction of the SDK and its native components. It additionally needs to be configured with the correct license key for your application. You can either buy a commercial license from our web page or download a free trial license key and play around with our SDK.


XR (Extended reality)

Extended Reality is an umbrella term that covers all computer-generated environments, either superimposed onto the physical world or creating immersive experiences for the user. XR includes AR, VR, MR, and any other emerging technologies of the same type.




Barcode scanning software can be combined with the Wikitude SDK via Plugins API allowing developers to integrate barcode identification to AR apps.  

3D model based generation 

3D models of objects are a great source for information, that can be used as a reference for recognizing and tracking an object for augmented reality experiences. The huge variety of 3D models in today’s market ranging from precise CAD/CAM data for manufacturing to runtime assets defined in FBX glTF or others brought us to the conclusion to launch this feature in closed BETA. For more details please contact Wikitude directly.

Would you like us to include other terms and concepts in Augmented Reality Glossary? Let us know.

Contact us

AR features

Object & Scene Tracking: Augmented Reality Use Cases and How-to

New: Create object tracking AR experiences using 3D models as an input method (such as CAD, glTF 2.0 and more). Get started with CAD tracking.

As augmented reality technology expands its capabilities it is important, as a developer, to be up to date with which AR features are currently available.

In this first edition of our new AR-technology series, Wikitude is presenting its main augmented reality features one by one. Starting off with Object & Scene Tracking AR.

Object & Scene Recognition and Tracking augmented reality

Object & Scene Tracking AR Use Cases

Before we start with formal introductions, here is a video containing different Object & Scene Tracking AR features being used in context.

As seen in the video, Object & Scene Tracking has a wide variety of use cases: maintenance and remote assistance, tourism, museums, gaming, consumer products, toys and more.

For this marker-based AR experience to trigger, it needs to detect a target. The target is a pre-recorded map of the object. Let’s break down the AR feature categories and talk about types of object targets that work well.

Object Tracking

This AR feature is used to recognize and track smaller arbitrary objects, superimposing digital content to produce augmented reality experiences.

Objects that can be pre-mapped as AR targets include but are not limited to:

  • Toys
  • Monuments and statues
  • Industrial objects
  • Tools
  • Household supplies

Scene Tracking

This AR feature is used to recognize and track larger structures that go beyond small-sized objects as well as area targets and machinery. Digital content can be added in the form of, annotations, videos, step-by-step instructions, links, directions, text, 3D augmentations, and more.

Structures that can be pre-mapped as AR targets include but are not limited to:

  • Factory floors and industrial sites
  • Large complex machinery
  • Large indoor spaces
  • Exhibition booths and showrooms
  • Rooms and apartments
  • Building façades
  • Museums
  • Squares, fountains, courtyards

Scene tracking enables the creation of continuous and persistent AR experiences for a scanned space or large-scale object. It identifies and tracks the features in your chosen scene/area to be accessed on a wide variety of phones, tablets, and AR smartglasses.

For optimal performance, scanned spaces should have little to no variation compared to the 3D map generated for the target. Extension or alterations of maps are possible to reflect changes in the environment (learn more).

Object Targets: how to create a 3D target map reference

In order to build Object Targets, it is necessary to create a pre-recorded map of the object that will then be used to trigger the AR experience.

The Object Target map creation workflow is simple:

  • Collect images* or 3D models of the object or scene (best practices)
  • Easily convert images into a Wikitude Object Target Collection (.wto) using Studio Editor
  • Use the .wto file in your AR app project

Once the reference map is done, developers still have the option of extending the map with images from different backgrounds and that cover additional areas of the object to increase recognition accuracy.

For detailed instructions, access the how to create Object Targets section of the Wikitude Documentation.

*Keep in mind the new and improved object mapping process (SDK 8 and up) uses images or 3D models such as CAD, glTF 2.0, and others, as source material. Previous SDK versions use video-based materials instead.

Object & Scene Tracking technology is progressively evolving to include a wider variety of real-world environments and gadgets. Going beyond objects, it is even possible to use Extended Tracking to continue viewing the AR experience when the target is no longer in sight.

Download the Wikitude SDK

To start creating your AR projects with a free Wikitude SDK trial key, create a Wikitude account and download the platform of your choice. This account also gives you access to Studio Editor, our web-based tool that allows you to generate, manage and publish your AR experiences without coding.

For commercial purposes, access our store to choose your package or contact our team to discuss which license is the best match for your AR project.

Check the articles below to review other AR features in detail:

AR features

Scene Recognition and Tracking: Augmented Reality Use Cases and How-to

From large industrial machinery to showrooms, scene tracking enables the creation of continuous and persistent AR experiences for areas and large-scale objects.

As the complexity of augmented reality use cases grows, computer vision technology evolves to fulfill new requirements and expand the understanding of the world around us.

Catalyzed by COVID-19, immersive outdoor environments, homes, and workspaces have gained significant momentum, opening the possibility for people to connect remotely and digitally enhance their surroundings.

A crucial functionality in augmented reality and spatial computing is Scene Tracking – a unique feature that can be used to track pre-determined environments and large-scale objects.

By identifying reference points and features in your chosen scene or area, augmented reality content can be displayed and accessed on a wide variety of phones, tablets, and AR smartglasses.

Scene Recognition and Tracking augmented reality

Scene Tracking AR feature and supported targets

Scene Tracking, sometimes referred on the market as Area Targets, empowers a wide variety of use cases: maintenance and remote assistance, training and onboarding, digitalization of the visitor/user experience in the context of retail, tourism, museums, gaming, and more.

In order to trigger this marker-based AR, the device must detect a known target, therefore mapping the object or scene is needed.

Structures that can be mapped as AR targets include but are not limited to:

  • Exhibition booths and showrooms
  • Selected environments on retail stores, rooms and apartments
  • Large complex machinery on factory floors
  • Building façades
  • Sections of indoor spaces
  • Museums
  • Squares, fountains, feature-rich courtyards

Scene Tracking Use Cases

This AR feature is used to recognize and track larger structures that go beyond small-sized objects as well as area targets and machinery. Digital content can be added in the form of, annotations, videos, step-by-step instructions, links, directions, text, 3D augmentations, and more.

Enterprise and Industrial Setting

Scene Tacking can help digitalize workspaces by providing frontline workers access to immersive workflows with real-time information on the industrial setting. On-demand AR instructions and assistance on the factory floor help staff work faster and safer.

Navigation on the factory floor can help teams involved in multiple procedures to work more intuitively. In addition, step-by-step guidance and on-the-fly virtual notes can be attached to machines, facilitating knowledge transfer and streamlining communication across shifts.

AR-enabled training and onboarding can help companies save time and money when welcoming new workforce by guiding technicians throughout tasks and helping them connect with remote experts via video calls. 

AR-Enabled User Experience

Scene Tracking is a powerful tool to connect people to places. Hotels, museums and retail stores can attract visitors by digitally enhancing the exterior of the building or store façade with a digital sneak peek at what’s inside. Promotion, gamification, and additional AR touchpoints incentivize visitors to come inside.

Touristic destinations can offer information on demand in multiple languages, so visitors can, for example, learn about historical sites, monuments, squares, fountains and more.

Object Targets with scenes: how to create a 3D target map reference

In order to build Object Targets based in scenes, it is necessary to create a pre-recorded map of the object that will then be used to trigger the AR experience.

The map creation workflow is simple:

  • Collect images* or 3D models of the object or scene (best practice guide)
  • Convert images into a Wikitude Object Target Collection (.wto) using Studio Editor
  • Use the .wto file in your AR app project

For optimal performance, scanned spaces should have little to no variation compared to the 3D map generated for the target. Extension or alterations of maps are possible to reflect changes in the environment (learn more) – developers still have the option of extending the map with images from different backgrounds and that cover additional areas of the object to increase recognition accuracy.

For detailed instructions, access the how to create Object Targets section of the Wikitude Documentation.

*Keep in mind the new and improved object mapping process (SDK 8 and up) uses images as source material. Previous SDK versions use video-based materials instead.

Get Started with Scene recognition and Tracking

To start creating your AR projects with a free Wikitude SDK trial key, create a Wikitude account and download the platform of your choice.

This account also gives you access to Studio Editor, our web-based tool that allows you to generate, manage and publish your AR experiences without coding.

For commercial purposes, access our store to choose your package or contact our team to discuss which license is the best match for your AR project.

Check the articles below to review other AR features in detail: