So you’ve seen our Spark AR brief and now you’re eager to try your hand. But, there’s one small issue. You don’t know where to start.
Throughout the months of October, November and December, Spark AR has 3 open briefs for you to get stuck into. With issues such as multiple assets and dense forest patches to worry about, we know that life in augmented reality can get a little tricky.
The first brief is asking creators to create 3D objects in the wild: "we want to see how you bring 3D objects into the surrounding environment - think: animals, people, sculptures and geometric shapes, take your imagination to a whole new level."
Sound intimidating? It doesn't need to. Up to 40 (yep, forty) creators will be selected for $2,000 each post-submission, and the creation can really involve anything outdoors that gets brought to life. Maybe your favorite animals are now extinct (sob), but you're jumping at the chance to bring them back into your backyard with your augmented reality skills.
Perhaps you have some favorite sculptures or statues in your area that you'd like to see dancing. Maybe there's a character of yours you'd like to bring into the 3D world, or maybe you just want to make it rain cotton candy. Anything goes.
When it comes to designing for AR, there are 10 useful pointers that will help you on your way.
1. Keep all 3D objects no smaller than 1cm and no larger than 5 meters
This is very important as users may have trouble interacting with objects beyond these dimensions.
2. Keep the triangle count as low as possible
Remember that the number of triangles in a 3D object’s mesh will impact performance. The max number of triangles per object should be below 50,000 and for all objects in an effect below 150,000.
3. Do your future self a favour and don’t use the defaults
Make sure you name the layers, objects, trackers, effects, materials, textures. This is important to keep everything in your Scene and in your Assets list organised.
4. Remember that AR is about user environment first and phone second
Think about the surrounding environment rather than the phone itself. The better your app integrates with the environment, the better the user experience.
5. Limit the number of objects in user focus area
The user’s attention is precious. So treat it accordingly. Ideally, the user’s attention should be on one particular object rather than having a few different objects fighting for users' attention.
6. Remove any internal geometry from a mesh if it’s not needed
For example, if your character is wearing a hat, remove the part of the head hidden from view. This is a good way to reduce your triangle count (remember tip no. 2?).
7. Clean up your mesh
Delete loose geometry, triangles and vertices to reduce triangle count and unintended pixelation.
8. Think about how your app can adapt to different surfaces
What surfaces will your app encounter? Floors? Walls? Tables? The plane tracker can help your creations recognise and interact with them.
9. To help your objects seem even more realistic, don’t forget about light estimation
Try to use dynamic lights with real-time shadows
10. Make sure users always have enough space to enjoy the experience
Users can experience AR in three different sizes - table scale, room scale, and open environment. Make sure you take that into account before the user even starts using the app.