Tutorial Part 1

Tutorial contents:

BuildAR Pro Basics

BuildAR Pro is a tool for creating augmented reality scenes. What is augmented reality? Augmented Reality, or AR, is a technology that merges computer graphics with the real world. In contrast with Virtual Reality, or VR, which presents entirely computer generated environments, AR aims to integrate virtual and real elements seamlessly. To achieve this, BuildAR Pro uses a technique known as “video see-through AR” which overlays 3D content on a live video image captured from a camera. The software must know where and how to draw the 3D content so that it appears linked to real objects – a process called “registration” – and this is done using computer-vision to locate, identify and track printed markers.

A marker is a physical artifact designed specially to be recognized by the computer-vision software. BuildAR Pro works with square markers, with a thick black border and uniquely identifying pattern in the middle. There are a set of rules that define the shape, relative internal dimensions and pattern characteristics that will produce a valid working marker. Once such a marker is loaded into BuildAR Pro, it can be identified and tracked, and 3D content can be placed on it. The marker itself can be attached to any physical surface, such as a piece of cardboard, a wall, desk, floor, book page, etc…

Multiple markers can be loaded into BuildAR Pro to create more complicated scenes. Different marker layouts can result in different AR experiences. For example, placing a maker on each page of a book allows each stage of a story to be augmented. Placing markers on a selection of tiles on a tabletop allows 3D objects to be examined independently, and also to be arranged and grouped together.

The content added to a marker can be configured and manipulated using the tools in BuildAR Pro. A 3D model is attached to a marker, but can be positioned, oriented and scaled relative to the marker. Multiple objects can be added to the same marker. For example, a 3D model of a tree could be added, moved to the left, and scaled down. Then a 3D model of a house could be added, moved to the right, and rotated to face the tree.

3D models are not the only content that can be used in BuildAR Pro. Images and movies can be placed on a marker as well. These are displayed on 3D planes which can be moved, rotated and scaled just like normal 3D models. Basic primitive shapes, such as spheres, boxes and cylinders, can also be added, so these do not need to be individually modeled and loaded in. Text labels can also be added to annotate scene elements. Finally, sound files can be loaded and attached to markers. The sound is reproduced in 3D, so if the marker is held up to the camera the sound is louder.

A BuildAR Pro scene is built up by adding markers, and then populating those markers with content of various types. The scene can then be saved for later use, or presented in full-screen either within the editor or in the standalone viewer application.

The rest of this tutorial describes in detail how to use BuildAR Pro to create and present your own Augmented Reality scenes.

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