Many of the best AR apps incorporate 3D effects in some way or another. Embedded videos, link and images are cool, but it’s that 3D content that really delights the user visually. Why then, isn’t everyone implementing more 3D content into their apps?
The problem lies in content creation. Even in this high-tech day and age, it is still relatively difficult for the average person to create 3D models. While companies such as Autodesk have made great efforts to bring 3D authoring tools to the masses, there is still a way to go before impressive 3D content can be created quickly and easily by a casual user.
That being said, there is a nice alternative that can be used by just about anyone to create a 3D effect without actually having any 3D modelling skills or even owning 3D graphics software. By arranging traditional 2D images in a 3D space, we can achieve pretty neat 3D effects – 2.5D if you will (“faux-D” anyone?…..anyone?). Shown below is a great example of “faux-D” in action:
So what does it take to create a 2.5D experience?
It’s actually very simple – with some basic image editing skills and knowledge of Metaio Creator, it is possible to build a 2.5D experience very easily. Here’s a quick guide:
Step 1: Gather your image assets.
Your images are the most important part of the experience. Unlike standard image files, we want them to have a “cardboard cutout” effect. In order to achieve this, a little photo-editing is required. In your favorite editing tool (I like Paint.net – intuitive, powerful, and free!), simply trim around the edges of your illustration or photo and save it as a PNG file with transparent background. This means that when the image file is viewed, all of the “white space” will be completely transparent. If this is already starting to sound scary – don’t fret! There are some great tutorials available online like this one.
Step 2: Arrange your scene.
Using Metaio Creator it is possible to quickly arrange a 3D scene using your images. Firstly, fire up Creator and choose your tracking marker. You can then go ahead and import your images. They will appear to sit flush on the page to begin with.
From here, make sure you are using the 3D view mode which can be activated in the left corner.
In the 3D view mode, you are presented a 3-dimensional axis that allows you to drag your image in any direction. From here we can begin arranging the content not just upwards and side-to-side, but also back-and-forth. Varying the depth of the images will create our 3D effect. Remember, if you need to rotate the images, you can click on the blue circle to cycle through translation, rotation and scaling functions. Give it a try!
Step 3: Experiment
Try experimenting with different depths and angles of your images for the best 3D effect. If you need some more inspiration, check out this really great work done for Starbucks Japan or check out the video of the AR Children’s book created by Junaio developer Daniel Ortega: