Augmented reality is a technology on the rise. Companies like Blippar are at the forefront of making AR technology accessible and new games like Pokemon Go are beginning to make the use of AR popular.
Augmented reality is the ability to overlay normal reality with the digital by using the screen on a smartphone as a window into the new altered reality. I have a feeling that in the next few years we will see a plethora of Augmented reality experiences, helped by the success of Pokemon Go. Estimates suggested that the Pokemon Go app has been downloaded around 100 million times, this gives you an idea of just how big an impact the AR experience has had on the globe.
I believe that combining the physical with the digital is a great way to add more information to real objects such as books, posters, art, and advertisements. With the amount of digital information that we consume constantly on the rise, more unique and interesting ways to access that information needs to be explored.
How can this technology enhance illustration?
The key word here s enhance! Augmented reality should sit alongside illustration and illustration should sit alongside Augmented reality. They should combine to enhance the experience the viewer receives, creating a more useful and interesting experience. I will admit that there will be some illustration projects that may not be effective using AR, but to discover which types will work experimentation needs to take place. Experimentation has already started to happen, with the likes of the New Yorker recently using Augmented reality on one of its front covers. The illustrations by Christoph Niemann are brought to life when the reader uses the Uncovr app on their smartphone or tablet.
It's Nice that Article can be found Here.
Is the New Yorker cover a success?
The cover illustration is extended via animation in Augmented reality, it enhances visual communication by making it very clear what the cover is about. This added clarity is useful; however, I wonder how many people actually used the app to discover the AR part of the cover? I can’t imagine someone on the tube with a coffee in one hand and a magazine in another trying to hold up their smartphone to view the Augmented reality experience – no one has enough hands for that! To view these AR add-ons, you really need to be in a more controlled environment. This is where problems start to appear and demonstrates the limitations of our current technology. It’s true that the smartphone is an amazing device but when it comes to AR it can get in the way as having to hold your phone up and move it around can be a cumbersome process, one that can distract from the magic of the AR experience. The smartphone is a start, and a good one at that, but what about the future?
Introducing the Hololens from Microsoft!
In order to progress with the concept of AR, the future of this type of technology needs to be wearable. AR has been attached to a wearable before, anyone remember Google Glass? The newest wearable AR technology, the Hololens, seems to be a step above the Google Glass however. While Google Glass concentrated on extending the smartphone experience, the Hololens is a much more interesting idea…
Allow me to take you on a futurist journey! Imagine wearing the Hololens on your commute to work and experiencing mixed reality; advertisements that jump out at you (scary I agree!), your favourite artwork instead of graffiti on the walls coming to life in front of your eyes, playing games where you have to find weird animal creatures about town (yes Pokemon Go through wearable goggles), and walking to work with your friend even though they are in a different country! Imagine doing all this without taking your phone out of your pocket once! Okay, I don’t think the Hololens can do any of this just yet, but I think freeing the hands is the biggest problem that needs to be solved when thinking about AR, and Microsoft are on the right track.
When Augmented reality is wearable you can live in a whole world of AR, especially with illustrations by your favorite illustrator coming to life! There will be lots of important things to consider when reality and the digital crossover, although I will not be going into those in this blog post.
The Future is bright for illustrators who want to innovate and make compelling experiences through the medium of AR!