My approach

As we are focusing more on 3D project with more practical uses and realistic technical goals for our second assignment Extended 3D Graphics Submission – “Open 3D Assignment” I decided to think of a idea that I can actually use in one of my future projects or at least use it as inspiration or a way to facilitate something I would create in future. For my major practical project in my 3D I have an ambitious conceptual idea for an augment reality application. In this post I’ll go briefly explain the idea of this potential project and how I can integrate in it the outcome of my current 3D project.

What is Augment Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one.

Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world. The term augmented reality is believed to have been coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, working at Boeing.[1]

Augmented Reality is considered an extension of Virtual Reality. Virtual Reality (VR) is a virtual space in which players immerse themselves into that space and exceed the bounds of physical reality. In virtual reality, time, physical laws and material properties may no longer be thought of as true, in contrast to the real-world environment. Instead of considering AR and VR as exact opposite concepts, Milgram et al. claim them as the Reality-Virtual (RV) continuum (Milgram, Takemura, Utsumi and Kishino, 1994).

Basically, it’s a possibility for people to interact with the reality through a digital channels. Currently a real life realisation of such projects is mainly brought to users via mobile devices (mainly smartphones) as they appear to be the easiest, cheapest and most convenient way to interact with real world environment. However there are examples of other successful type of AR applications. Here are few of my favorites:

Simple AR idea but very well executed by Digital Advertising agency Brothers and Sisters for the Museum of London. As you walk down the streets of London you can simply turn on the app, aim at any location around you and see how it was looking years ago.

Again, a simple but nicely and funny done, this is a AR project done by Elvis Communications – the company I work for currently:

Another good example is the interactive AR iMagicBook by Hitlab.

Probably the most impressive I’ve seen (especially in size) is the Green Giant by WorkClub:

Green Giant – High Five from Work Club on Vimeo.

Uni Station

Uni Station is the work name of my potential 3rd year project – a university augment reality app that will aim to facilitate the uses of university resources and replace the physical need of human support. Imagine you are going in the library but all computers are busy or the number of the book you are looking for is too hard to find simply because there are too many books. With Uni Station you simply open the app on your iPhone and aim it at the library resources, via the use of AR and GPS technologies you get a digital guidance where to find the book and its exact location with a pointer similar to the one of Google maps, pointing above the bookshelf. The app can find many uses such as AR exhibition where people just point their mobile devices at the corridors of the university to view artwork instead of spending time and money to organise a whole real life exhibition. Also think of Uni Station as iZone 2.0 but instead of having a polite person sitting on a desk to help you, you can simply open the app and ask questions to a 3D virtual assistant.

How I’m going to integrate my Houdini 3D project?

What I plan to create using Houdini is a 3D Character (or at least a potential concept for one) that will act like an adviser and substitute of the real life iZone. It will help people utilise this whole AR experience. The animated character will appear when you use the app or when you need to ask for support.

How it is going to look?

I may create a few different prototypes but mainly it has to be friendly looking and has its personal character. Animated style would be suitable but not too childish as it the audience will be young people in their 20s and over.

It’s certainly a challenge considering this will be my first try for a character design and my limited 3d Skills.


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