AR-Tutorial – How to start
during this rainy summer I figured, there could be the perfect moment for you to get started with augmented reality, too! You have seen the demos on youtube? You were intrigued by movie effects? But how could you try it out easily and – for now – without any skills in augmented reality or programming? Here is the answer below! Try it out! All you need is a neat webcam or even a crappy one and then try one or all of the following demos to get a first impression yourself! No movie, but all real-time in your hands!
1. Transform yourself!
Go to www.weareautobots.com and install the plug-in, when asked. After some loading you will see your webcam image as a live feed in your browser and when you keep your face inside the camera, you’ll be automatically transformed into an Autobot from Transformers!
(This demos uses face recognition and tracking. Nothing else is needed besides your human looks. But that one you’ll need, since the face recognition will look for two eyeballs, one nose, etc…)
2. Fight the dragon on your desktop!
Go to www.metaio.com/design/demo and download the Unifeye Design Demo Installer (Windows only). After installing, go to the subfolder (probably:) C:\Program Files\metaio\Unifeye Design Demo\examples\scenes\Knights&Dragons and print the file Drache_Marker_1.jpg.
Now start the Unifeye Design Demo link on your desktop. At the bottom of the screen you will see video play controls (rwd, play, stop, fwd), right next to those you’ll have three vertically aligned buttons: click the lower one and then select your webcam on the right. You’ll see your video feed. Go to File > Open and select examples > scenes > knights&dragons > DemoScene_Knights&Dragons.scef. Now hold the printed paper into the view!
(This demo uses feature based tracking, i.e. you have to use an image as a reference. In this case this is the castle image you printed. The whole tool can do much more and you can even import your own VRML files. If you have no clue, what that means, don’t worry. Try one of the other demos, that are shipped along.)
3. Go to where it all started!
Download the ARToolkit package from www.hitl.washington.edu/artoolkit/download and unpack it. If you run Windows, copy this file into the unpacked folder ARToolKit\bin or download the OpenGL GLUT files from the web and copy them to your folder. Now print the file ARToolKit\patterns\pattHiro.pdf and start the program simpleVRML. You will see a bee buzzing above a flower – on your hand!
(This demo uses marker based tracking, i.e. you have to hold a black/white pattern into the camera’s view. This printed square will be recognised as the anchor, where the program will put the graphics. As you move around the pattern, the 3D objects will move along. This last demo ships with all the C source code. So if you are interested in learning more about augmented reality and starting to program your own application, continue reading on the ARToolkit website for tutorials or go to the Studierstube to get the ARToolkit Plus, that might be more comfortable or convenient for you. Both are free of charge.)
Of course, there are dozens of different free and more commercial systems, but for now, I only wanted to give you a brief and free impression, of what’s easily possible. Fascinated? Would you love further getting-started’s? Need help with my micro tutorial? Let me know! :-)