How Will Augmented Reality Change the Future of Art?

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What if we merge an age-old practice like art with a modern invention like augmented reality?

For the longest time, people have deemed art, in its traditional sense, as the collective term for high-class work exclusive to only a few and untouched by any form of advanced technology. Fine art seems to be synonymous with pieces rendered through traditional mediums.

But many have also wondered whether advancements in technology will inevitably influence the way people view and consume these pieces.

In this blog post, we discuss how a specific type of technology is changing the world and the future of art. This technology is called augmented reality.

What Is Augmented Reality?

Several academics and pioneers have given clear-cut definitions of augmented reality (AR). One such pioneer is Ronald Azuma, who pared AR down to its elements:

  1. Merging of the real and the virtual
  2. Real-time interactiveness
  3. Virtual objects’ registration in 3D

Another pioneer and researcher is Steve Aukstakalnis, who describes AR as follows in his book Practical Augmented Reality:

[It’s] the general term applied to a variety of display technologies capable of overlaying or combining alphanumeric, symbolic, or graphical information with a user’s view of the real world.

Steve Aukstakalnis

Based on these two definitions, we can say augmented reality is a type of technology that embeds 3D digital art into our immediate environment in real-time.

Pared down further, augmented reality comprises only two things — augmented reality art and the technology that triggers it. 

Image credits to Reshot

What Is Augmented Reality Art?

At the center of augmented reality technology are the visual elements that take up the user’s screen.

Augmented reality art, as the name suggests, is the digital art or image you see using AR technology. Artists often render this type of art in 3D, which people use for a myriad of purposes. These purposes can range from personal beautification to practical applications. 

There are two types of augmented reality art — one triggered by highly specific images and one that appears based on the user’s immediate environment. 

Marker-based augmented reality art appears only when the device senses the predetermined image that will cause the AR art to pop up on the screen. On the other hand, markerless augmented reality art can automatically embed itself into the real world and easily adapt to its environment.

AR art, which users see through their devices, is developed separately from the technology that brings it to life. 

With regard to the process of creating AR art, which is what NarraSoft does, artists start by modeling and sculpting the 3D assets. Then, they will need to make the assets compatible with AR technology.

Image credits to Unsplash

How Augmented Reality Will Change the Future of Art

Now that you have a clearer idea of what augmented reality art is, we go to this article’s main question — how will augmented reality change the future of art?  

There are two ways augmented reality is changing the art industry:

  • First, it changes how artists render art
  • And second, it changes how viewers consume art

With augmented reality technology, artists have a new reserve of mediums with which they can work. Of course, this entails the need for more technical know-how, but 3D art software with user-friendly interfaces, such as 3DSMax, is available to help traditional artists explore more modern approaches to their craft.

Lovers of art also get to experience the changes augmented reality technology provides. 

Examples of Augmented Reality in Art

In 2018, a group of independent artists made a bold yet rewarding move of “co-opting” a Jackson Pollock gallery. How? Through MoMAR, which the group describes as an “unauthorized gallery”. The initiative’s eponymous mobile application creates an entirely new experience for MoMA visitors by overlaying Pollock’s work with art by independent creatives.

In other words, Pollock’s paintings literally faded into the background, their purpose shifting from something to be viewed to something to be used for other pieces of art to appear.

Now, here’s an example where the artist and viewer simultaneously engage with augmented reality art.

In 2015, Disney’s research arm proposed an application that allows users to color the subjects in a coloring book. Okay, that doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But what if we tell you the application renders these subjects as live augmented reality art?

Through AR technology, the coloring book’s subjects become holographic-like 3D figures. It’s as if you’re adding texture and vibrancy to real-life objects!

It’s clear to see how AR technology makes art accessible to much more than a handful of fine art connoisseurs, which is perhaps the greatest draw of this technological advancement.

But how does AR really make art available to many? To answer this, we must look into the types of technology that enable AR art’s accessibility.

Image credits to Unsplash

Common Types of Augmented Reality Technology

Augmented reality might sound like a colossally intimidating concept to a few. But in truth, we don’t have to go very far to experience its magic. In fact, we can start with the very thing we have the most access to — our phone. 

Mobile Devices 

Our phones and tablets are an extension of ourselves. But more than that, these mobile devices have become an extension of our reality, continuously allowing us to see and access the world in ways we had not previously imagined. 

In our mobile devices are two key components that make augmented reality possible — our cameras and their sensors. These two work hand in hand to capture the data from our real world and convert them into data AR applications use.

Without even noticing, we engage with our phones’ advanced features, those that give us the opportunity to experience augmented reality. When we go on Instagram, we browse through its filters, amused by its capacity for facial recognition. When many of us played Pokémon Go back in 2016, we used our phone camera to engage with the game that allowed us to capture different characters with real-life data.

Artificial Intelligence

Another type of technology that makes augmented reality possible is artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) pertains to the type of technology designed to simulate human behavior, including a person’s capacity to sense and perceive things.

For a piece of AI-based technology to work, engineers feed it large amounts of data and instructions. The piece of technology then figures out what to do next based on the given information.

Earlier, we mentioned two types of augmented reality art assets — marker-based and markerless AR. A piece of markerless AR technology relies heavily on artificial intelligence because it needs data to discern where to situate the AR assets. 

For example, an Instagram filter should recognize a human face looks. This will inform the application when and where to display our chosen augmented reality. Another example is Pokémon Go. In Pokémon Go, the mobile application should know what a street or ground looks like. With this data, it can display the characters in the right place at the right time.

Image credits to Unsplash

How to Get Augmented Reality Art

We briefly described the process of augmented reality art development. To elaborate, we’re going to tell you step by step how our artists create AR assets for our clients.

Step 1: We need to model, sculpt, and refine the 3D art needed for your augmented reality project. So we start with our standard 3D art creation process! Some of the software we use include Substance Painter, Autodesk Maya, and 3DSMax.

Step 2: Then, we convert these assets into readable files on our augmented reality software.

Step 3: We prime the assets for AR technology through a software application called Reality Composer. Then, we will render the assets completely and make them usable on any AR application.

NarraSoft

Essentially, you need the right tools and skills to optimally render augmented reality art.

So, if you’re urgently looking for artists who have the right skill set and experience to develop augmented reality art, you’re on the right page.

NarraSoft offers augmented reality art development for companies operating in any industry. We’re capable of designing a variety of 3D models, such as characters, vehicles, and even retail items, which we prime for AR use. 

Interested in working with us? Send us an email at sales@narrasoft.com. You may also message our chat box or fill out the form on this page. We’re excited to work with you!

Justine Jordan

Justine Jordan

Justine Jordan is a content and copy writer. She has written for a popular business daily in the Philippines and for various startups across the globe before transitioning to work for NarraSoft. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a bachelor's degree in journalism.