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Anchors

The 3D content you make will have to be anchored to the Physical or Virtual World at some point.

  • In the case of an Augmented Reality museum exhibition, then you definitely want to anchor the content to the Physical World.

  • If you're creating an AR experience for an article in a newspaper, then you'll need to anchor it to the article's main picture.

  • It could be a maquette of a new airport, that you'll mostly place on desks and tables for meetings and such; the common trait between these is that they feature a simple 2D Surface. Therefore you're going to anchor the maquette to a 2D Surface.

Watch this tutorial to know more about the concept of Anchor and the Simple Anchor:

Anchor selection

All anchors can only be selected by hitting the "Anchor" button in the Creation menu. You can't tap on them to do so.

Project creation

When you create a new project you have to choose the type of location and anchor you want for your experience. See more details in the Project section.

Anchor types

The physical environment isn't useful for all anchors. Depending on the anchor type, scene elements collide with it or not. See below for more details by anchor type.

Elements semi-occluded by physical environment

For all AR project, elements are semi-occluded by the physical environment. This helps you get a sense of the precise position of the elements in the physical world. This is especially useful for those using Minsar Studio on mobile AR devices. Rest assured, this is not enabled in Preview and View modes.

Note that you can select an anchor anytime by taping on it or using the "Anchor" button in the Creation menu. Then change its type thanks to "Change Anchor type" button.

Simple Anchor

Provides a basic elements positioning system.

This is an experience with a Simple Anchor. Since a Simple Anchor doesn't have dimensions, it does not fit the available space.

This means that elements don't collide with the Simple Anchor, nor the Spatial mapping.

The resulting experience could potentially be opened from anywhere, whether in Physical or Virtual Worlds, but might be bigger than the ideal space needed to watch.

How to use it in Minsar Studio?

If you move the Simple Anchor while it's not selected (and no other element is selected), all its anchored elements will move with it.

If you want to move only the Simple Anchor, select it and then move it.

When selected, you can rotate it to change its orientation among its anchored elements. The orientation is important for the opening of the experience.

Select the "Gaze placement" option in the "Anchor" menu to reset its placement.

Experience opening

The visitor has to tap to place the anchor where they want it to be.

Surface Anchor

Like a Simple Anchor but with 2 Dimensions.

The same experience using a Surface Anchor will be responsive to its environment, using its dimensions to find the best 2D surface (a ground, a table, a desk, etc.) in the current field of view.

There are 2 types of Surface Anchor:

  • Horizontal Surface Anchor: to anchor the experience to the floor, a table, etc.

  • Vertical Surface Anchor: to anchor the experience to a door, a wall, etc.

Elements only collide to the level of the Surface Anchor, not with the Spatial mapping.

How to use it in Minsar Studio?

To move the Surface Anchor, drag and drop its borders:

  • If you move the Surface Anchor while it's not selected (and no other element is selected), all its anchored elements will move with it.

  • If you want to move only the Surface Anchor, select it and then move it.

Select the "Gaze placement" option in the "Anchor" menu to reset its placement.

You can edit the Surface Anchor size thanks to handlers displayed when the Anchor is selected.

When an Horizontal Surface Anchor is selected, you can rotate it to change its orientation among its anchored elements. The orientation is important for the opening of the experience. Note that the widest edge is the one that will be the closest from the visitor at the experience opening.

Experience opening

The visitor has to put the Surface Anchor on a compatible surface or in the air, then tap to place it.

Image Anchor

[Available on iOS, Android and Magic Leap One for now, soon on other platforms.]

Like a Surface Anchor but with an Image provided by the Creator to track.

Elements only collide to the level of the Image Anchor, not with the Spatial mapping.

How to use it in Minsar Studio?

When you create or change Anchor type for an Image Anchor, you need to:

  1. Choose an image in the Assets Picker.

  2. Manually enter its approximate width (to help the detection to work properly).

  3. Place it on a matching Physical image (to anchor it as it will be in visitor mode), or freely like a Simple Anchor.

Note that once placed on the matching Physical image, the Image Anchor doesn't move accordingly in real time, for now in edit; it does in preview and when visiting the experience.

If you want to change its position you can either:

  • Drag and drop it from the Physical image to place it manually.

  • Select the "Gaze placement" option in the "Anchor" menu to detect a matching Physical image or place it freely in gaze placement.

Edit the image properties

You can change the width of the image to detect in the Properties of the Image Anchor.

Replace the image

You can replace the image to use as an anchor thanks to the "Replace image" button in the Image Anchor menu.

Image detection

The image you choose must be contrasted enough for Minsar to be able to recognize it in the environment, with as many details as possible on the image.

To find the image in the environment, you must also help Minsar by moving your phone close enough to the image so that Minsar can snap the anchor on it. In addition, you must ensure that your digital image as well as the printed one have the same format: if your digital image is square whereas your printed image is an A4 format, Minsar will have trouble locating it.

Favor iPhone for Image Anchor

iPad devices are great for AR, but we found out the iPhone is better for images recognition (for now).
Favor them to create projects and visit experiences with Image Anchor.

Watch this video to see an example of an experience using Image Anchor:

Experience opening

When the matching image is detected, the Image Anchor automatically snaps on it and moves along with it (unlike in edit).

Spatial Anchor (preview)

[Available on iOS, Android and HoloLens 2 for now.]

If a Spatial Anchor is chosen for a project, elements will be anchored to the Physical World. In other words, they will be physically tied to the current exact surrounding.

Adding a Spatial Anchor has a major impact

Once you create a project with a Spatial Anchor, the experience must be opened in this specific Physical environment. It could be an augmented museum gallery (Indoor Spatial Anchor), a street (Outdoor Spatial Anchor), or in the future it could be a virtual location like a place in AltSpaceVR, or Fortnite.

Obviously, elements collide with the Spatial mapping since it is the Spatial Anchor.

How to use it in Minsar Studio?

There are 2 types of Spatial Anchor:

  • Indoor Spatial Anchor: used for indoor physical places.

  • Outdoor Spatial Anchor: used for outdoor physical places. Note that the GPS is required.

After you chose the Spatial Anchor, you must:

  1. Place the first element of your scene.

  2. Scan the surrounding to anchor the element to it.

Later you'll be able to import a scan of a physical place to work on it from another place.

Experience opening

When the matching space is detected, the experience is automatically placed on it.

Inner 360 Environment

The visitor is immersed in a 360 video or image. They can move in a round surface of 1.5m radius, the "Inner 360 Anchor".

If they go to its border, the whole scene moves with them to follow them and make sure the user stays inside the Inner 360 Environment.

You can add scene elements to it, as for other types of anchor.

The Inner 360 Environment is fully independent from the physical environment. Then, elements only collide with the 360 video/image, not the Spatial mapping.

How to use it in Minsar Studio?

Once you have selected "Inner 360 Environment" anchor, choose a video or image in one of your providers.

Replace the 360 video/image

  1. Select the 360 video or image thanks to the "360 Environment" button in the Creation menu.

  2. Hit the "Replace" button in the menu.

  3. Choose another 360 video/image in one of your providers.

Rotate the Inner 360 Anchor

When selected, you can rotate the Inner 360 Anchor to choose its orientation in relation to the Inner 360 image/video.

The size of the Inner 360 video/image (26m diameter) and Inner 360 Anchor (3m diameter) on the ground can't be edited for now.

Note that, if needed, the 360 Inner Image texture size is resized to 4k.

Experience opening

  • In VR, the "Inner 360 Anchor" is directly and automatically placed on the virtual ground of the visitor, and the 360 Environment is displayed around them.

  • In AR, the visitor has to target the physical ground, then the "Inner 360 Anchor" is automatically placed on it, and the 360 Environment is displayed around them.

No floor by default

Note that no floor is displayed by default to make sure all your 360 image/video is fully visible to the visitor.

If you want one, you have to add it yourself, for example thanks to a modified shape.

Using Multiple Anchors

[Target release 2021]

Developers use responsive techniques to give insights as to where menus and other webpage elements should be placed on tiny, medium, and big screens. With Minsar Studio, you can do the same, but with Physical and Virtual Worlds, without the typical developer tooling.

The Creator has a deep knowledge of the area and knows for sure the Ancient Egypt room probably won't move in the foreseeable future, whereas some artworks might be moved to new places in that room. Artworks include sculptures and papyrus documents.

To create an environment-aware AR experience, the Creator will anchor some navigation elements (such as texts and arrows) using the Spatial Anchor, anchor contextual elements (like explainer videos) to artworks using Object Anchors and Image Anchors.

Examples

In this experience made by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux for the Pierrefonds Castle (France), most of the content is anchored to the world, while some other elements are anchored to physical objects such as paintings.


A picture of our team creating a project. It features a simple anchoring to a 2D World Surface. Once published, the resulting experience could be opened on any physical or virtual table, or on a floor at human scale if the space allows for it.


A concept we made featuring content anchored to a painting, using the Image Surface Anchor.


Compatibility

Not all anchors are created equal, and some of them might not be supported on all platforms you want to target.

Anchoring support per platforms

Anchors are environment descriptors. They facilitate placement of your content, but not all of them are supported everywhere. See Anchoring for more details.

For instance, if you plan to create an experience on iOS while targetting HoloLens 2, don't anchor its content to a physical object like a painting. It'll work on iOS, but won't behave as intended on HoloLens 2.

iOS Android HoloLens 2 Magic Leap One Oculus Quest 2
Simple Anchor
Horizontal Surface Anchor
Vertical Surface Anchor
Image Anchor ️️
Spatial Anchor
Inner 360 Environment

As you can see, the most cross-platform experiences you can build are made of simple anchors and horizontal surface anchors. They can be created on any platform and opened on any platforms.