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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.

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

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 positionning 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 the Spatial mapping is disabled.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.) and scale accordingly.

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.

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.

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 biggest edge is the one that will be the closest from the visitor at the experience opening.

[Target release S2 2020] The Creator can choose the Surface Anchor size and can disable automatic re-scale anytime in the project properties.

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 or Virtual World. In other words, they will be physically tied to the current exact surrounding.

Note that in AR, you must scan the surrounding you want to use as Spatial Anchor before being able to use it.

Adding a Spatial Anchor has a major impact

Once you create a project with a Spatial Anchor, the experience must be opened in these specific Physical or Virtual environments. It could be an augmented museum gallery, or in the future it could be a virtual location like a place in AltSpaceVR, or Fortnite.

Using Multiple Anchors

[Target release S2 2020]

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 VR devices
Simple Anchor
Horizontal Surface Anchor
Vertical Surface Anchor
Image Anchor ️️
Spatial Anchor

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.