My mom loves to remind me about how she sweltered, hugely pregnant with me, through a muggy Illinois summer while listening to cicadas drone on & on. Now I want to bring a taste of the 70’s back to her via Google’s latest AR content.
You can now search for all these little (and not-so-little) guys via your Android or iPhone and see them in your room:
Artist/technologist Erik Natzke has kept me inspired for the better part of 20 years. His work played a key role in sending me down a multi-year rabbit hole trying to get Flash (and later HTML) to be a live layer type within Photoshop and other Adobe apps. The creative possibilities were tremendous, and though I’ll always be sad we couldn’t make it happen, I’m glad we tried & grateful for the inspiration.
Anyway, since going independent following a multi-year stint at Adobe, Erik has been sharing delightful AR explorations—recently featuring virtual Legos interacting with realtime depth maps of a scene. He’s been sharing so much so quickly lately that I can’t keep up and would encourage you to follow his Twitter & Instagram feeds, but meanwhile here are some fun tastes:
Here’s an example of how they look (apologies for the visual degradation from the GIFfing; I’ll see whether I can embed the interactive original):
People seem to dig ’em:
Nissan saw an engagement rate that was 8X higher than rich media benchmarks for the automotive vertical.
For Adidas, Swirl ads drove a 4x higher engagement rate than rich media benchmarks and had an average viewable time of 11 seconds,The 3D creatives also drove a return on ad spend (ROAS) of ~2.8 for the Colombia market.
For Belvedere The Swirl ads drove 6.5x higher brand favorability and 4.9x higher purchase intent vs. category norms.
To get started creating a Swirl ad, you can upload 3D assets to Google Web Designer and use the new Swirl templates. Brands and agencies can also edit, configure, and publish models using Google’s 3D platform, Poly.
The Land Rover app for iOS & Android, leveraging Unity + ARKit & ARCore, goes beyond ye old “spin car in space & maybe change wheels” approach we’ve long seen. Somehow I can’t embed the video, but it’s worth a look, and you can get a taste of the immersive environments it enables here:
I’m more than a little snowed under right now with preparations for next week’s announcement, but I wanted to share a few interesting finds:
Photographers are always asking for better ways to prevent misuse of their works, and TinEye promises to help by using image-recognition techniques to find images in the wild. Ars Technica’s got details.
I’m delighted to see that Cooliris, the very cool browser technology formerly known as PicLens (see previous raving), is available once again for Safari. I’d forgotten how much I missed it until it returned recently. The developers are also offering an embeddable Flash-powered version for use on your own sites.
Or rather, it’s not just about 3D. But let me back up a second.
Remember the Newton? My first week at Adobe, I attended an outside "how to be a product manager" seminar at which the Newton was held up as a cautionary tale. The speaker pointed out that the product’s one critical feature–the thing on which everything else depended–was a handwriting recognition system that sucked at recognizing handwriting. Among many other things, the Newton also featured a thermometer. Customers, according to the speaker, had a conniption: what the hell were the product designers thinking, getting distracted with stuff like a thermometer when they couldn’t get the foundation right?
The moral, obviously, is that if you’re going to branch into new territory, you’d better have made your core offering rock solid. And even if it is solid, some customers may perceive any new work as coming at their expense.
I worry a bit about Photoshop users seeing the app branch into 3D and thinking we’ve taken our eye off the ball. Earlier this week reader Jon Padilla commented, "Some of my disgruntled co-workers grumbled ‘oh great! a bunch of cool features we’ll never learn to use…’" No matter what Photoshop adds specifically for your needs, the presence of other features can make it easy to say, "That looks like a great product… for someone else."
Obviously we care about improving the way Photoshop gets used in 3D workflows, especially around compositing and texture painting. If that’s all we had in mind, however, I think we would be overdoing our investment in 3D features relative to others. As it happens, our roadmap is broad and ambitious, so let me try to give some perspective:
At root, Photoshop’s 3D engine is a mechanism that runs programs on a layer, non-destructively and in the context of the Photoshop layer stack. At the moment it’s geared towards manipulating geometry, shading surfaces, etc., but shader code can perform a wide range of imaging operations.
Features that work on 3D data–being able to create & adjust lights, adjust textures and reflectivity, paint on transformed surfaces, etc.–work on 2D data as well. (Wouldn’t it be nice to have Lighting Effects written in this century?)
As photographers finally tire of chasing Yet More Megapixels, cameras will differentiate themselves in new ways, such as by adding depth-sensingtechnology that records 3D data about a scene. The same infrastructure needed for working with synthetic 3D objects (e.g. adjustable lighting, raytracing) can help composite together photographic data.
The field of photogrammetry–measuring objects using multiple 2D photos–is taking off, fueled by the ease with which we can now capture and analyze multiple images of a scene. The more Photoshop can learn about the three-dimensional structure of a scene, the more effectively it can manipulate image data.
I know I’m not providing a lot of specifics, but the upshot is that we expect Photoshop’s 3D plumbing to be used for a whole lot more than spinning Coke cans and painting onto dinosaurs. Rather than being a thermometer on a Newton, it’s a core investment that should open a lot of new doors over many years ahead, and for a very wide range of customers.
The resulting output delivers a high-quality, photo-realistic image, all from within the Photoshop Extended environment.
LightWave Rendition ships with sample projects and a library of 3D model art. The product also includes support for 3D models from a variety of applications, including LightWave 3D, Google™ SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse or many readily available 3D formats. It includes:
Slider Controls for Render and Anti-Alias Quality, allowing for quick preview renders up to photo-quality images.
Material Presets for the option to apply a preset material or any selected Photoshop materials to the surface of your 3D object for complete flexibility in design.
Light Environments open the use of the default Photoshop Extended lighting environment or users can add to the power of LightWave Rendition for Adobe Photoshop by using any 2D layer as a light map for complete control of the final light environment.
The product is $149 for Mac and Windows & is available for purchase and download from the NewTek site.
I’m pleased to see that NewTek, the folks behind the LightWave 3D modeling, animation, and rendering package, have announced a new product, LightWave Rendition for Photoshop. This plug-in technology builds on the 3D file format support in Photoshop CS3 Extended, adding on high-quality rendering and lighting manipulation. In this screenshot they show an image as displayed by Photoshop’s built-in renderer, then hit with the LightWave renderer & touched up in Photoshop. Here’s a second example.
According to their marketing docs, LightWave Rendition for Photoshop includes:
Slider Controls for Render and Anti-Alias Quality: Allows for quick preview renders up to photo-quality images.
Material Preset: You have the option to apply preset or selected Photoshop materials to the surface of your 3D object for complete flexibility in design.
Light Environment: Use the default Photoshop Extended lighting environment or add the power of LightWave Rendition for Adobe Photoshop by using any 2D layer as a light map for complete control of the final light environment.
Because the product is in beta form, you can buy it now for $99, discounted from the normal price of $149. The discount ends when the beta does.