4 easy AR tools you can use as a marketer and designer

Create AR content
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Augmented Reality - an untapped potential

AR is still a long way from being utilized to its full potential, but we’re already seeing AR tools and applications available for almost anyone to use. Unfortunately, there are still many businesses that don’t understand augmented reality yet. They usually think it’s too expensive to have a shot at or too complicated to get their heads around it.

It’s true that building from scratch a custom AR app that’s unique to your brand and use it for your content is still reserved to bigger companies who can afford these costs. 

But there are other less expensive alternatives out there that can help you leverage the power of AR and turn it into a solid platform for customer engagement. If used properly, these can help your product or brand come alive with a beautiful digital story, creating an unforgettable experience for your customers and eventually drive conversions. 

Without further ado, here are 4 easy, accessible tools that you can use right now to test AR for your brand with little to no costs and risks:

Torch - AR development tool

Torch is an AR mobile app which lets you build interactive 3D prototypes. In that regard, it is a lot like InVision or Framer, but for 3D. Its Design Environment lets you import assets, create complex interactions, and arrange multiple scenes.

Working with 2D/3D files, tools or workflows doesn't require any special 3D or coding skills, which makes it great for non-designers, too. The only piece of hardware that you need to build multi-scene AR experiences is your mobile device.

Torch offers access to AR and mobile features like image detection, social media sharing, GPS, voice input or payment, location services and third-party integrations. To have assets available in Torch, you need to be able to access them from your mobile device. Import the asset to your project, place it on the scene and arrange it to your liking. 

Vectary - AR content creator

An AR app is useless without proper content, whether we’re talking characters, environments or objects. Vectary is an online 3D design tool where you can create AR content with just a few clicks and export it as a USDZ file. It runs in every modern browser such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox and it features an easy-to-use drag and drop interface. This makes creating 3D models straightforward and super fast. 

You can either design 3D models from scratch using a free, complete 3D toolset, or choose from thousands of 3D assets from Vectary’s library. The library includes assets from Google Poly, Sketchfab, Thingiverse or MyMiniFactory. 

You can easily edit these assets any way you want using Vectary’s quick and smart mesh modeling tools. Once you're done, simply export them as a USDZ file. This is much easier than Apple’s solution to converting to USDZ by adding an XCode 10 command line. Vectary basically does all the work for you, without the need for any coding skills, which makes it not only a great AR content creator, but also an extremely easy-to-use USDZ converter. 

Facebook - an AR shop for your products

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Currently, you can use Facebook 3D posts to let your customers interact and explore visual details of 3D objects or videos right in their News Feed, making it very easy for your brand or product to get visibility on the social media platform.

The near future looks even more promising. In a move to draw ads to its Messenger app and target more than 1.3 billion people using it, the social media giant has launched this year a new augmented reality feature. This will give shoppers a “Tap to try it on” option, enabling them to visualize and virtually try out products that advertisers have made available, increasing the likelihood of buying them.

Even if for now there’s only a select group of advertisers testing out Facebook AR ads, this can rapidly turn into something big for any business, so if you’re a marketer, you really want to keep a close eye on this one.

Snapchat - AR ads

Snapchat is one of the first apps to smartly use augmented reality to create fun, engaging experiences for mobile users. If you’re an advertiser or designer, you simply cannot ignore a target group of more than 70 million Snapchatters who use the app’s Lenses every day.

Whether you’re an artist, developer, advertiser or just a newbie designer, you can use Snapchat's Lens Studio as an easy way to create and share augmented reality experiences.

The workflow for it is easy. Once you’ve created your design in a 3D design tool like Vectary, you can import it into Lens Studio. Here you can bring your creation to life with movements, animations and interactive triggers using Snapchat’s templates. When you’re done, you can publish and promote your lens.

*The AR item displayed in the header image is a Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9 model created by designer JAMES SA.