3D vs AR Visual Differences
3D visualization is a powerful tool for brands looking to elevate their digital efforts. Bringing products to life online with high fidelity digital twins creates a compelling experience for buyers and demonstrates the exact form, function, and quality they can expect after purchase.
Augmented reality (AR) is being paired with 3D visualizers and configurations at an increasing frequency, extending the immersive buying experience and further amplifying the associated business results. However, as product managers dive deeper into these experiences, they often find differences in the visual parity within a configurator versus what comes to life through AR. While the technology is quickly evolving on both sides, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration when comparing a 3D product experience to one in AR.
Why Does My Product Look Different in AR?
Unlike a web page based experience or virtual reality where an object is placed into a controlled environment, AR is the integration of digital information with the user’s current environment. Where conditions such as lighting and tone can be built into a desktop or mobile experience, those conditions cannot be passed on to AR. Augmented reality uses real-time lighting in the user’s physical environment. A bright sunny room will affect how a product is viewed in AR, as will a dimly lit space or lighting from various angles. Dopple’s 3D desktop web experience uses a controlled global lighting setup which is not included once it passes through to AR.
Native WebAR capabilities are now common among the leading smart devices; however because they are built by different developers, the manner in which each device processes the information that makes up an AR experience may vary. Variations in texture compression and lighting approximation will produce a variable end result that is not controlled by the experience builder.
These variances may be combated by passing more data intensive textures through to AR experiences, however this comes at the cost of load times and overall experience. The more information that is passed through, the harder the device must work to deliver the experience, creating lags.
As we operate today, there are core limitations in AR that limit the degree of fidelity that can be achieved through WebAR, largely due to material extensions that are not transferable to an AR environment. Fortunately, the 3D development community is actively building new capabilities and closing the gap between browser-based and AR experiences.