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Blog: ar video

New in the Creator: Color Palettes, Transparent Videos & More

Chris Cameron November 12, 2014

Users of the Layar Creator may have noticed a pair of features we’ve just released today. One is a more advanced technical ability that we’ve be working on for a while, while the other is a simple but powerful feature that we were able to quickly implement and roll out.

Automatic Color Palettes for Buttons

Let’s go over the simple one first before diving into the more technical feature. Here at Layar, the Creator team is constantly thinking of ways to make the creative process easier for Creator users; we want it to be easy to make high-quality Interactive Print content. And that’s the driving force behind one simple new feature: automatic button color palettes.

Previously in the Creator, our standard buttons were all the same default shade of blue, but you could change it to any color you like. Despite the ability to customize button colors, we noticed that the majority of buttons in the Creator have that default color. Now, the default buttons automatically adjust to match the color scheme we detect from your reference image.

This makes it much easier to create more immersive experiences as the default buttons will feel more natural among similar colors. You can still use any color you want, but now when you edit that button you’ll see a suggested color palette to choose from. Like we said, it’s a small change, but we think it goes a long way to creating more immersive and high-quality content.

Videos with Transparency

The advanced capability (and the more exciting feature of the two) is support for alpha channel transparency in videos. If you don’t know what this means, here’s a quick explainer.

Until today, only standard videos could be used in the Creator to make AR videos. These are restricted to a normal rectangular frame common to most forms of video, but there are cases where you may want to use video elements in a more immersive way. Now with alpha channel transparency support, videos in the Creator can use masks to isolate items and create transparency, eliminating the rectangular frame. Think of it as the video equivalent of transparent PNGs, while JPGs always have a rectangular shape.

Take, for instance, the example below. Our original video asset of a tiger walking on a green screen can now be modified to make the green background disappear, making for a more immersive video when viewed in AR with Interactive Print. In the top left is the original video, below that is the alpha matte we created, and on the right is how the video would appear in Interactive Print.

But you don’t need green screen footage in order to use transparency in videos. You can either create masks on-the-fly with video effects software (like rotoscoping, which can be very difficult), or you can just use animated digital assets created with video effects or 3D modeling software (like animated text, characters or logos) that are already isolated on a transparent background.

Because the process of creating a compatible alpha channel video is a bit technical, we’ve put together a step-by-step video tutorial that walks you through the process.

Some video editing and/or video effects software is needed, and our tutorial uses Adobe After Effects. Similar programs (Premiere, Apple Motion, Final Cut) will have similar features and abilities to make alpha channel videos, so the tutorial should give you an idea of what you need to do.

Alpha Channel Video support is only available for Premium Account subscribers. To upload your own you can find the Alpha Channel Video button in the Advanced button category.

One More Thing: Campaign Extension

We’ve also released a small upgrade that makes it easier to extend campaigns for an extra 12 months beyond their original 12 months of publication. Previously you needed to wait until the campaign expired to extend the campaign, but now you can choose to extend for an extra year at any time.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/555

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AR Video Made Easy with Hosting and Conversion

Chris Cameron September 18, 2014

Today we’ve updated the Creator with a very popular feature requests from users: video hosting!

Converting and hosting your own videos has always been a bit of a hassle, so we’ve gone ahead and taken away that headache and made it simple and easy to use AR video.

Now when you want to use the AR video widget, you only need to select the video from your computer and upload it to the Creator. We’ll convert the video to the proper format and host it for you. We’ll even keep a library of your videos so you can easily add them to more than one campaign.

The most common video formats are supported, including MP4, AVI, FLV and AAC. There’s no limit on the size of the video, be it must be shorter than 5 minutes. Once you upload a video, we’ll quickly convert it in the background so you can continue to work on your campaign.

An advantage to uploading and hosting your videos in the Creator is that we can dynamically serve the best quality video to users depending on the strength of their Internet connection. That way they’ll have the smoothest experience possible with your campaign without any extra work on your end.

Video hosting is available for Premium Accounts, so upgrade today to take advantage of this great new feature!

Also coming soon to Premium Accounts is the ability to use videos with alpha channel transparency. This means you can create video files with transparent backgrounds to better integrate them into your campaigns.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/553

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GUP Magazine Brings Art Photography to Life

Chris Cameron May 27, 2013

Since 2005, GUP Magazine – the Guide to Unique Photography – has been publishing its inspiring magazine of photography, and more specifically: art photography. In its most recent issue, which centers on photography in Los Angeles, GUP has brought its collection of astounding photography to life with interactive print.

Click here to scan the cover of GUP Magazine!

A special motion-graphic animation on the cover (created by Marija Danilovic, see above) featuring Angelina Jolie welcomes readers to the issue. Inside, as readers flip through the various photographers’ galleries, they can scan the pages to view video documentaries, films and trailers for a behind-the-scenes look. 

“We decided to add interactive elements to the magazine because it adds an extra layer to our current content,” says Peter Bas of GUP Magazine, who calls the Layar Creator “quick, cheap and easy.”

With the Layar Creator, its easy to quickly link extra digital content to print pages, increasing reader engagement and opening doors to new, digital commerce opportunities for publishers.

“Most of the featured photographers also film their projects nowadays,” adds Bas. “In a magazine it’s impossible to show this, but with Layar’s technology it is. The additional layer is a direct enrichment to the content of the magazine and to the reader experience.”

Click the images above to view in full-size.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/497

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Print Power’s Magic Cover Comes Alive with Interactive Print

Chris Cameron April 18, 2013

The Dutch magazine Print Power has created a truly magical cover for its latest issue with Layar’s interactive print. Scanning the cover with Layar brings the static cover to life with a truly awesome video of a magician doing several great close-up card tricks in less than 60 seconds. It’s really something to see!

When we talk about adding the “Wow” factor to your print, this is what we mean! This is a very effective implementation of Layar’s interactive print technology. The call-to-action in the upper right instructs the reader to watch as the magician on the cover comes alive.

Click here to try it for yourself!

This is right up there among the best covers we’ve seen in interactive print, along with the robots on this Reader’s Digest cover and our own LAYARED Magazine with co-founder Raimo. There are lots of other great examples out there, but Print Power has really set the standard for augmented magazine covers!

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/483

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Bringing Magazine Covers to Life with AR Video

Chris Cameron June 22, 2012

When we launched the Layar Creator, we created LAYARED Magazine as an example of just how interactive print can become when using the Creator.

The shining star of the magazine is cover, which comes to life when you view it with Layar. We wanted to share how we created this bit of magic, so we’ve created a video showing just how it was made (including some of Raimo’s outtakes and bloopers!)

So check out the video below, it’s a great showcase for using AR video - video which displays within the AR view on top of print, not in a separate window like a YouTube video.

And don’t forget, if you want your very own copy of LAYARED Magazine to hold in your hand, you can order one now!

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/398

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