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Blog: screenshots

Layar Player SDK: Now With 100% More Animation

Chris Cameron May 26, 2011

At the beginning of the year, we introduced a big step forward in mobile augmented reality development - the Layar Player. This easy-to-use SDK allows those with a basic understanding of iPhone development to add fully-functional Layar AR into their very own apps by simply copying and pasting some code. Now layers don’t need to live within the Layar app itself, but can exist as their own app specially tailored to a specific purpose and experience.



Since then we’ve continued to expand our platform and enhance the functionality of Layar, and so it’s time to bring some of these improvements to the Layar Player.



The release of Layar 5.0 in April introduced several new features that help make augmented reality more interactive and social. These improvements are important for augmented reality as a whole because it helps the technology become more user-friendly. Now, with our latest iteration of the Layar Player SDK, developers can incorporate new Layar 5.0 features, including animation, into their own apps.



We still receive questions about the new functionality of Layar 5.0, so we wanted to use this opportunity to take an in-depth look at how developers can best take advantage of the Layar platform.



To show how current layers are using these features, we will showcase these features in the context of how one in particular - the Conquar game layer - has utilized them.



Social Sharing



With Layar 5.0, users can now connect with their friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. A few simple authentications and Layar users can begin sharing all kinds of Layar content with the world. Users can even connect their Layar account with Facebook and Twitter, allowing them to log in with these networks.



When browsing layers in the catalogue, users can quickly share a layer in their Twitter feed or on their Facebook wall. Users also have the option to simply email details of a layer to their contacts, or to copy a short-link to the layer for any other social use.



Inside of a layer, clicking on a spot or POI will allow users to share that point on their social networks. As with layers, a personalized tweet-style message can be added to the item when it is shared, allowing users to add their personal touch.



With Conquar - a massively multiplayer AR game of territorial control - users can “attack” spots belonging to enemy teams in order to challenge that zone’s control. As they do so, they can also share their actions with Facebook and Twitter, encouraging others to join the fight. Screenshots can also be grabbed from directly within the layer and shared just as easily.



For users, these sharing capabilities enhance the interactivity of layers by allowing them to display their exploits to the world. It also attracts others to begin using these layers, creating buzz and generating growth of usage and content of a particular layer.



For developers, social sharing makes it possible to harness the viral nature of the social web in promoting content online. By encouraging users to share layers and content, developers can quickly and easily get their name out to public and to people who might be interested in using their layers.



Developers themselves can also promote their own layers by using the sharing functionality built directly into Layar. It is also possible to grab the data being shared, like screenshots, and aggregate it on a third-party website, creating a portal for your layer’s users to save, comment, rate, and explore items they’ve shared.



Animation



Another key component of Layar 5.0 is the inclusion of animation. Previously, 3D and 2D objects within layers were relegated to a life of paralysis. They simply sat in their position in the real world, limiting their ability to catch your eye and encourage interaction.



Now, however, any object in layer can come alive with animation. When spots appear in your vision as you experience the world through augmented reality, they can now drop into the screen, or grow in size or spin around. It’s a small change, but it goes a long way for creating a smooth blend between the real and digital worlds.



Users can also trigger animations by interacting with objects on the screen. Icons and 3D models - which can already have their own inherent animation by default - can be triggered to perform a secondary animation (such as growing, moving, rotating, etc.) as well. Additional attributes can be programmed into animations, such as changing speeds or positions over time.



These animation features have been intelligently incorporated into the Conquar game layer. The game shows icons representing locations to be conquered, and these icons grow in size when you focus on one. It’s almost as if the enemy icon is bearing down on your location, prompting you to attack it! It is also far easier to determine which icon you are currently viewing in the bottom info bar. Upon clicking one of the icons, it will spin in a slow circle as you view its info.



Putting it all together…



We’ve put together a video that sums up all of the great features of Layar 5.0, including the implementation in the Conquar game layer. You can see that video embedded below.



Developers can use these new features to create engaging and interactive augmented reality experiences for users on the Layar platform, but if you’d rather host your own app, the updated Layar Player SDK lets you do just that.



For more information and to download the SDK, visit our Layar Player page.



Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/288

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The Invisible Artist Layer Guides You Through London’s Art Museums

Adriane Goetz February 15, 2011

Perusing London’s wide array of art museums, a personal tour guide is the ultimate way to augment your experience; so when a charming British artist dandified in a variety of custom suits appears before you at each of London’s top museums offering commentary about its history and architecture as well as a list of exhibiting artists, you find his “presence” pleasant and helpful despite his disarming lack of flesh and bone. 

As you progress from museum to museum, however, you begin to question this “invisible artist’s” motives. 

Artist and Derby University professor John Goto came up with the concept for The Invisible Artist in a period of frustration after being dropped from a gallery’s books. Ruminating over the politics of the art world, where an artist’s visibility requires the approval of a small group of “gatekeepers,” Goto began sketching the headless figures that would eventually become the 3D models in his Invisible Artist layer.

The nature of Goto’s frustration fit perfectly with Augmented Reality’s open space platform because Goto could place his art at any location—or in this case, at any museum he desired, without permission, and anyone (with the Layar app, that is) could see it. The result was a subversive layer satirizing the bureaucracy and lack of diversity of London’s contemporary art scene (notice how the list of exhibiting artists contains the same few names at every museum).

While its derisive nature is clever, the “must-see” factor in this layer is its exquisite 3D modeling. Peering through your mobile phone at these life-sized figures, you can see the shadow behind every fold in the artist’s clothing, the texture of each material, and the soft glow of London’s cloudy sky gently reflected off of each garment.

The Invisible Artist is an excellent example of what can be achieved on the Layar platform with the right combination of skills in the artistic as well as the technical fields. In order to build this layer, Goto utilized his artistic talent to create the 3D models, then colleague Matthew Leach (from whom Goto first learned about Augmented Reality) used his development skills to set up a server, place the models, and program functionality to make for the best possible user experience.

The Invisible Artist is Goto and Leach’s second layer in their Augmented Reality repertoire; their first, West End Blues, explores the history and sounds of London’s jazz and blues musicians. The two have recently become Pioneers in the Layar Partner Network, and you can look forward to more groundbreaking AR content from them in the future.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/230

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The Next Wave of Interactive Augmented Reality Experiences

maurice groenhart September 27, 2010

Augmented Reality is the medium for interactivity, animation and cool visuals. That’s how you get engagement and that’s what our new 4.0 release of the Layar Augmented Reality Browser for Android is focused on. Today we’ve announced the next wave of interactive Augmented Reality experiences.

In the spirit of sharing the new capabilities of this release, we’ve listed several amazing layers below. These layers show the new interaction and interface capabilities of the new release of the platform and the browser. A special thanks to the Layar Partner Network members who created these. You can update to the latest version through the Android Market and view the layers mentioned below (iPhone version will follow soon).

ARcade by HPSC 2010 is the 30th anniversary of the legendary PAC-MAN game is the inspiration of the ARcade game on Layar. In this game players run after blinky cubes in a retro-arcade decor. The line of cubes is generated for the player, who gets points for every cubes he goes through. Players must register to play and see leaderboards of the day and the week.

Direct link to open the game on your phone http://m.layar.com/open/arcade



Woomba by Superimpose and Hoppala The Woombas escaped! Circus director Zambarini needs your help to catch them again. But watch out for the Wookies who disguise as Woombas and try to get you. Score points by catching different game characters, leading you on a fun trail.

Direct link to open the game on your phone http://m.layar.com/open/woombamania



Other showcases:



Read more »

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/185

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Layar Reality Browser adds 3D to its Platform

Maarten Lens-FitzGerald September 22, 2009

Layar adds new dimensions to its platform; first demo in Amsterdam.



AMSTERDAM, September 22nd 2009 – Today Layar announced the addition of 3D capabilities to its augmented reality browser platform. With 3D, developers can tag real-life objects with 3D text, place 3D objects in real-world space, and create multi-sensory experiences. The addition of 3D enables Layar developers to create more realistic and immersive augmented reality experiences for mobile devices.



First demo at Picnic Conference in the Netherlands
The first demonstration of the Layar 3D experience will be at the Picnic Conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from September 23-25. A demo application has been developed to showcase the power of 3D. Conference attendees looking for “Picnic” in the Android Market can find and download the Android application to their phone to view a virtual exhibition that delivers a multi-sensory experience of reality, augmented by 3D.

They will experience the flyby of a jumbojet, a rocket launch, and be in the middle of an arcade game - all including sound. Conference buildings are tagged with 3D texts and on the lawn several 3D objects are placed such as windmills and 3D “experience domes”. Videos and images of the demo are available at www.layar.com/3D.



How does it work?
Layar 3D makes use of OpenGL, the accelerometer, the GPS and the compass of the phone. Developers can place 3D objects in their content layers based on coordinates. Objects can be optimized in size and orientation to create an immersive and realistic experience. The 3D capabilities support live downloading and rendering of 3D objects. Actions such as “open link” or “play music” can be assigned to 3D objects.



November Launch for Android
Together with selected partners Layar will update their API to support 3D objects for new and existing layers. Layar will launch 3D to the public in November together with the launch of version 3.0 of the Layar Reality Browser for Android.



Raimo van der Klein, CEO:

“We are very excited to announce this groundbreaking addition to the platform. Augmented Reality is an experience medium, not just a tool or a substitute for maps. With 3D we deliver these experiences. The platform currently facilitates over 500 developers who from November onwards will have endless possibilities to create rich 3D multi-sensory Augmented Reality experiences.”

About Layar
The Layar Reality Browser displays real time digital information on top of reality in the camera screen of the mobile phone. While looking through the phone’s camera lens, a user can see houses for sale, popular bars and shops, tourist information, play a live game, etcetera. Layar first launched on June 16th, 2009 and announced its global launch and version 2.0 on August 17th, 2009. The Layar platform serves as an enabler for mobile location services - any database with geo-location information can easily be turned in a content layer. The Layar Reality Browser is globally available for mobile phones running the Android operating system, with iPhone 3GS coming soon. Layar is a company based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



More information
Weblink: http://layar.com/3D



Available videos (less then 60 seconds) of technical trials and screenshots:



CLASSIC ARCADE GAME ANIMATION



Screenshot:
pacman2



Video:



TAGGING OF BUILDINGS



Screenshot:



refiningroom



Video:





FLYBY BOEING 747



Screenshot:



klm



Video:



Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/40

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Layar Reality Browser 2.1 launched

Rhymo August 29, 2009

We just uploaded an updated version of our browser. Next to some little bug fixes (thanks everyone for your feedback) we added some cool new sharing features.


IMPORTANT MESSAGE: We also removed the “forward lock” making it possible for people with a developer phone to download Layar as well. As a consequence it is impossible to update your current Layar application. So please remove it before you upgrade. We are sorry for this but the “forward lock” was making our life very complicated. Better to do this move now than later. Please share the message by retweeting. Thanks!

New feature 1: Share a layer:

You can now send a layer to your friends. Every layer has a unique URL. If you have this version of Layar installed and you see a Layar Link in for example Twitter you can just click it and it will open that specific layer in the Layar Reality Browser. Isn’t that cool?

brightkiteshare

(These are the menu options)

sharelayer

(Share a layer how you prefer it)

New feature 2: Share Layar screenshots:

Whenever you are in a situation that you see something in Layar that you really need to share, just click screenshot under the menu button. It makes a screenhot and enables you to share it via the mechanism of choice (Email, Picasa, Pixelpipe).

screenshot

(Check if your screenshot is cool enough to share. This one is clearly not! hehe)

sharescreenshot

(Share it with the world)

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/38

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