Chapter 4:
Augmented Reality (AR) in 3D Asset Management

When planning to use a 3D asset management system for augmented reality (AR), specific considerations are crucial to ensure a successful integration and effective utilization of assets in AR applications.

Here are key factors to take into account:

AR Platform Compatibility:

Verify that the 3D asset management system is compatible with the AR platforms you intend to target. Different AR platforms may have specific requirements and support different file formats. For example, android phones require GLB/glTF while iOS devices require USD/USDZ. If you plan to build an AR headset experience in Unity or Unreal Engine then FBX might be best. Choose a system that aligns with the AR platforms you plan to use.

Support for AR-Friendly File Formats:

Ensure that the 3D asset management system supports file formats commonly used in AR development. Formats like USD/USDZ and GLB/glTF are essential for AR applications due to their compatibility with major AR platforms and efficient data transfer. If you are specifically planning on mobile AR, then you will also need to be cognizant of file size and polygon count because these are limited on mobile. This often requires automated optimization software to reduce the file size and polygon count of 3D assets to work in mobile AR.

Real-World Scaling and Placement:

AR experiences rely on real-world scaling and accurate placement of virtual objects in the user’s environment. Confirm that the asset management system maintains accurate scale and dimensions when importing and exporting assets for AR applications. The 3D asset management system should also include automation software to set the real-world scale and automatically convert the 3D assets to that size.

Integration with AR Development Tools:

If your organization uses specific AR development tools or SDKs (Software Development Kits), ensure that the 3D asset management system integrates seamlessly with these tools. Integration simplifies the transfer of assets between the asset management system and the AR development environment, making testing faster and easier for your team.

AR-Specific Metadata:

Consider whether the 3D asset management system allows you to attach AR-specific metadata to assets. Information such as anchor points, interaction triggers, or surface recognition features may be essential for developers working on AR experiences.

Visualizing Assets in AR Preview:

The asset management system should provide tools for previewing and visualizing 3D assets in an AR context directly within the system. This feature allows users to assess how assets will appear and behave in AR before integrating them into an AR project.

Collaborative AR Workflows:

AR development often involves collaboration among team members. Ensure that the 3D asset management system supports collaborative AR workflows, allowing multiple users to work on AR projects simultaneously, share feedback, and contribute to the development process.

Performance Optimization:

Optimize 3D assets for real-time rendering in AR environments. Consider factors such as polygon count, texture resolution, and level of detail to ensure that assets deliver optimal performance on AR devices.

By addressing these considerations, you can ensure that the 3D asset management system is well-suited for AR development, promoting a seamless workflow and effective integration of assets into augmented reality experiences.