In 2018 I’ve worked with Headraft and Sony Music to create the worlds first AR Music videos for the German Hip Hop Group “Die Fantastischen Vier”.
I was the Lead Programmer on the team and took care of the AR Features, Pipeline Optimization and the UI Framework.
Creating AR in 2018
Back in 2018 AR was still bleeding edge technology. Development started in October 2017 mere weeks after Apples launch of AR Kit. As the Lead Programmer it was my task to evaluate solutions to integrate the shaky unity C# bindings of the freshly released Unity AR Plugin into a stable and consistent pipeline.
I wrote custom wrappers around the existing API. This made integrating the rapid update releases into our codebase much more simple.
Thankfully coding the project itself was relatively straight forward, as it was planned as a linear experience. I spent most of my resources on rapid prototyping AR interactions with the design team and optimizing the app for mobile performance.
All 3D Assets in the experience were build by model makers in the real world. They were then photoscanned and cleaned up for production. As the Art team had a background in Film and Animation they were much more familiar with the Animation and VFX pipeline.
To streamline the asset pipeline, I wrote a Unity Plugin that automatically pulls the most recent Master Asset from the VFX Folder structure on a NAS. Because of the naming conventions in the VFX world it was possible to automatically deduct and create materials, assign textures and create prefabs from the server file system.
This allowed the artists to work with their familiar tools and pipeline and allowed us to have less people working inside Unity. As the plugin kept track of version numbers, pulling all updates from the server was as easy as clicking a button.
When looking back at the project I’m still in awe that we pulled off such a smooth experience with bleeding edge technology in such a short time frame. The team worked together smoothly and the project is to this day one of my favorite examples of the importance of a good pipeline and naming conventions.