Version: 2022.2
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Getting started with VR development in Unity

Getting started with AR development in Unity

To get started with AR development, Unity recommends using AR Foundation to create your application for Unity’s supported handheld AR and wearable AR devices.

AR Foundation allows you to work with augmented reality platforms in a multi-platform way within Unity. This package presents an interface for Unity developers to use, but doesn’t implement any AR features on its own.

To use AR Foundation on a target device, you also need to download and install separate packages for each of the target platforms officially supported by Unity:

For instructions on how to configure your Project using the XR Plug-inA set of code created outside of Unity that creates functionality in Unity. There are two kinds of plug-ins you can use in Unity: Managed plug-ins (managed .NET assemblies created with tools like Visual Studio) and Native plug-ins (platform-specific native code libraries). More info
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Management system, see the Configuring your unity Project for XR page.

AR Foundation supports the following features:

Feature Description
Device tracking Track the device’s position and orientation in physical space.
Raycast Commonly used to determine where virtual content will appear, where a ray (defined by an origin and direction) intersects with a real-world feature detected and/or tracked by the AR device. Unity has built-in functions that allow you to use raycasting in your AR app.
Plane detection Detect the size and location of horizontal and vertical surfaces (e.g. coffee table, walls). These surfaces are called “planes”.
Reference points Track the positions of planes and feature points over time.
Point cloud detection Detect visually distinct features in the captured cameraA component which creates an image of a particular viewpoint in your scene. The output is either drawn to the screen or captured as a texture. More info
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image and use these points to understand where the device is relative to the world around it.
Gestures Recognize gestures as input events based on human hands.
Face tracking Access face landmarks, a meshThe main graphics primitive of Unity. Meshes make up a large part of your 3D worlds. Unity supports triangulated or Quadrangulated polygon meshes. Nurbs, Nurms, Subdiv surfaces must be converted to polygons. More info
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representation of detected faces, and blend shape information, which can feed into a facial animation rig. The Face Manager configures devices for face tracking and creates GameObjectsThe fundamental object in Unity scenes, which can represent characters, props, scenery, cameras, waypoints, and more. A GameObject’s functionality is defined by the Components attached to it. More info
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for each detected face.
2D image tracking Detect specific 2D images in the environment. The Tracked Image Manager automatically creates GameObjects that represent all recognized images. You can change an AR application based on the presence of specific images.
3D objectA 3D GameObject such as a cube, terrain or ragdoll. More info
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Import digital representations of real-world objects into your Unity application and detect them in the environment. The Tracked Object Manager creates GameObjects for each detected physical object to enable applications to change based on the presence of specific real-world objects.
Environment probes Detect lighting and color information in specific areas of the environment, which helps enable 3D content to blend seamlessly with the surroundings. The Environment Probe Manager uses this information to automatically create cubemapsA collection of six square textures that can represent the reflections in an environment or the skybox drawn behind your geometry. The six squares form the faces of an imaginary cube that surrounds an object; each face represents the view along the directions of the world axes (up, down, left, right, forward and back). More info
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in Unity.
Meshing Generate triangle meshes that correspond to the physical space, expanding the ability to interact with representations of the physical environment and/or visually overlay the details on it.
2D and 3D body tracking Provides 2D (screen-space) or 3D (world-space) representations of humans recognized in the camera frame. For 2D detection, humans are represented by a hierarchy of seventeen jointsA physics component allowing a dynamic connection between Rigidbody components, usually allowing some degree of movement such as a hinge. More info
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with screen-space coordinates. For 3D detection, humans are represented by a hierarchy of ninety-three joints with world-space transforms.
Human segmentation The Human Body Subsystem provides apps with human stencil and depth segmentation images. The stencil segmentation image identifies, for each pixelThe smallest unit in a computer image. Pixel size depends on your screen resolution. Pixel lighting is calculated at every screen pixel. More info
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, whether the pixel contains a person. The depth segmentation image consists of an estimated distance from the device for each pixel that correlates to a recognized human. Using these segmentation images together allows for rendered 3D content to be realistically occluded by real-world humans.
Occlusion Apply distance to objects in the physical world to rendered 3D content, which achieves a realistic blending of physical and virtual objects.
Participant tracking Track the position and orientation of other devices in a shared AR session.

AR platform support

AR Foundation doesn’t implement any AR features on its own. Instead, it defines a multi-platform API that allows developers to work with functionality common to multiple platforms.

AR Foundation supports the following features across different platforms:

For more information on how to download and use AR Foundation, see the AR Foundation package documentation.

Getting started with VR development in Unity