By Michael French

AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) and, the newest form of altered reality have had an obvious place in the gaming industry for a while now and is slowly making its way into the entertainment industry as better and better (and more affordable) user technology is developed. But, what you may not realize is the broader use of AR/VR in industries like healthcare, retail, marketing, education, military, travel/tourism, music, fashion, manufacturing and more. In short, entertainment-folk, learn AR and VR and you have amazing growth potential whether the entertainment business is flourishing or not!

Let’s say that now you are intrigued. What’s next? You know nothing about AR and VR…

Start with the basics:

Augmented Reality is the addition of digital element overlays to a live view of reality, such as filters that give you cat ears in social platforms or being able to catch a Pokemon 2 feet in front of you through your Pokemon Go app.

Virtual Reality is a complete immersion of a particular reality (using footage of reality or digitally created worlds) that shuts out the physical reality around the user.

(And, let’s throw the newest addition into the conversation)
Mixed Reality is the addition of digital elements that can be interacted with by the user and are anchored to objects in the real world.

These forms of altered reality experiences are useable through various platforms and are created using software applications that can be very specific to a particular platform or more universal. A good way to get going as a maker of AR, VR or MR is to get familiar with the most common of the industry’s core developer software and the software needed to create for key platforms.
  • Unity – known for game development, but used for many other outputs
  • Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) – a complete suite of development tools for anyone working with real-time technology 
  • Vuforia Engine – AR experiences supports Android, iOS and digital eyewear
  • Oculus Medium (joining Adobe family) – creative tool for developing 3D characters and environments for VR experiences 
  • Amazon Sumarian – AR/VR and 3D model scene creator for web and mobile applications 
  • Apple ARKit – build AR experiences for iOS and iPadOS 
  • ARCore – Googles platform for building augmented reality experiences for Android and iOS devices. 
  • Zapworks – AR developer for app and web-based experiences 

Now that you have a sense of some of the most common apps being used, you need to learn a few of them. Each software company will provide tutorials through their websites and social platforms to help you get your bearings. There are also various online courses – free, low-cost, and more of an investment – that you can tap into to dig in and get more proficient. Below is a list of online learning centers and courses you may want to check out.

Once you have wrapped your head around how to make AR/VR/MR magic, it’s a good idea to tap into industry organizations to get up to date on what’s happening in the industry and spread your networking wings. It’s a new territory, so associations are limited. VR/AR Association is currently the most reputable and seemingly chalk-full of resources. You can also find solid resources through AugmentedReality.Org and the XR Association (comprised of XR technology/manufacturing leaders, but a good source of knowledge for developers since you need to know about the technology for which you are designing).

If you want to grow your career, build confidence by getting familiar with platforms/software and get yourself out there…then, as they say in Hollywood, fake it ‘til you make it. Just include a little learning curve time into the scheduling of your deliverables and remember that you can get through most stumbling blocks by watching YouTube tutorials.


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