A quick start guide to rapid prototyping with Torch AR
If you’ve been keeping up with the recent flurry of Komodo insights, you will have noticed we have mentioned “Torch AR” a number of times in the last few weeks. Our endeavours within AR and VR have led us to take a look at numerous prototyping solutions as we find our perfect workflow, however very few have impressed us as much as Torch. Because of this, we wanted to share with you a quick overview of the features of Torch and how they can be used to rapidly prototype content for AR.
Create a new project and set the project anchor.
This is the first and arguably most important requirement for any project within Torch. Once you have set up a project and gave it a name, you will be asked to scan surfaces and set an anchor point. This is easy to complete, but so much rests on the placing of the project anchor so getting this right is valuable. The project anchor is essentially the project origin, all of the UI you place within a ‘scene’ will have its position in space determined through the position and rotation of the anchor. Once the project anchor has been set, you are good to go.
Import your UI assets.
Torch provides the ability to access cloud based accounts to upload assets, this makes life much easier if you are quickly iterating concepts as it enables you to re-export an asset from your design software and access it via the project draw within Torch. Torch also provides the option to import directly from your camera roll, meaning images saved in the phone’s storage can be quickly accessed. Assets imported can be anything from quick drawings from Adobe Draw, or high fidelity UI exported from a program such as Sketch. At the time of writing Torch has recently introduced the ability to add videos into a project, allowing for a wider use of their app to help in the construction of more complex scenes.
Torch provide a more detailed insight to importing assets, here
Place your assets.
Once imported, all of your assets will be visible within the project draw at the bottom of the screen. Drag and drop these assets from the drawer into the scene and they will load in within a few seconds. Once visible, you are able to transform the asset by either using Torch’s UI, or via a number of gestures which have a very shallow learning curve, enabling those with even minor technical know-how to pick up Torch and start playing with assets in a 3D space.
Add interactions and more scenes.
After placing an asset within the 3D space, you are able to add interactions that can be triggered in various ways. This is done by selecting the asset you wish to interact with and tapping the lightning bolt icon to the right of the screen. This will open up the interaction menu. Within here you are able to set a trigger to prompt the interaction. This is an area that Torch are regularly updating, with the recent additions of “enter object proximity” and “exit object proximity” providing an even wider choice for how the end user can interact with the prototype.
Once a trigger has been selected, you are then able to configure the interaction that will take place. This can be anything from a simple transform of the selected object (position, rotation, scale etc.) or a scene change. If you are prototyping UI, this will most likely be your most used feature. A scene can be compared to an artboard in 3D space. Creating various scenes that follow the main flow of an application can be completed in a few minutes, and linking them all together via tap interactions is an easy task. This enables you to create simple flows to demonstrate concepts within minutes.
Recording and Sharing content
Torch recently incorporated the ability to record a prototype you have created. For our first project we were able to use the iOS record screen feature, however having this functionality readily available within the Torch application allows us to quickly record and share what we have been working on.
You can read about the full project here.
If AR is something you are interested in experimenting with, we cant’ recommend torch enough. Their app handles complex AR scenes with ease and their team are always on hand to help with any issues.
We will continue to iterate designs by utilising Torch, which is helping our design exploration within AR. Keep an eye on the Komodo blog to stay up to date with upcoming concepts and AR related work.