Augmented reality offers a new space for artists to express themselves, complement their artworks, or surround their work with interactive experiences. But, AR is not for the weary. It is for the curious, experimental, and pioneering. It is for creatives who are ready to jump into the unknown and get comfortable pursuing and establishing themselves and their art within an unmanned territory.
Since Overly was born, we’ve worked on numerous art projects for museums and individuals. We’ve also followed the sector’s happenings across the globe and have seen so many innovative ideas and new artists pop up. Yet, the general public is still getting familiar with AR technologies, which means that there are vast opportunities for those new to merging art with technologies. Below, I’ll bust a couple of myths about using AR and offer inspiration and examples that can drive your imagination for teching-up your artworks—as long as you’re up for it.
You don’t have to hone your IT skills to become an augmented reality artist
I wanted to start with the above point, because, in my experience, artists often think that they need to be gurus of traditional art and tech-innate at the same time. This is absolutely not the case, because:
- There are different forms of augmented reality, including video and photo overlays. There are also platforms such as Overly AR Creator that allow people with no tech skills to combine their artworks with digital media. Bridging the gap between tech and art, such platforms help artists make the most of the basic levels of AR
- If you want to create animated and 3D experiences—collaborate. A lot of projects that we deliver are based on partnerships. There are illustrators, animators, audio producers, multimedia artists, videographers, 3D designers, and so the list goes on. It is usually multimedia artists who have a background in digital design or contemporary artists who go it alone. Still, they need to find partners who provide augmented reality hosting services that meet their needs, which again means that you can never really go alone with this form of ARt
- Traditional artworks, even old-school paintings can serve as augmented reality markers. The art piece itself doesn’t have to be affected by its new augmented reality layer.
You do not have to pay a lot of money to digitize your ideas with augmented reality
This is another perception that is commonly associated with new technologies, including augmented reality. If we are talking about mobile augmented reality, I can say with confidence that you could host a whole exhibition for a couple of hundred bucks per month.
What costs, admittedly, in augmented reality is the creation of content. I’ve written a blog about AR marketing budgets, which applies pretty much to any sector. Even if you look at our pricing plan, you will see that the hosting services won’t break the bank. What costs is the content you want to create for augmented reality. That, however, depends on the type of collaboration and rate you have with your AR content creator, or what resources and time you are spending to create the content yourself. Here are 14 different types of content that you can create and retrieve using Overly app.
Two types of mobile augmented reality art: marker-based and markerless
I will give you inspo examples for each approach below. If you want an in-depth understanding, you can read our blog on the differences between markerless and marker-based AR. But just to summarize, marker-based AR experience will be attached to another physical piece of content. This would most likely be an artwork or an exhibition promo. Markerless, on the other hand, would represent the whole experience, with digital content being placed on any flat surface or attached to GPS coordinates.
Augmented reality ideas for art projects
Awesome animated art through augmented reality
An excellent example of animated paintings comes from Mandy Sobo. You can find her on Instagram at @badportraits, although I assure you that “bad portraits” is precisely what you will not find on her feed.
Mandy is a visual artist, who works on a lot of different ideas, but her celebrity portrait exhibitions include augmented reality animations. Her work looks incredible without AR, but for those who enjoy interaction, it’s an awesome added value to see different AR stories that she’s created for her portraits. I really suggest you check out her Instagram.
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My friends! I’ve been nominated for Best Visual Artist with Best Of CALGARY and voting is open for you! 👉 link in BIO👈 take a sec and vote for all things amazing in the spectacular city we get to call home! Thanks, YYC, I love you MORE! @because_calgary #vote #bestofcalgary #visualartist #badportraits #mandystobo #art #tech #design #performance #speaker #illustrator #animator #ar #vr #xr #painter
Here is another example of animated artworks by newly emerged artist, Akane Hiraoka. Just recently she launched her first AR exhibition as part of Rome Experimental 2022 and saw the AR element drive great traction for her work.
Just to finish off this section, remember, animations can be both 2D and 3D, you just have to decide on what tells your story best and what resources you have. Here’s an example of 3D AR experiences.
Easy video AR, featuring author stories or behind the scenes
As mentioned at the beginning, there is no need to overcomplicate things at first. Something that AR is great at is showcasing video content in interactive ways.
Often, you may already have a video that could go with an artwork — it may be an interview on its meaning, it may be an interview with the author in general or some behind-the-scenes snapshot. You could even collate a behind-the-scenes image gallery, which is pretty simple to do but will give extra information to people exploring your art.
Last year we delivered an AR project that brought to life children’s poems. It featured animations, but there were also pieces that retrieved author stories in a form of basic head and shoulders interviews about their art piece. Here is a snapshot of the exhibition and you will be able to spot at 30 seconds how simple the interview files were. This example combines both animation and video, but it doesn’t have to be the case. You can just go for video.
A great example of AR use to showcase the process of art creation was delivered by Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music (JVLMA). The team got musicians draw with their instruments all the way while playing music. The artworks that came out literally revealed music through illustrations and were featured within the academy’s centenary book and exhibition. The AR layers were there to showcase readers and visitors how these works came to be.
More information through text and images in AR
Another simple way of implementing AR in your work is to share written stories about each piece. You may reveal a painting’s meaning through written information or tell a story about featured personalities. Or you could also let other art lovers know what you used to create the colors, what fabric and frame you chose.
For people who appreciate art and attend exhibitions, all this information will be of interest, and placing it within AR will allow you to create no interferences with the exhibition design, such as setting up screens, etc. Here is just one example of how this may look.
Bringing 3D objects to life for entertainment and education
I feel like the above examples are the most straightforward approach because these are all about bringing markers to life that are flat. However, you may be creating magnificent sculptures or decorating 3D objects. Augmented reality can bring those to life as well, to entertain and even to educate.
Here is an example of a large object—a car, which was brought to life for educational purposes at the Riga Motormuseum. This can give you a taste of how objects can be brought to life, and the layers created 1:1 to overlay the original piece. Note that this may require some extra collaborators to help.
Markerless augmented reality art can get you in Louvre
When it comes to markerless augmented reality, the digital content will most probably be your stand-alone artwork. I do think that this is of most interest for contemporary, digital artists and designers, whose art is already created and hosted digitally. Augmented reality allows those digital pieces to be brought to real-life settings through people’s mobile screens. An excellent example here is from Marjan Moghaddam below on how 3D virtual sculptures fit into a museum setting.
Another artist I’d like to highlight in this context is Gints Gabrāns, the author of augmented reality art application SAN.app. Thanks to the creative and unique freedom that augmented reality offers, he has placed his work in some of the world’s most famous museums. No approval necessary. As Gints explains: “If I was to place a physical sculpture somewhere, I would need to abide by the local laws, sign commercial contracts, or coordinate my activities with local councils and governments. When I initially started to create projects in SAN, the whole world was my playground. “
AR art can add layers to your city’s walls
As we’ve gotten out of the exhibition mindset and gotten ourselves more into the “world is your oyster” mentality. I would like to finish off with one of the booming augmented reality art forms, which is AR graffitis and augmented city objects and posters.
A great example was recently delivered by world-famous street artist KIWIE, where he used AR to bring to life his latest NFT street art in Spain.
While street artists are the leaders in taking up augmented reality, just for the sake of something different, I would also like to bring forward an example from the marketing world, where Burger King burnt their competitors’ ads in AR. This just shows that, first of all, AR doesn’t need any permissions, and secondly, it can interact with existing art.
To finish off, I want to emphasize that one of the challenges for augmented reality across all sectors is quality content. I see that artists can address this issue using their creative nature to build valuable experiences. That’s why I hope this blog helped to clarify some of the options for those who want to merge tech with art and were looking for ideas. If you do have something to add or an artist, you wish we’d feature, leave a comment below or connect with me on LinkedIn.