8th Wall Blog
Introducing Sky Effects
8th Wall developers can now use the sky as a canvas for WebAR to create immersive, interactive experiences in the world above you with no app required
Augmenting the world is the most common way developers, agencies and brands are using 8th Wall today. Up until now, world WebAR has been primarily focused on the ground. Today, we are over-the-moon excited to introduce Sky Effects, a new feature from Niantic integrated into the 8th Wall platform that allows developers to augment the sky with WebAR.
Sky segmentation has been a top requested feature for the 8th Wall Engine and this new feature marks another first for browser-based augmented reality. Sky Effects makes use of Niantic’s semantic capability to identify and segment the sky. In turn, this enables developers to use the sky as a canvas to add 3D content or replace the sky completely.
Using this new feature, developers now have the power to turn day into night, stage an AR alien invasion with flying UFOs and let users interact with larger than life characters that tower over the city skyline. While the sky's the limit in the use of this new feature, Sky Effects are a perfect way to celebrate a new movie release, add visual effects to an outdoor concert or take a sports game to the next level.
Replace the sky to change the weather, time of day and create new worlds
One of the key things Sky Effects enables you to develop are WebAR experiences where the sky is replaced with something extraordinary. To do this, the 8th Wall Engine detects when the sky is in view of the smartphone camera and parses this part of the scene to be replaced by an image or video. You can use this to change the weather, the time of day or even transport users to new worlds as they look at the sky through their smartphone. You can even give your users the power to swap out the sky with a variety of options you may have provided with one tap on the screen.
To ensure that your users are pointing their device at the sky to activate your AR sky experience, we have updated our Coaching Overlay with a specific flow for Sky Effects. The Coaching Overlay will appear when the sky is not detected and provides both text and visual instructions to get enough sky in view of their camera to launch the experience. The Coaching Overlay is ready to be used out-of-the-box but can also be easily customized to better suit the look and feel of your web app.
Use the sky as a canvas to place 3D content
Sky Effects also enables you to use the vast area above the user as a canvas to place objects, including animated assets. Developers can opt to pin assets to the sky segmentation layer so that they stay in place while the user explores the sky. Or they can pin assets to the camera instead of the world to ensure that the user can always find what you have placed in the sky. You can also combine swapping out the sky with the addition of 3D assets to create a brand new world for users to explore.
Let users interact with larger than life characters in the distance
You can now create WebAR experiences which place larger than life characters in the sky and give users the ability to interact with them. Developers can easily implement a joystick or other interaction method to give users the ability to control assets in the sky. This can be used to move characters along the horizon, behind buildings or control them as they fly through the air. Interactive assets in the sky can unlock a new form of gameplay and create AR experiences we have yet to see in the browser.
Sky Effects is available now to all 8th Wall developers. Developers can get started creating WebAR projects which transform the sky by cloning the new Sky Effects sample project from the 8th Wall Project Library. New developers can get started with 8th Wall Sky Effects by signing up for a 14-day free trial.
We can’t wait to see what you create!
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🙌 A big thank you to our developer community for providing us with helpful feedback on our product. We’re continuing to develop and iterate our product using the valuable input that you provide us.