Now that iOS 11 has officially rolled out and anyone with a recent Apple device has access to augmented reality applications, the massive install base means developers can start appealing to all sorts of people, including those miniature ones that make a fuss about putting on their shoes and jackets, and even the fully-grown variety who also happen to enjoy cartoons too. In a new AR prototype that places characters from Cartoon Network’s The Amazing World of Gumball into your living room, we see a brief look into what could be our cartoon-filled AR future.
Created by Jonathan Forder, a London-based developer at immersive media studio Discover Studios, he told Made With ARKit that he came up with the idea to create the prototype to demonstrate how AR could “expand the world of existing cartoons,” bringing them from the TV screen to the living room.
“One of my favourite cartoon styles is The Amazing World of Gumball. I love the mixture of animated character blended into real world scenes and this pretty much lends itself to AR perfectly. Although this is a simple prototype it shows how we can bring characters to life. As a kid I would have loved to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Thundercats running around my front room!”
Built using ARKit and Unity, Forder says his first task was finding the right source material:
“The first thing that made this prototype work was finding the right material. Luckily enough with a quick google search I found some dedicated fans that had made some blue screen cutout clips of the characters. With these videos I could then bring them into Unity and create a Chroma Key shader to remove the blue from the clips. Then it was just a matter of placing them in the scene and setting Unity to render the shadows and allow for placement in AR.”
While the prototype isn’t interactive, and probably won’t see the light of day because of copyright infringement concerns, the possibility of having your favorite cartoon characters popping their heads into your home for simple tasks, like reminding you to brush your teeth, or to give you a special birthday message, can be a powerful way of connecting kids (and adults) to the cartoon’s universe. And as kids get closer and closer to their smartphones, (and presumably AR headsets when the technology becomes more diffuse) there’s an inevitability on the rise of deeper interactions with virtual characters.