A visual effects student has combined animation with augmented reality

Tuesday May 8, 2018

AR Liam Pacey

Last week, we met up with Liam Pacey, a BSc (Hons) Visual Effects Production top up student who’s currently working on augmented reality (AR) as part of his Emerging Technology module. We sat down for a chat before he gave us a sneak peek of his app which lets you view an animation from any angle using an iPad – he’s even given us a demonstration. Read our interview and see for yourself below…

Why did you decide to study on the FdSc and BSc top up Visual Effects course?

I started on the FdSc Visual Effects course and I’m now currently studying on the top-up BSc year. I was at Derby University before studying Computer Games Programming and that’s where I got a little bit of experience with C# coding. Visual effects has always been an interest of mine; I’ve probably been creating visual effects for around 15 years on and off.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently producing a Pixar-style animation for the Visual Effects Production module and for the Emerging Technology module I’ve explored new technology in the industry. I’ve looked at what Gareth Edwards did when directing Rogue One which was to use an HTC Vive virtual reality system to view a particular scene from any angle using an iPad. I’ve applied this technology to my Pixar-style animation which makes it easier for me to preview and storyboard.

How does your animation work in augmented reality?

I built and animated the models in Autodesk Maya, then exported the scene as an FBX file. Bringing it into Unity, I configured the animation to play and loop over while the app is running. To make the scene work on an iPad using Apple’s augmented reality (ARKit) framework, I used a free plugin – ARScene for Unity, which imports all the code needed to generate the tracking information (the yellow dots and blue rectangles on screen).

Watch a demonstration of Liam’s AR app below:

What’s next?

Keep your eyes peeled on all of our social media accounts and our website for updates on Liam’s project throughout the summer.

Liam also currently works with TV & Film course leader Sam Wheatley at Toadstool Media – a collective of industry professionals creating high quality, fun, exciting and entertaining videos and films. We recommend you check out their work!

Want to learn about visual effects production? Check out our college-level or degree course. If you’re interested in our courses, sign up for an open day and explore our facilities.