Make your own AR effect for the Xperia camera with the AR effect SDK

The AR effect SDK is now available by request to qualified Unity developers. If you’re a developer with Unity 3D experience, and understand 3D modelling and animation, then you’ll definitely want to read on to learn about the AR effect app and the AR effect SDK.

AR effect is an Xperia camera app that was first introduced on Xperia Z1 and is available on many newer and older Xperia devices. The app lets users to capture photos with overlay objects with specific effects in real-time through Sony’s Face Recognition Technology and SmartAR Technology. The AR effect API allows your effect app to interact with the AR effect framework to perform tasks such as face detection, while the Unity player engine, a game creation system, renders your graphics over the camera preview.

Funky Disco AR effect.

Funky Disco AR effect.

How AR effect works 
The AR effect app can be launched directly from the camera mode selector in the Xperia camera app or through the app tray. A number of AR effects are pre-loaded on selected Xperia devices, including Fairy tale, Dive, Dinosaur, and Masquerade. The user can take pictures and videos and AR effect will automatically apply virtual effects such as a mask or a dinosaur, based on the selected theme. To interact with AR items, drag objects to change their positions, or tap to interact with them. Check out these great AR effect pics to see what people are doing with AR effects on their Xperia devices.

If you have some experience with 3D animation and modelling, and depending on how complicated your effect is, it’s easy to create your own AR effect. The AR effect API provides access to the data from Sony’s SmartAR Engine and face recognition technology to allow developers to develop AR effects. It is required that developers use the Unity 3D platform for all development of AR effect applications. To develop applications for AR effect, you must:

  • Be familiar with the Unity 3D editor.
  • Have experience of Unity application or game development.
  • Understand how GameObjects and their components work in Unity3D.
  • Understand the basics of Android application development.

The AR effect SDK includes a sample project and documentation that shows how to quickly get started with your AR effect development, including configuration parameters and API usage guidelines. The SDK also comes with sample C# scripts that can be reused, so creating a new AR effect shouldn’t take much time if you already know how Unity scripting works.

Why should you develop an AR effect?
As you can see on Google play, over 10 million users have downloaded the AR effect app, with millions of users last month (December 2014) – and the numbers are still growing! And since only a handful of effects are available, your AR effect will have great visibility, thanks to the built-in promotion feature which displays effect apps, both free and paid. As shown in the screenshot below, the icons with a down arrow are the effects that are not installed, but can be downloaded from Google play.

ar effect options

AR effect selection table, which can be accessed from Xperia camera app.

How to get the AR effect SDK
If you want to get some visibility for your app or game through the camera on Xperia devices, the AR effect SDK might be the right way for you to add some unique effects. We are looking for experienced Unity developers that are interested in checking out the SDK. The AR effect SDK is only available under NDA.

To request access to the SDK package, contact us at Developer World (*) with your name and the link to your game or app that you have developed and published on Google play. If your profile matches what we are looking for, someone from Sony Mobile will contact you.

More information

* By sending an email to this address, you confirm that you have read and accept the terms and conditions of Sony Mobile’s Privacy Policy.

Comments 2

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  1. By elvinan mike


    AR apps are available for free on Vshare app store. Get it from Download Vshare app.

  2. By Whitesteel Sadvakasov


    Is there any way, to start with Unreal Engine 4 instead Unity?

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