Wikitude Studio builds everything based upon Projects. Projects can have as many Targets as have been purchased, each Target can be up to 2MB large and can have unlimited Augmentations. Naturally, the more Augmentations the slower the response will be.
The Targets are automatically rated for their scanning desirability. When loading targets the for this review, the City image was rotated from Portrait to Landscape – a problem I had with numerous other packages – however, the Tree images, which other packages typically rotated to Landscape as well, remained in Portrait.
Once a Target is created, it can have unlimited Augmentations. These can be:
- HTML Widget
- 3D Model
Each Augmentation allows you to modify Augmentation ordering, opacity, horizontal position, vertical position and rotation. What’s nice is that for opacity, positions and rotations you get slide bars as well as numeric fields for precise control. Each Augmentation also has a Click URL for pushing the user to web content and can be resized by dragging the Augmentation’s corner or side. The aspect ratio is maintained when resizing. One annoying aspect of resizing, however, is that the Augmentation does not change size while you are performing the resizing. The Augmentation snaps to its new size only after you release your mouse.
Additionally, next to each field is a help balloon to quickly explain its function.
For Text Augmentations, you also can control the text color, the background color, and the text style. The text Augmentation size automatically adjusts to match the text.
Images are easily uploaded and have the standard Augmentation controls.
Button Augmentations are similar to Text Augmentations, except that you also are allowed to have a background image and control the border color. You cannot, however, control the text style or the border width. The background image is a URL and not a file that can be loaded into the system. If you use a background image, be careful to ensure that it matches the button size. When resizing, the size of the background image and the text in the button will automatically adjust to fill the button. Although there is a specific aspect ratio required for the button image, this is not documented and the Wikitude support could not tell me what this was. They maintained that any size will work, even when presented with a screen shot of a button whose image was clearly clipped.
Clipped Button Image
The HTML widget will not be covered in this review, as this crosses the border into programming.
When loading a 3D model, be aware that Wikitude Studio only supports the WT3 format.
I am not experienced in 3D modelling and was not successful in creating a model that could import to WT3. The folks at Wikitude Studio were kind enough to solve this problem by providing a model upon request.
When using a 3D model, you actually lose a few of the standard Augmentation control options and gain others. You can no longer control ordering and opacity, and you no longer have a Click URL. Instead you can scale the model and control the tilt, heading and roll rotation. Be careful with your scaling, however, as models may appear much larger on your mobile than on your desktop. I had to scale down to 1% in order for the supplied model to be similar in size to the screen placeholder.
Additionally, when placing the 3D model Augmentation on your Target, you do not get a visualization of the model. Instead you get a square that, except for positioning, bears no relation at all to the model. If the model were to be displayed in the size that is seen when the Target is scanned, this would save some back and forth required for ensuring that the model scaling is appropriate. Wikitude has indicated that this behavior will be improved in their next release. I tested this and confirmed that the 3D Model capability will be vastly improved.
Working with Video is also quite easy, however, the video must be externally hosted. Because the video is hosted, size and format aren’t really an issue. I was successful with both MOV and MP4 formats. Wikitude Studio does indicate that they need H.264 encoding, however.
With Video Augmentations, you lose the Click URL, however, gain a myriad of other options. You can control whether or not the video is displayed full screen and whether or not to use an Overlay Video or Overlay Video with Alpha channel. If you are like me and have no clue what these two options mean, Wikitude Studio provides a helpful explanation. This looks like some very powerful functionality!
Additionally, you can control whether or not the playback starts upon scan completion or must be manually invoked, and whether or not the video should automatically resume if the scan is lost and then recovered. You can also have the video loop and are given the opportunity to supply a custom thumbnail.
To preview in Wikitude Studio, simply click on the Preview button while you are in the editor.
You will then be brought to a full screen display of your Target for scanning.
The Wikitude Scanner provides a clean interface for scanning Targets. The process for starting the scan while testing, however, is a bit more complex than other scanners. First, you need to access the main menu at the top of the scan screen.
Once you are in this menu, you need to select the Developer menu, then pick the Studio Version. Once you’ve picked your version you need to log in, which is fortunately permanently remembered. After you have logged in, you will need to select your project. Be sure to tap the refresh button so that any changes you’ve made to your project are picked up before you start scanning. Scanning is initiated by tapping the name of the Project you want to test.
The Wikitude Scanner recognizes images very quickly and was one of the few scanners tested that did not get confused by the two Tree images. As well, the scanner does not time out. Unfortunately, the scanner doesn’t have a function that will allow you to display the Target and Augmentations once the Target it is removed from your field of view.
Like many other scanners tested, changes to the Target require a manual refresh to the project.
Interestingly, although I was not able to test this functionality, Wikitude Studio is one of the very few Easy AR CMS tools that supports Smart Glasses. To date, the Smart Glasses supported are:
- Epson Moverio BT-200
- ODG R7
- Google Glass
I would expect that once the Epson Moverio BT-300 is released, it will be supported by Wikitude Studio as well.
I was also not able to test the Android version of the scanner because it did not support the Android version on my phone.
The only reporting visible was an overall Project scanning histogram shown on the Home page of your Wikitude Studio account.
When entering URLS, Wikitude Studio will automatically prefix the URL with http://, regardless of what you type. Other than that, there are almost no mistakes that you can make.
Demo Account Limitations
- Only 1 Project allowed
- Only 1 Target allowed
- Target is watermarked
Pricing for Studio is currently additional to the SDK license. If you wish to use Studio projects in your own app you will need an SDK license. If you wish to publish on the Wikitude app, only a Studio license is needed.
What’s to like
- Wikitude Studio implements a minimalistic and responsive interface
- Good on-line documentation
- On screen testing
- Scan quality indicators
- Reliable recognition, even on Targets rated with only one star. Did not confuse Tree Targets.
- Did not rotate Tree images to Landscape
What’s not to like
- No “Undo” function in editor. Wikitude indicated that this will be in their next release.
- Rotated City image to Landscape
- Very few Events
- Very few Augmentations
- No Media Library access
- Scanner requires project update to recognize changes to previously scanned content