Augmented Reality Overview

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that overlays a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, providing a composite view. 

The Unreal Engine AR framework provides a rich, unified framework for building augmented reality apps with the Unreal Engine for both iOS and Android handheld platforms. The unified framework provides a single path of development for both platforms, allowing developers to build augmented reality apps for both platforms using a single code path. The Handheld AR Blueprint template provides a complete example project demonstrating the augmented reality functionality available in the Unreal Engine.

AR_IntroShot.png

Augmented reality provides user experiences that add 2D or 3D elements to a live view from a device's camera in a way that makes those elements appear to inhabit the real world.   

iOS and Android Release Support

The unified AR framework includes support for basic AR functionality like Alignment, Light Estimation, Pinning, Session State, Trace Results, and Tracking.

However, the augmented reality story for Android and iOS is constantly evolving. As of Unreal Engine 4.20, we now support the advanced functionality available in the ARCore 1.2 and ARKit 2.0 releases.

ARCore 
  • Augmented Images
  • Vertical Plane Detection
  • Cloud Anchors
ARKit 
  • Face Tracking
  • 2D Image Detection
  • 3D Object Detection
  • Persistent Experiences
  • Shared Experiences
Epic Games developer Joe Graf has written several informative blogs discussing ARKit functionality in UE4.

Augmented Reality API

The unified AR framework provides a framework to build augmented reality apps with Unreal Engine for both iOS and Android handheld platforms. The unified AR framework provides a new library of C++ and Blueprint functions that allow developers to build augmented reality apps for both platforms using a single code path. These new functions also make working with augmented reality easier. 
More detailed information can be found in the Unreal Engine API Reference

The Handheld AR Blueprint template provides a complete example project demonstrating the new augmented reality functionality available in Unreal Engine. A good place to start exploring the project and the new augmented reality functions is to open the Content Browser, navigate to Content\HandheldARBP\Blueprints\UI and open the BP_DebugMenu asset in the Blueprint Editor.

Supported Handheld Platforms

Currently, we support the iOS and Android platforms. Please read through the following pages to learn which devices are supported on each platform.

It's worth mentioning that support for handheld iOS and Android devices isn't new to the Unreal Engine, so if you're already working with Unreal Engine and iOS or Android devices, you'll only need a minimal amount of additional configuration to get started with augmented reality in Unreal Engine.

iOS

For detailed iOS augmented reality prerequisite information, see the ARKit Prerequisites topic. Additionally, basic configuration of Unreal Engine and iOS devices is covered in the iOS Game Development section of the Unreal Engine  documentation. 

Android

For detailed Android augmented reality prerequisite information, see the ARCore Prerequisites topic. Basic configuration of Unreal Engine and Android devices is covered in the Android Quick Start section of the Unreal  Engine documentation. 

Getting Started with Unreal AR

Now that you understand some basic information about using Unreal Engine with augmented reality, it's time to get started by running through the Augmented Reality Quick Start tutorial.