July 27, 2022

Augmented reality in art: The rising trend

Augmented reality in art: The rising trend

The magic of AR art is unravelling on a mesmerizing new canvas – one that’s framed by 3D and augmented reality (AR) technologies

Key takeaways:

  • Understanding art’s new tech canvas
  • Three ways 3D and AR tech is changing the creation and sale of art
  • The digital transformation of the art ecosystem

“The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of”. The age-old maxim is changing. As 3D and AR technologies empower practitioners of art to articulate their ideas in never before seen visual metaphors, fans and patrons are becoming privy to the inner sanctum of the creator’s mind, and witnessing the experience unfold through the creator’s eyes. That’s not all. Thanks to features like viewer-driven mutability, they are also adding their own spin to it.  

3D and AR art quenches the curious and pioneering spirit of artists who like to experiment with uncharted territory. It is also highly liberating by nature, unchaining compositions from their traditional environments and bringing them to life wherever afficionados view them – mobile, tablet or laptop/desktop.  

 Click in "See in your space" to see this painting in your home

The timeless process of creation is undergoing a fascinating transformation in a bold new visual age. As the artist’s vision turns into a sketch, it is re-formatted atop 3D frameworks to inspire digital assets. The latter appear on pre-designated locations on the piece, or wherever the viewer points the mobile camera.  

3D and AR art can be marker based or non-marker based. Markers are embedded into elements like logos, packaging, product posters or the physical body of the art piece to make it recognizable by an AR-enabled mobile app which then converts it into an immersive experience. In the markerless variety, cameras, sensors and processors can automatically detect a 3D-AR ready artistic product from the real environment and convert it into an interactive 3D and AR ‘show’.  

The past decade has seen an explosion of 3D and Augmented Reality technologies in the art world

Some forms of 3D and AR require the consumer to download an app and wear headgear, while others, like the hands-free, web-enabled version by Enhance 3D-AR Solutions, allow users to consume the artistry more effortlessly.  

The past decade has seen an explosion of 3D and AR technologies in the art world, with artists, painters, sculptors, designers, architects, museums, art collectors and public art initiatives embracing the fast-rising trend to unlock new forms of self-expression, actively engage with their fans and markets, and sell online.  

Online art market worldwide

Here are three ways 3D and AR tech is fundamentally transforming art.

Telling the story better

Unlike virtual reality, which replaces reality altogether by creating a parallel universe, 3D-AR builds upon what we can already see and sense. Creators can therefore overlay or superimpose animation, video, text, speech bubbles and audio elements (like music or voice) to their original art pieces to reveal backstories that normally go untold, annotate an idea to boost clarity and comprehension, amplify drama and rhetoric by weaving-in conflict and contrast, and reimagine context by adding form, motion and meaning to the narrative.  

The co-existence of truth and illusion – a quality unique to augmented reality – not only sets the stage for new layers and levels of storification; thanks to moorings in the real world, it gives brands and businesses a seamless entry into the minds of art-appreciating demographics, while empowering galleries and creators to develop monetization plays.

Evolving from creation to collaboration

3D and AR’s next big disruption lies in the true democratization of art. 3D and AR technologies open up the relationship between creator and recipient by inviting viewers into a dynamic dialogue and bestowing upon them ‘co-creation rights’, blurring ownership boundaries and deepening emotional bonds.

Adding a digital dimension to décor and interiors

Digital technologies are transforming the art landscape, with 3D and AR leading the change. Room scanning apps like Apple’s Room Plan can strip spaces of their furniture to allow homeowners to re-visualize interiors from a blank canvas. Ikea’s Place App allows users to virtually ‘place’ furnishings in their own real-world environments. And Lowe’s has recently entered the “spatial commerce” market with its Measure Your Space app that allows users to scan a room, generate rich 3D models and visualize products in spaces (with cost estimates) before adding it to their shopping cart.  

Digital technologies are transforming the art landscape, with 3D and AR leading the change

3D and AR are allowing lovers of art and refinement to elevate their habitats with fresh strokes of creativity. Buyers can now visualize the ‘fit’ of a classic oeuvre or modern masterpiece (located in a store or a gallery) in their own home or office with just an internet connection – amplifying shopper confidence, reducing costs, minimizing returns and significantly shortening sales cycles – which marks the next evolution of online sales and commerce for artists, interior designers, realtors, galleries, art retailers and lifestyle brands.  

Indeed, art buying habits have changed permanently. The pandemic – a time when online art sales skyrocketed – marked a tipping point for the industry, and the momentum has only increased since. Auction houses are witnessing strong growth online. Buyers are more confident in purchasing big-ticket items virtually. 97% of the online art platforms are optimistic about the market in the next 12 months.  

A new generation of art buyers has stormed the market, with 70% of consumers aged 16-44 familiar with augmented reality. Going forward, trends like NFTs and the metaverse are expected to fan those flames even further.  

Art and technology are colliding in never before seen ways

Internet artists, new-age art houses and next-gen art agents and brokers are designing a brand new ecosystem featuring digital art galleries, exhibitions from home and online sales frameworks.  

Museums are designing apps and hosting virtual events to make art and cultural experiences more accessible, create fun time-travel moments, and visualize how the old-world functioned.  

Google’s Arts & Culture app is making the discovery of our planet fun and educational for anyone with a smartphone. Meanwhile, communities and local governments are mashing 3D-AR with street art and wall graffiti to bring neighborhoods together, and breakaway minds are ‘over-writing’ legendary artworks to stir debate over ethics and ownership in the creative fields.

Even iconic groups like the Royal Shakespeare Company are re-thinking live theatre shows, while holographic concerts are bringing dead artists back to life.  

Pictures have always said a thousand words. In the era of 3D and AR, they are also articulating infinite possibilities.  

Starting your 3D & AR journey is easier than you think.

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