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Home / Tips and Tricks / Microsoft's New Lighting Tool Provides More Realistic Lighting for HoloLens & Mobile AR Apps «Next Reality

Microsoft's New Lighting Tool Provides More Realistic Lighting for HoloLens & Mobile AR Apps «Next Reality



We are still weeks away from a likely HoloLens 2 version, but Microsoft's immersive computer technology is still hard at work on other aspects of its "mixed reality" ecosystem.

Earlier this week, Microsoft released a new extension for Unity and the mixed reality that allows developers to better replicate the natural lighting in enhanced reality experiences on HoloLens as well as via ARKit, ARCore and on other AR platforms.

Leading engineer Nick Klingensmith, senior engineering academy, presented the release of the Light Capture tool on Twitter on Wednesday. Developers can access the Open Source tool via GitHub.

Picture of Microsoft / GitHub

The Light Capture tool builds a replica of the natural environment lighting, called a Cubemap, based on captured images of AR units in relation to the unit's position as it moves across the entire physical space. The tool then feeds the data into Unity's lighting system to apply to shaders used in the 3D models.

Klingensmith noted that the tool works particularly well on HoloLens and other AR headsets with additional displays. But through the ARFoundation package for Unity, developers can also use the tool for ARKit and ARCore apps.

However, there are some approaches. While the HoloLens camera is locked for some exposure to capture light, more accurate, other devices may not result in "muddy" lighting. Additionally, since the Light Capture tool uses the device's camera, it may not work simultaneously with other camera-based activities, such as Vuforia marker tracking or camera streaming via Mixed Reality Capture.

Lighting is an important component when trying to make the 3D content appear as realistic as possible in an enlarged reality conception, so the new tool is a welcome development for both developers and end users.


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