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How to Customise the Appearance of 3D Objects with Reality Composer

31st August 2020

Jacob Woolcock


With the free Reality Composer app for iPad and iPhone you can create your very own Augmented Reality (AR) experiences with relative ease. In this QuickTips tutorial I’ll teach you how to customise the appearance of objects to make them look like they’re more life-like, more cartoon-ey, more colourful – or even made of a whole new material.

By following this tutorial you’ll also learn how to customise different settings in the built-in objects including how to change the time on a clock, how to put a picture into a picture frame and how to completely transform the look of your Augmented Reality scenes by changing the material things are made from.

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I’ve shown you before all the amazing objects built right into Reality Composer, but let me show you something completely new whereby you can customise those objects to your heart’s content. I’ve built this kind of American diner using objects that are already in Reality Composer. Now, when I tap onto one of those, on my inspector on the right-hand side, I’ve got a few options that can adjust the appearance of each object. Now, all the objects that come in Reality Composer support this, but objects you import may not. So, I’m going to tap onto that chair, and you’ll notice on the looks, I’ve got three options: one called ‘Realistic’, one called ‘Stylised’, and the last one, ‘Iconic’. If I tap onto these, you’ll see the object change while still remaining that same chair. It’s kind of weird, but quite cool. I’ll go into ‘Iconic’, and then you get even more options, and you can choose what material it’s made of. So, we’re looking at the actual shape of the object now, not the colour or the texture, but the material that shape is rendered in. You can choose loads of different materials: gold, glass, metal, rubber, and if you choose one of the paint options, you can even choose the colour from the colour palette. I’ll make my chair blue.

Let’s have a look at another object now, and we’ll zoom into that big cheeseburger on the middle of the table. It looks good, but doesn’t look very realistic. So, let’s tap on it, and we’ll change that to be realistic. Really quickly, we can start transforming the objects in our scene, but we can do even more than just changing the appearance. Let’s jump onto the clock, and from here, as well as choosing what sort of clock it is, you can even customise the time on display. So, we’ll do that. We’ll make it more personal.

Then, let’s have a look at that big empty picture frame. Well, you’ve probably guessed it; we can change how that picture frame looks. We can choose what sort of border it has, how big the mount board is, and we can choose our picture to go inside. Luckily, I happen to have a picture of my very handsome cat, Mr. Tibbs, ready to go in Reality Composer, so I can tap on there. That will place the empty picture frame with a much nicer image.

The brilliant thing with all these customisation options is that you can completely transform your scene and the appearance of it in just a few taps. Let’s scroll sideways now, and we’ll see a scene rendered completely in gold. Look at the reflections and the lighting on that! It looks amazing. And if we keep going, we can look at a scene where everything is a bit more realistic than perhaps it is when you first import the objects.

All these look great in AR, and it opens up even more possibilities to explore.

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