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Set up an AR level

Check out the following examples:

For functionality specific to the Unreal Editor and some in-depth knowledge, check out

Academy Tutorial - Introduction to Augmented reality (AR)

  • An introduction to Augmented Reality (AR)

Create a new show

If you already have a show you work on you can skip this step.

  1. Go to START > Storage > Shows

  2. Click on "Create new show" and select "from template"

  3. Select the project type "AR Project"

  4. Select the location where the new project should be created

  5. Enter a name for the show and click on "Create new show"

  6. Click on "Open show”

Learn more about how to Create, open and manage shows

Launch a level

In the Director

  1. Go to SETUP or PRODUCTION > Show > Launch

  2. Open the PixotopeARTemplate level by clicking on "Launch in EDITOR"

Create a new empty level

You can reuse the PixotopeARTemplate level, or create a new empty level:

  1. Right-click in the Content Browser and choose "Level"

    1. Name your level

    2. Open it by double-clicking the level icon

    3. In the "Save Content" dialog that appears, click "Save Selected"

  2. Or choose "New Level..." from the "File" menu

    1. Choose the "Empty level" template

    2. Save the level by clicking "Save current" from the "File" menu

    3. Name your level

Pixotope automatically adds the following objects to the level:

  • CameraRoot - your virtual reference point for the studio origin

  • TrackedCamera - your real tracked camera transferred into virtual space

  • PostProcessHandler - enables post-processing effects like camera effects and color correction

  • MaterialHandler - runs essential shaders for compositing

If you are a first-time user of the Pixotope Editor, check out Preparing levels in Pixotope Editor.

Set up a color-managed viewport

If you are using a color-managed workflow, you can enable a color-managed viewport in the Editor to preview your work in the correct output color space.

Learn more about how to Configure your color pipeline

  1. Make sure you are working in Linear space

    1. In Director check: SETUP > Show > Show settings > Compositing color space

  2. In the OCIO menu in the viewport, click "OCIO Viewport Enabled" in the OCIO

  3. The color profile of the viewport is now linked to the color profile selection of the chosen (routed) output (Director: SETUP > Configure > Routing)

    • To manually override the color profile, just select any other ACES color profile

Color-managed working in the Editor is currently only possible using a single viewport.

The color-managed viewport does not affect the SDI/NDI output.

Enable the backplate

  • In the Editor: Select "Enable AR" in Pixotope World Settings > AR

  • Or in the Director: Enable "Backplate" in PRODUCTION > Adjust > Composite > 3D Graphics

On the video output (or when clicking "Preview Live" in the Editor) you should see your video input passed through onto the backplate.

If you do not have a video live feed, enable "Use Debug Video Input" in Pixotope World Settings > General > Debug

No backplate visible on your video output?

Check SETUP > Configure > Routing, to see whether there is a camera system routed to the machine. Media inputs do not work as backplate, as they lack tracking data.

Add 3D assets

Any actor that you add to the scene will automatically be considered a foreground object and be composited on top of the video.

  1. Add your 3D assets, or as an example choose "Pixotope Text Mesh" from the Modes > Pixotope panel


When you add or import assets, remember to work in scale. The Unreal unit system is 1 unit = 1 meter.

Place asset

If your CameraRoot was matched correctly with the Studio origin, placing your asset in the scene is as easy as entering the measured values where the asset should be seen in the real world.

Video tutorial - Importing Assets

Set up lighting

  1. Add a directional light

  2. Place and rotate the light so it matches the key light in your studio

  3. Make sure that "Cast Shadows" is enabled (Details panel > Light)

  4. If your objects are moving, set the Mobility of the light to "Movable" (Details panel > Transform)

Set up shadows, reflections and lights

Add a shadow, reflection and light catcher

A shadow, reflection and light catcher only renders shadows, reflections and light that are cast onto it. The object itself is not visible.

  1. Add a plane

  2. Scale and place it to cover the floor and the shadows that the assets will cast

  3. Right-click the plane and go to the Pixotope > Convert it to the "AR Shadow, Reflection & Light Catcher" object type

  4. Choose between one of the material presets or the "Don’t change Material" option

Learn more about Object types in Pixotope

Learn more about AR light catcher

To cast reflections from video onto virtual objects, you can add the AR Reflected Plane actor from the "Pixotope" actor panel. This will play back the same video as the background, but on a plane that can be positioned in the scene.

If you choose to disable screen space reflections (as we recommend), a planar reflection actor should be added to the scene. You can learn more about setting up planar reflections in the Unreal documentation.

Planar reflection actors will add cost to the scene rendering and should be optimized. (To speed up processing, use the include list to choose which objects are rendered.)

Next step

Continue to Making adjustments

Or go directly to Adjust composite to match video and 3D graphics

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