Virtual try-on (VTO) has emerged as a key application for augmented reality (AR), bridging the gap between the physical and digital shopping experiences. By empowering shoppers to visualize garments and accessories before purchase, VTO elevates online shopping to the next level, letting customers try diverse styles and make informed purchasing decisions without ever having to visit a physical storefront.
As shopping moves increasingly online, the demand for immersive and interactive VTO experiences has skyrocketed. A remarkable 92 percent of GenZ consumers express their desire to incorporate AR into their shopping journeys, highlighting the immense potential for this technology. However, achieving truly realistic results in virtual try-on hinges on solving the complex challenge of physics simulation.
Simulating fabric behavior, replicating draping and movement, and ensuring a natural interaction with the user’s body pose considerable challenges. These complexities are amplified within the constraints of WebAR, which operates within web browsers and imposes limitations on real-time rendering and physics simulation. That said, WebAR offers unmatched scalability, transcending the limitations of walled gardens by functioning across connected browsers and social platforms, and is therefore the best way for VTO technology to gain traction.
Walking the Walk
Recently, Geenee AR achieved a significant breakthrough in accessories physics when we added earrings try-on to our VTO capabilities. Physics plays a vital role in accurately portraying earring movements, including weight, dangle, and motion, within the WebAR experience. By faithfully replicating these characteristics, physics simulations enhance realism and make virtual earring try-on feel true to life.
To help illustrate the impact of adding physics simulation to a VTO experience, here’s an inside look at the process behind a demo we recently created for a popular jewelry brand that lets shoppers virtually try on a pair of earrings.
First things first, you can try out the finished demo here. Try moving your head to see how the earrings respond.
Next, some details on the process…
To create a truly immersive and lifelike user experience, simply adding static 3D models is not enough. One solution lies in harnessing the power of 3D model animation, a technique widely used in the gaming industry, where predefined movements of characters suffice for repetitive scenarios.
While utilizing pre-defined animations offers performance efficiency, as movements are calculated during the initial creation of 3D models, this approach falls short when it comes to delivering the dynamic and individualized movements required for real-world user interactions.
In the realm of virtual try-on experiences, where authenticity and adaptability are paramount, relying solely on predefined animations is insufficient. The uniqueness of each user’s movements, angles, and speeds necessitates a more sophisticated solution.
This is where the power of physics simulations comes into play. By integrating physics-based principles, such as gravity, mass, and collision, virtual objects in a try-on scenario can react in real time, providing a more realistic and immersive experience.
The first crucial step in creating authentic virtual try-on experiences is to determine which physics forces will play a role in the simulation.
- Among these forces, gravity takes center stage, exerting its pull on the earrings and causing them to move toward the ground until they are attached to the ear.
- To achieve a realistic attachment, we utilize a spring-like joint that connects the earring to the ear. This joint enables us to simulate the postponed movement observed when the user moves their head.
- Gravity is further represented in the gradual slowing down of the earring’s movement over time, eventually coming to a complete stop. This phenomenon is known as damping. To recreate this effect, we meticulously reduce the forces and speed by infinitesimal increments in each frame. By employing this technique, we bring the virtual earring’s behavior closer to that of its real-life counterpart.
This allows us to replicate the gradual reduction of movement as seen in the physical world. This subtle adjustment enhances the realism of the virtual try-on experience, providing users with a more accurate representation of how earrings would behave in real life.
In conclusion, the sum of all forces applied to virtual earrings determines their movement direction and speed on each frame. Real-time calculations, influenced by the user’s movements, contribute to dynamic and responsive interactions. While system requirements may be necessary, ongoing technological advancements will enhance performance, enabling users to enjoy a truly immersive and lifelike virtual try-on experience.
While physics simulations play a significant role in capturing the realistic movement and behavior of virtual earrings, the visual aesthetics are equally important in creating a believable experience. The interplay of lighting and shadows can elevate the virtual try-on scenario to new heights, leaving a lasting impression on the user.
Properly setting up lights and shadows in the virtual environment is an art in itself. By carefully manipulating the light sources, the earring’s surfaces can glisten and reflect, enhancing their visual appeal. Shadows cast by the earrings create a sense of depth and realism, anchoring them within the virtual space.
Investing ample time and effort in perfecting the lighting, shadows, and environment is crucial. It is through this thorough attention to visual details that the “Wow effect” can be achieved. When the user feels captivated by the lifelike representation of the earrings, their enthusiasm for the product soars.
When it comes to perfecting Virtual Try-On, the combination of AI tracking, WebAR technology, physics simulations, and visual details all factor into setting the stage for a truly magical and immersive shopping experience.
The good news is, because it’s built for web AR, all this effort is scalable. Virtual try-on can be seamlessly embedded into product pages on any e-commerce website, across in-feed advertisements, as content for digital marketing campaigns, and as engaging touchpoints on site, such as shoppable retail window displays or magic mirrors at live events.
The future of online shopping holds tremendous potential as advancements in AR try-on continue to reshape the landscape, enabling a new era of interactive and personalized shopping.
Vladislav Bondarenko is an AR Engineer at Geenee AR