Ikea launches Ikea Place, the app to design your room with AR

Ikea Place kickstarts a shift in the way retail furniture will be purchased. The AR app helps consumers focus on the fun part of experimenting with the design of the space at home, removing the gap between imagination and reality. The app has been launched at the same time as iOS 11 in September 2017.

More than 2,000 Ikea products are available in the app at launch. The AR technology is so precise that you’re able to see the texture of the fabrics, as well as how light and shadows are rendered on your furnishings.

TWNKLS, the company that built IKEA Place, asked me to support the Ikea 3D department to make these 2000 3D models suitable for the app within a 7-week period. That’s one model every twelve minutes during business hours!

The TWNKLS 3D model pipeline consist of multiple parts and I’ve co-developed a tool for 3ds Max called Pearly. Besides these tools, the artists at the Ikea 3D department have done an incredible job. Because as much as I’d like it, tools like these never run on autopilot.

IKEA announces the launch of IKEA Place, an augmented reality app that lets people virtually place furniture in their home.
IKEA announces the launch of IKEA Place, an augmented reality app that lets people virtually place furniture in their home.

Pearly

Pearly performs several essential tasks such as: adding lighting and making materials. In essence, Pearly is used to make the products look pretty in the app.

Lighting is applied to the textured models.
Lighting is applied to the textured models.

Besides performing the major pipeline tasks, Pearly takes care of small annoyances which always occur in large libraries of 3D models. With a target of processing one 3D model every 12 minutes, these small annoyances become a major problem. This is where Pearly excels. It performs checks and fixes stuff automatically.

Pearly is also very flexible. You can view it as arranging different beads on a string (hence the name, very clever!). Set up different tasks in Pearly and it’s suddenly possible to perform diagnostics on the models, or render thumbnails, or just make exports.

Example of a visual analysis.
Example of a visual analysis.

Learn more about the app on the blog of TWNKLS here.

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