In just a couple of years, augmented reality apps skyrocketed in sales and have received recognition from all industries – for a solid reason. They allow something unheard before – almost seamlessly integrating virtual environments in real life with just smartphones, no bulky VR gear or programming that fails to “read” the environment. The primary use is seen in various creative industries: exterior and interior design, product prototyping, creating stunning visual presentations and gaming.
The potential of these mobile applications is immense, especially for architects and designers. If you still haven’t installed any augmented reality apps on your Apple or Android devices or still unsure which one to choose, our architectural rendering company has compiled a top 5 best AR apps available today. Mind you that this is not a worst to best list – every presented program has its ups and downs.
Augmented Reality Apps: Top 5 For Architects
Pair is one of many consumer-focused augmented reality apps that allows its users to drag and drop virtual 3D models taken from a large and constantly updated furniture catalog into real world environment. On top of that, this program remembers object positions, letting users walk around virtually “furnished” space and then return to see the items just the way they were left. These functions make Pair stand out among other augmented reality apps for presentations and marketing. On the minus side, the interface is quite unintuitive, sometimes even confusing and navigation is clunky. Another sad thing is that only iOS users can use it. Overall, a good choice for design and attracting customers – but still needs more work and polishing, as users claim. The program shows a lot of potential and we hope that developers fix the issues in upcoming updates.
Platforms: Android, iOS
Price: basic: $300 /month, pro: $1000 /month, enterprise: custom, calculated after contact
Free student subscription and trial version
Sometimes augmented reality apps are used not purely for architecture, but rather as a jack-of-all-trades. Augment is a good example of one. It’s useful for exterior and interior design visualization, marketing and ecommerce. The interface is intuitive and simple – the user just has to search for and pick a 3D model, drag and drop it, edit it and share it with collaborators or post to social media. The item library is enormous and accepts custom 3D models. Besides the AR functionality, Augment can be used for on-site project management and company website integration. The price bites hard, though.
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Starter: Free, On Demand: EUR 3.49/Plan, Standard: EUR 8.33/Month, Business: EUR 16.67/Month
One of the complicated activities for architects is drafting floor plans. With augmented reality apps like MagicPlan this process can be conducted on the fly, saving tons of time. All the user has to do is to point mobile phone’s camera at a space, and software will do the rest. The resulting drawings can be saved as a PDF, JPG or DFX format and shared via the Internet with other project collaborators or printed. MagicPlan website also provides helpful tutorials on how to use the app effectively and adapt to the interface.
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free download, annual fee after the first year to continue project hosting, fee per addendum/model revision