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Lord of the Rings Director Peter Jackson’s Wingnut AR Studio Uses Apple ARKit

Apple’s WWDC 2017 conference has been a fairly low event, without all the grandeur that Google’s I/O show had but that doesn’t mean to say it was any less interesting. While it long been suspected that Apple has been working on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies the news today has been somewhat unexpected – mainly due to the company being so secretive. As part of the keynote ARKit was unveiled and to properly showcased the software Wingnut AR was brought on stage to showcase what it had built.

Wingnut AR isn’t some random indie studio specialising in AR tech, in fact it was founded by acclaimed director Peter Jackson, the man behind The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It wasn’t Jackson who took to the stage but Creative Director Alasdair Coull, who along with another Wingnut AR member demoed an unnamed project that came to life in real-time on the stage.

Wingnut AR 1

A scene rolled out on the table with animated characters, vehicles and buildings, all rendered using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 – seemingly proving quite popular with developers. The level of detail and quality of the graphics is apparent straight away, with the entire environment looking as good as a proper videogame running on a console or PC.

Things then liven up with explosions and chaos galore, the characters then start to run about and one even fly’s off the edge of the table. This is all while the guy with the iPad moves around, moving further back to get a wider viewpoint and then moving right up close to get a good look.

While the content wasn’t interactive – merely viewable – it did demonstrate the possibilities that AR, Unreal Engine and ARKit could create. Coull finished by saying that an AR experience from Wingnut AR would be launching on the app store later in the year.

For the latest VR and AR updates from Apple, keep reading VRFocus.