Shoe shopping tends to be one of those love it or hate it past times. You either really enjoy spending several hours walking around shops trying on a myriad of styles only to go for the very first pair, or you don’t, and buy something that looks vaguely ok from Amazon. Augmented Reality (AR) commerce specialist Wannaby thinks there’s another way. Having released Wanna Nails in 2018 the company has set its sights on feet, launching an app called Wanna Kicks.
The trouble with buying online is that you can never be 100 percent sure the colour, style, and overall look on your foot are what you want until you’re wearing it. With Wanna Kicks users simply open the iOS app – an Android version is due for release later in the year – point the camera at their foot and select a shoe, the app then creates a digital version over their foot.
“We use sophisticated 3D geometry algorithms together with neural networks to identify the position of the shoe in a space. Those algorithms are the secret sauce of our application and our main innovation. Then we combine it with the information about the rest of the foot to decide which parts of the shoe are occluded,” said Sergey Arkhangelskiy, ex-Googler and now CEO at Wannaby in a statement.
Currently, the Wanna Kicks app includes 10 sneakers in various colours from popular brands with more to be added. It’s not a simple process as Wannaby needs to create 3D models of the footwear with an in-house 3D artist adapting the model to the brands’ particular requirements, polishing the textures and assigns materials to respective parts of the shoe to ensure that the result is as realistic as possible. Wannaby also works with existing 3D models, provided by manufacturers.
“The finishing step is the rendering of the shoe itself. We rely on our custom physically-based rendering engine with extensive support of different materials so that you can tell the difference between the rubber sole from the fabric finish on the upper part of a sneaker,” adds Arkhangelskiy.