Templates for AR/VR Sketches
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I like sketches so much. At all times, I keep pieces of paper in my workspace, and in my bag, along with a laptop, I’m always carrying a few scraps of paper or at least a small notebook.
During my interviews, I noticed that many people mentioned how they make drafts on paper before starting building prototypes.
I assumed that this was nothing special, but my interest won out, and I asked VR/AR designers to send me their sketches.
What I got was unexpectedly interesting.
Obviously, some of the sketches were in amazing architectural styles and definitely didn’t need any additional guidance or help, but some of them were so specific that they were barely recognizable. So, for me, it was clear that I needed to create another template. 😀
At first, I defined pain points and mistakes:
- Broken perspective
- Tendency of designers to use frontal projections for any occasion
- Wrong scale
- Wrong proportions
- Boundaries drawn as screen edges that really don’t exist for VR and MR
- Difficult-to-distinguish layers from a distance by the observer
- Unclear position of a user in a scene
- Useless first-person view
- Overly schematic style that doesn’t give any context
I tried to come up with a series of templates that should help to draw more usable and helpful sketches.
This is a good case of where context matters. With this template, you don’t need to think about scale or the controller itself; you just explore the options from the hand menu.
On these templates, it’s easy to define the states of objects for different gestures. It can be a response of a clickable UI component or something more abstract, such as a reaction of the whole scene to gestures and positions of hands.
These templates allow you to draw a scene around a user from different angles while making sure that everything will be on its proper place.
( ↖️ The top left view is from the front, ↙️ the bottom left view from the top, ↗️the top right from the side, and ↘️ the bottom right is a perspective to show overall composition).
This is a great way to draw complex 3D objects and compositions that can be used for VR in the same way as for AR. There are two types of grid: dimetric and isometric. You don’t need to worry about names; just choose what view is more suitable for your case.
This grid helps to draw realistic 3D objects. As simple as it is, just choose where the horizontal line should be. (If it is on the bottom of the screen, it’ll look like a user is looking into the sky; if it is on the top of the paper the user will look on the floor).
Frontal perspective (Single-point perspective)
This is another type of perspective that can sometimes be even easier to understand. For example, now, most probably, you see your device (laptop or phone) from a frontal perspective because it’s strictly perpendicular to you.
I’m not going to add a three-point perspective because it’s too complicated to give any value.
Also, a few templates for our fellow designers are making selfies even more enjoyable.
Some designers told me that they are not using sketches at all and go directly into VR and AR. I do agree that the sooner you start working in virtual reality, the fewer mistakes you will make. So, if you are comfortable to begin in VR itself, go ahead and start prototyping in your reality. Likely, there are plenty of tools like Sketchbox, Tilt brush, Tvori, Quill, and Torch that help you to do this.
It’s funny, but while I was working on this, I was thinking about what Jonathan Ravaz, a designer and prototyper from Oculus, said during our interview. He said that architects figured everything out a long time ago, and when he starts exploring new concepts, he eventually realizes that they are best practices that architects already defined and use every day.
This is not only to rules that apply to ergonomics and visual perception but also to some obvious things like grids. I have used perspective theories that I learned during my studies as an architect quite often since then. I never thought that I’d be using them to sketch my own realities many years later.
And last but not the least. You can download templates here:
Let me know if you have any other ideas for templates that could help you to express your concepts.