Microsoft has released a new extension for Unity and Mixed Reality Tookit, which allows developers to better reproduce natural lighting in augmented reality on HoloLens, as well as through ARKit, ARCore and other platforms.
Microsoft Mixed Reality Academy chief engineer Nick Klingensmith announced the launch of the Light Capture tool on Twitter. Developers can access open source via GitHub.
The “Light Capture” tool creates a copy of the natural environment lighting, called a “Cubemap”, based on the images taken by augmented reality devices as they move. The tool then feeds the data to the Unity lighting system for use with shaders used in 3D models.
Klingensmit noted that Light Capture is especially good for HoloLens and other glasses with additive displays. However, using the ARFoundation for Unity package, developers can also apply data to ARKit and ARCore applications.
There are a few caveats. HoloLens blocks cameras at a certain exposure in order to more accurately capture light changes, but other devices do not, which can lead to dim lighting. In addition, since Light Capture uses cameras, it may not support simultaneous work with other camera requests, such as tracking markers on the Vuforia platform or streaming images through Mixed Reality Capture.
Lighting is also an essential component of realism, so a new tool is a welcome improvement for both developers and end users.