Piano 3D app was released way back in January 2016. However, only in Version 4.5 which was released on October 31, 2017, the app got Augmented Reality support, allowing you to place the piano in your room and walk around it. In this review, we’ll take a close look at this charming app and explore its striking AR mode.
What is Piano 3D?
Also referred to as “The Piano 3D” is a piano learning and music discovery tool for iPhone and iPad. It features a beautifully rendered 3D pianos that you can view in standard 3D view, but it really comes to life when you put it in your room and view it in augmented reality (AR). You can choose the “Portal” mode, where it more like virtual reality experience, where you can walk inside the virtual room and the piano in it.
Aside from the beautiful visuals, the app features ultra-realistic multi-samples piano sound. Users can choose to play songs from a huge user-generated the sound library and even write their own songs using the “Music Composer”, later sharing their creation on social media if they desire.
Furthermore, users are able to play songs by using the touch screen to touch the piano handles. the app supports multi-touch of course, for all the 88 keys. Other features include the ability to slow down the song or pause it so they can learn it note by note, or use it in lear mode to further enhance their ability to learn to play the song. Build in audio, midi and video recorder with full midi support allow users to connect their own keyboard and turn their play into a beautiful musical 3D art.
Users can choose between three pianos: White Grand, Gold Grand, and Mechanical Upright piano. When played in standard 3D or in “Portal” mode, each of these pianos is places in a different room. The White Grand piano is placed in a modern Scandinavian room, the Gold Gran is placed in a luxurious chamber inside a European palace and the Mechanical Upright is placed in a standard room.
Users can rotate, move and zoom the piano in standard 3D mode. In AR mode, you can rotate and move the piano to have it set in a proper location in your room. There is also an option to view the song in a beautiful and relaxing “Tunnel Notes” view, use an auto camera, orbit camera or “Play Camera” for on top view.
The “Learn” tool is really useful. You get a top view of the keyboard and with flowing incoming lines Each hand has its own representative color.
Even If you use the app passively, not playing yourself, you can enjoy listening to the music while seeing the piano keys and hammers moving by themselves. There are some other settings to help you customize the experience for your liking, both in standard and AR mode.
The developer of this app thought of everything, like maintaining the music when you switch modes, keeping the song play even if you interrupt it by tapping on the keys yourself, etc.
Let’s take a look at this app in action.
3D Piano AR Mode
I was blown away by how amazing the AR mode looks like. The piano looks amazingly realistic with high-res texture and beautiful reflections. That beautiful rendering synergized amazingly well with the classical music that played in the background. I felt in a completely new place. I love classical music, it takes you to another place, and it has a strong emotional impact on me.
Hearing some of the classics like Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”, “Moonlight Sonata” and Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer”, took me back many years, reminding me the times where I was myself learning to play the piano and play those exact songs. I forgot how to play the piano, I haven’t played it for so many years. Still, that experience is something that you never forget, it stays with you forever.
Obviously playing the piano on the touchscreen on my iPad wasn’t a great experience. I mean, the worst thing you can have is having your hands cuffed to the screen while you try to play the piano which required all hands to play.
This app can be so much better on a mixed reality wearable device like the Magic Leap One. However, there are some things that need to be tackled, like having tactile feedback, making the hands appear on top of the keyboard, maybe being able to spawn the piano on a surface so you can rest your hands and make your fingers touch a surface when you play, etc.
Actually Playing with my Own Hands
The thing is that Piano 3D wasn’t designed to replace a piano playing experience but serving as a learning tool and being an entertaining music discovery tool as well. This is the closest you can get to have that complete piano listening and learning experience on a mobile device.
You can play the piano using the Learn mode. This way, you can put the iPad down on the table and play with your fingers free. With the iPhone, it might be a bit. I tried playing this virtual piano on the iPad while it is laid down on the table but the keys are just too slim. Even with baby fingers, it will be hard to play it accurately and comfortably. I haven’t tried it on the iPad Pro 12.9″, but I guess it will be significantly more comfortable than my 9.7″ one. If you have the iPhone, you can definitely forget about tapping to play, the screen is just too small. Now, there is an option to zoom in the keys, so your hands can fit the keys and you can clearly see the notes being plays as well, but then you have to scroll to the left and right to reveal the keys outside the screen boundaries. Obviously, you can’t really play like that.
Check out those screenshots.
Piano 3D – Real AR Piano App is a fantastic music app, definitely one of my favorites so far. it features a breathtaking AR mode and it serves as an invaluable tool for helping users to discover great piano songs and learn how to play the piano.
If you wanted an app where you can mimic piano playing experience 1-on-1, this is obviously not the right app for you. It can appeal to piano music fans, those who learn to play piano, and music creators.
This app can definitely be amazing in XR. I can see mixed reality apps that can build a virtual piano over your physical keyboard just to give you the experience of playing a regular piano or overlapping a real piano with a different skin or having to play a virtual piano without owning anything, just an XR headset.
Overall, I really liked this app. For the time I reviewed it, I was in another place, enjoying a piano and classical music experience like I haven’t experienced for many years. The AR mode is remarkably polished and impressive on the visual aspect.
I don’t know how this app can serve as a good alternative to learn how to play by reading notes, so I can’t really judge this app based on that aspect. It seems that is designed as a complementary tool and not designed to replace and conventional learning method. It feels that it is designed to provide additional tools to enhance the learning and listening experience, at least as far as I can understand it.
It’s important to keep in mind that although the app is free, most of the songs are unlockable when you pay a subscription fee, same goes to having all the instruments unlocked, being able to create your own songs, and import any song (MIDI) connect your piano (MIDI In/Out). You can start a free 7-day trial. For updated prices, please check out the subscription page in the app itself.
Download Piano 3D from the app store here (iPhone/iPad). If you enjoy this review, please don’t forget to share it, thank you.
P.S. Don’t forget to try swoosh hand maneuver on the keys 🙂 My favorite!