I am really excited when I found an app that surprises me and turn out to be something more than I expected it to be. This is where “Opus” app comes into play.
Two days ago I bought OnePlus 6, and ARCore enabled device and since then I start doing some hunting to discover ARCore apps, once that I haven’t seen on the ARKit side.
What is Opus?
Opus is an augmented reality app developed using ARCore technology. Users can use it to scan real-world objects and turn those into mosaic-style 3D models which can then be placed in the real world, be duplicated, moved, rotated and scaled.
The abstract 3D shape is made of rectangular patches which are positioned in different altitudes and slight rotations to create a unique 3D design that looks different from different angles.
Its developer, HappyFinish describes it as real-time photogrammetry. First of all, what is Photogrammetry?
According to Wikipedia: “Photogrammetry is the science of making measurements from photographs, especially for recovering the exact positions of surface points.”.
The developer doesn’t spread a lot of information about the algorithm used. I also tried to check the official website for more information and came empty.
Creating Unique Digital Art using Opus
The moment I placed the first 3D model on a surface I knew that this app is great, and by great, I mean that I will enjoy creating things with it.
There was another app that I try in the past called Flotogram, also one that I really enjoy creating with, however, Opus is much different. The unique abstract display is what makes it so appealing and interesting to watch. As you can see in the video below, you can use it on small objects and view it in relatively small size and it still looks impressive nonetheless. This is also just my first take, and I just can’t imagine what other amazing things I will be able to create with it.
One of the things that I felt was missing was animation. something that gives you control over the arrangement of the tiles and having the option to animate them. For example, in the case of the controller, I wanted an option for the tiles to be lifted up from their original location to their current location and make it in parabolically curved speed animation, start very fast and quickly slow down dramatically so it looks like a 1000 fps recording, kind of like Matrix style if you know what I mean.
Imagine using Opus on a face of a friend and making this type of animation with cool terminator-style sound effects – this can look so cool!
Just look at this image that I took of the PlayStation controller receiving an abstract mosaic-style treatment. The tiles look like pieces of wood floating in mid-air, just imagine that with animation!- oh boy!
This why I felt that Opus could have been so much more than what it is with a bit more effort. Still, what it did, it did incredibly well. I’m pretty positive that this is not the first app that tries to do it, although I didn’t check it out. I did want to try an ARCore app for a change, so this why I came across it and wanted to give it a stage on my blog. This is, in fact, the first ARCore app that I review on my site since I bought my ARCore Android smartphone.
By the way, Opus isn’t categorized under Art & Design for no reason, it is indeed an app that allows you unleash your creativity and produce some really unique digital art pieces that you probably wouldn’t e able to do it without it, or at least not with such a fast workflow process. It literally takes a few seconds to create something really cool like the one you see above. This is another reason why I liked this app so much, although as I said, it feels too simplistic and it would be great if it had more advanced features.
You do have the option to export the 3D object with the texture to a .obj file and Jpeg for the texture to be imported into 3D modeling software or unto Unity, for example, for final touches or implementing it as part of another app or a game.
I also wish there was an option to have more control over how the mosaic tiles are positioned, see how the tiles arrangements as I scan the object in real time. Sometimes the results aren’t that predictable and you get something that doesn’t look as you wanted it to be. The only option is to start from the beginning, which can frustrate users, it did frustrate me.
The app can also be further optimized by improving the object detection. Right now, it’s quite sparse and it doesn’t pick up the shape quite nicely. Furthermore, one thing that I’ve noticed is that the camera app doesn’t use autofocus. First I didn’t understand why the object appears a bit blurry and then I figured out that the AF doesn’t work. Maybe the focus is locked to a certain distance by default. The bottom line is that if the camera doesn’t focus on the object, the texture on the tiles won’t be in focus as well, as the texture is sampled from the image taken by the app.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that you can save your results and load them out later if you desire, which is a nice feature to have.
I am glad I came across Opus. No doubt that Opus need a lot of work to become more attractive and provide more consistent and accurate results, but there is something about the experimental part that makes you excited seeing how the 3D object will be turned out to be. I played with it quite a lot and I do plan to test it out on many other objects.
This is the first ARCore app that I review on my site and I am glad that I did. If you are a creative person who enjoys creating digital art, I do recommend trying it. This app isn’t a “professional” creation tool and doesn’t include advanced tools and customization options, which is unfortunate. That being said, it’s one of those apps that when in the right hands, can allow creators to produce really interesting digital artworks.
The main problem that I had with this app is that I felt that the results were inconsistent and I want to have precise control when I use design apps. This is why it took me a few takes to make it work as I wanted it to be and achieve the results I was after.
This is one of those apps that I will keep on my phone for a long time. You can follow my Instagram account, I might share some new cool photogrammetry artworks there very soon. Already have some cool ideas.
Bottom line, give this app a shot, I think it’s worth the time for any creative person out there who love digital art and searching for new ways to expand his creative reach into augmented reality.
You can download Opus app for Android via Google Play here.