AR Foundation Setup for Android
AR Foundation is a cross-platform framework, that enables you to build an AR application in Unity with one codebase, but lets you deploy it to multiple platforms. In this article, we’ll learn how to set up the Unity project for the Android platform.
For developing an AR application make sure to meet the following software and hardware requirements:
One of the latest Long Term Support (LTS) Unity Editor versions installed with the following modules:
- Android Build Support
- Android SDK and NDK tools
- Open JDK
Any IDE for scripting and development, preferably Visual Studio as it works best with Unity.
An Android device which supports AR Core.
Creating a Unity Project
Let’s begin by creating a Unity project:
Open Unity Hub → click on
Enter a Project name.
Make sure to select the
3D Corerender pipeline and click on
Setting Up A Project For Android Development
Now, we’ll set up the project in such a way that it can be built for our Android devices without any errors.
Since we are building the application for Android, we first need to switch the build platform. You can do that by clicking on
In the same Build Settings window, click on
XR Plugin Management→
Install XR Plugin Management. This will download and import the XR Plugin Management package.
In the Project Settings window, enable the
ARCore✅. This will download and install the ARCore XR Plugin package.
Next, click on
Playerand follow these steps:
- Change the Company Name.
- Disable the Auto Graphics API parameter.
- Under Graphics APIs, select
Vulkanand remove it from the list. That’s because ARCore doesn’t support Vulkan graphics API.
- Disable the Multithreaded Rendering parameter as it’s not supported.
- Change the Minimum API Level to
(API level 24).
- Change the Scripting Backend to
- Under Target Architectures, enable
Finally, we can download the ARFoundation Package. Click on
Package Manager→ from the Packages drop-down select
Unity Registry→ search for the AR Foundation package and
With that, we have set up our project with AR Foundation for Android deployment.
Setting Up The Scene
As we have our project setup, the next thing to do would be to set up the scene for AR and test it out as well.
In the Hierarchy window, select the
Main CameraGameObject and delete it.
Right-click in the Hierarchy window, and select
AR Session Origin.
Once again right-click in the Hierarchy window, and select
Let’s have a detailed look at the GameObjects and components that we added:
AR Session OriginGameObject has an AR Session Origin component. The purpose of this component is to transform trackable features, such as planar surfaces and feature points, into their final position, orientation, and scale in the Unity Scene.
The child GameObject
AR Camerahas five components:
- The Camera component is used to capture and display the scene to the player.
- The Audio Listener component listens to the audio from the microphone.
- The AR Pose Driver component drives the local position and orientation of the parent GameObject according to the device's tracking information.
- The ARCameraManager is used to manage the AR Camera features like Auto Focus, Light Estimation and the Facing Direction (choice of camera i.e front or back).
- The ARCameraBackground component is used when we want the video feed from the device camera to show up as the rendered background of the scene at runtime.
AR SessionGameObject has two components:
- The AR Session component controls the lifecycle of an AR experience by enabling or disabling AR on the target platform.
- The AR Input Manager component is used to enable world tracking. Without it, the Tracked Pose Driver can't acquire a pose for the device.
With that have set up the basic scene for implementing AR.
Setting up Android Device
For us to build the application into our device, the USB debugging mode has to be enabled. To do that:
Open Setting on your device
Scroll down till you find About Phone
Tap on the Build number 8 to 10 times to enable Developer Options.
Go back and select System → Developer Options → scroll till you find USB debugging, toggle it on to enable it → a popup will appear asking the permission to allow USB debugging, click on OK.
We can now connect our device to our machine and Unity will be able to build an application into it.
Testing: Demo Application
With the project, scene and device setup for AR, it’s now time to build a demo application and test it.
Add a cube to the scene by right-clicking in the Hierarchy window. Select
Change the scale, position and rotation of the Cube GameObject.
Add Open Scenes→
Build and Run. This will open a window, and before saving the app, create a new folder called Builds. Save the app inside that folder with an appropriate name.
Once the application is built, it will automatically launch on the device. For the first time, it might ask permission for camera access which we need to grant. After which we can test the application to see the augmented cube.
With that, we can safely say that our project is ready for AR and android deployment.
Setting up the project and the scene was just the beginning. We can now further this project and try other features of AR Foundation like image detection, plane detection and face recognition.
Thanks for reading this blog post. 🧡 If you are interested in creating your own AR and VR apps, you can learn more about it here on immersive insiders. Also, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out! We're always happy to help.