Want to Deliver Your Illustrations via Augmented Reality? Here's What's Stopping You

Written By: Alex Dorian
  • 11/13/2017
Bring illustrations to augmented reality

The means to deliver technical illustrations through augmented reality are available, so why is it so difficult for your team to do so?

Last December, PTC’s Jeff Coon, Solution Management Director for Creo Illustrate, and Julian Ferrett, Technical Specialist, assessed the obstacles preventing technical illustrators from creating AR-ready 3D content. The pair tackled the following challenges:

  • fulfilling a pervasive lack of supplier-provided 3D content
  • using existing engineering data to create technical illustrations
  • updating 3D illustrations whenever product developers, designers, or engineers make changes

You can watch a replay of the webinar here.

AR is accessible, but technical illustrations are not

Right now, there’s a fairly large gap between AR availability and illustration accessibility. In practice, you don’t need an AR headset to look at a 3D rendering of a bulldozer. ThingWorx View is one example of a “point-and-shoot” app that uses your camera to map out an area and then overlay an AR illustration within that area.

Coon, who serves as the Solution Management Director for Creo Illustrate, says a part of the problem is that it’s difficult for discrete manufacturers to get 3D content from OEMs.

“Some of these [supplier] contracts are 30 years old,” said Coon. “So you have all of these agreements that specify suppliers will provide 2D drawings, but not 3D illustrations. Once those contracts expire, manufacturers may renegotiate those agreements to include the supply of 3D content.”

Until then, technical illustrators need a cost-effective way to create AR-ready 3D illustrations. One method, says Coon, is to use your in-house engineering department’s CAD files to automatically create technical illustrations.

“What that does is establish an associative link between what the engineers are working on and the illustrations you’re going to include in publications,” said Coon. “You don’t have to have a day-long meeting every month to track every single change developers made across the product.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to learn more about augmented reality's applications in service, check out Jeff Coon's latest webinar:

Register for the Webinar, 3 Steps to Bring Augmented Reality to Field Service

  • Augmented Reality
  • Service and Parts
  • Digital Transformation

About the Author

Alex Dorian

Alex Dorian is the Content Marketing Specialist for PTC’s SLM Demand Generation team. With more than three years of experience writing for tech companies, he oversees the ideation, management, production, and promotion of PTC’s aftermarket-focused web content. He frequently consults industry experts and researches spare parts logistics practices to discover how new technologies will impact the aftermarket service sector.