There’s an entire photo studio in your phone with this AR app

Think augmented reality is just for making silly Snapchat faces? A new app could help photographers experiment with poses, lighting, and setups with nothing but a smartphone. Photo Studio AR is an augmented reality photo studio headed up by a Hollywood visual effects technician that also assisted on Snapchat filters. The app allows photographers to place models, lights, and props inside any scene.

Developed by Superba AR, the new iOS and Android app allows users to conjure up studio settings anywhere without having to buy the gear or even hire a model. Using the smartphone camera, users can choose a model to place in the scene. According to the developer, those models are all based on real people. The app allows users to choose from different poses as well as modifying poses or the model will move around impatiently while you choose the rest of the set.

Photo Studio AR also includes AR lighting, including different types of studio lights and modifiers that can be arranged in the scene. The app even allows users to adjust the direction of the sun. The app applies the light from those AR sources to the models and props in the scene, including the resulting shadows.

The lighting and posing practice also mixes in with props and even entire scenes, swapping the boring office you’re actually sitting in with a beach or a desert. The app can also turn on fake rain and snow. Like other augmented reality apps, the different models and props can be re-arranged and scaled to different sizes. 

Of course, the app includes a built-in camera, so once everything is in place, you can take a photo of the setup and even share on social media. The app’s camera will also apply color corrections via a set of different filters that can be used as you shoot in real time.

The app is designed to help photographers visualize a shoot ahead of time, pre-planning for different lighting setups and poses. That same pre-shoot experimentation could also be useful for new photographers that want to experiment with how different lights work before actually choosing which light to buy in real life.

Developer Superba AR, based in California, also offers a Film Studio AR app, a similar project except that it is designed for pre-visualizing movie sets. The company was co-founded by Raffael Dickreuter, its current CEO, and entrepreneur Donald LeMastus. The CEO moved to the new company after working on visual effects in Hollywood for over a decade, including working on films like Iron Man and Man of Steel.

Photo Studio AR may allow photographers to practice without investing in lighting or hiring a model but the app sells as a $10 download, with in-app purchases for additional models. The app is available from the App Store (including an iPad version) and Google Play.

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