Craftzing | Royal Botania
Royal Botania AR
Augmented Reality Product Catalog
Mobile | XR | 3D
An augmented reality product catalog
In the spring of 2021 I was approached by Craftzing and Royal Botania to assist in the development of their Augmented Reality catalog, which was to feature their entire range of high-end outdoor furniture (i.e. more than 200 models, plus all the configurations).
To do this on time and on a reasonable budget would be a challenge, one I accepted eagerly.
In the spring of 2021, I was approached by Craftzing, a digital design agency, to collaborate with Royal Botania, a Belgian luxury outdoor furniture company. The project involved the development of an Augmented Reality (AR) catalog to showcase Royal Botania's entire range of high-end outdoor furniture, consisting of over 200 models and configurations. The goal was to create a cross-platform AR app for iOS and Android that allowed users to preview realistic 3D models of the products in their gardens, customizing each piece of furniture with various fabrics, woods, and metals.
Time Constraints: Developing an AR catalog within the given timeframe was a significant challenge.
High Polygon Counts: The client provided CAD models with tens of millions of polygons, which were unfit for real-time applications.
Customization: Accommodating the vast array of product customization options while ensuring optimal app performance.
Cross-Platform AR App Development: Utilizing Unity3D and ARKit, I built a user interface (UI) and architected a system for streaming AssetBundles, allowing for seamless integration with iOS and Android devices.
3D Model Optimization: I established a workflow to convert the CAD files into optimized 3D assets with a polygon budget between 5-10K, similar to a AAA mobile game character. This process involved writing a Blender python script that automated the optimization, enabling the client to optimize 95% of their products independently.
Contentful Integration: To accommodate the extensive customization options, I helped integrate the app with Contentful, a powerful content management platform. This allowed users to browse a product database, place furniture in their gardens, and customize each item with ease.
To guide customers in their exploration of the product that suits their desires, we developed a mobile app that includes a terrace planner. By integrating augmented reality, we created a premium and tangible customer experience that matches Royal Botania’s high-end market positioning.
With the camera on their phone, customers can create a digital visualization in the app of what Royal Botania’s furniture would look like in their own garden. Additionally, we complemented this feature with style and collection sheets as well as the option to save configurations and compile a wishlist. Finally, the app allows customers to contact a local dealer who'll provide them with further advice, taking the client into the next stage of the customer journey.
Mobile app frontend development
After the technical and business validation of the concept, our design and development team proceeded with the execution. Especially the integration of augmented reality, the elaboration of the 3D visualizations and the large amounts of data from the product catalog proved to be a challenging task that we were able to tackle by bringing together the right areas of expertise.
Thanks to a seamless interaction between the various experts within the design and development team and regular stand-ups with Royal Botania, we were able to launch an MVP of the app and dealer portal after just 6 months. Further into the collaboration, we extended the existing tools with additional features like a wishlist, storing configurations in augmented reality but also deep linking that redirects the user from the mobile website to the app. By doing so, we wanted to encourage the use of the app as much as possible.
Blender pipeline for production-ready mobile-friendly 3D models
Based on Royal Botania CAD files, I was tasked with figuring out a pipeline/workflow to turn these complex models into assets usable for real-time 3D use on mobile devices.
The Royal Botania AR catalog project exemplifies how cutting-edge technology can be leveraged to create unique and engaging customer experiences. By overcoming challenges related to time, budget, and technical limitations, Lions Tigers and Bears successfully delivered a cross-platform AR app that showcased the luxurious outdoor furniture line of Royal Botania, ultimately contributing to their continued growth and success in the high-end outdoor furniture market.