When you think of Augmented Reality (AR), you may not think of the movies, yet, but AR is becoming an emerging format for building and sharing new or reimagined worlds. With cinematic storytelling in AR, individual separation from screen to user dissolves so that both the story creation and viewing experience are more immersive. AR brings elements of a story into reality, giving us a new way to experience what we see, hear, and of course feel.

The WRLD 3D maps provide a fully textured 3D environment of our cities, land and buildings. This replica of the real world can easily (and cheaply) be used as a ready-built set for creating content and cinematic storytelling in AR; there is no need to digitally create a new film setting. If you missed it, see how you can build your own Blade Runner  scene by transforming  WRLD 3D maps into a dystopian sci-fi  world using the WRLD Unity SDK.


Inspired by Unity art and design tools, we wanted to build a classic film scene using the WRLD 3D maps in Unity. We started out recreating a scene from the 1933 American monster adventure film King Kong. Using the WRLD Unity SDK, and Unity Post-Processing Stack tools, we found it quite easy to transform our 3D map of New York City into a virtual movie set for film pre-visualization. See below for a quick tutorial on how to create the same scene in Unity and interact with it using AR. Finally, your director dreams come true!

  1. First, we obtained a model and created very basic rigging and animations. After the animation was done, we imported it into Unity. AR Animation Unity
  2. Then, we created a GameObject for King Kong and added animator so it plays animations.
  3. You will want to add GeographicTransform on the GameObject.g. Give Kong GameObject a lat, long for the iconic Empire State Building in New York City. For converting between Unity’s world space and real world coordinates, you will want to use GeographicTransform — see the WRLD SDK documentation and an example. Other coordinate conversions are covered in the docs for your reference.
  4. We then made some minor position and rotation adjustments. It’s up to you how you want to do this – have some fun!
  5. We integrated animation with the 3D map and created some cameras to place them as we like. Since the whole scene is being performed for you, you become the cinematographer and director for full creative input on the cameras. Enjoy!
  6. To create high-quality visuals, we used Unity’s post-processing stack to make the scene black and white, and then added a little grain to give it some vintage film feel. We were really impressed by this easy to use interface and the filters offered. WRLD 3D Maps Cinematic Storytelling
  7. Cinematic storytelling in AR – last but not least, set up the scene to view and interact with King Kong in AR! To do this last step, check out part 1 of this tutorial on how to set up WRLD in ARKit using Unity. WRLD 3D Maps AR

What started as a fun exploration using WRLD 3D maps, Unity, and Apple’s ARKit, ended with a new outlook on the powerful future of creating content for new mediums and cinematic storytelling in AR. When you have a fully built 3D environment, like the WRLD 3D maps with textures and landmarks, you save an enormous amount of time and resources in building basic pre-visualization sets. With Unity’s art and design tools, you can plan real shoots rather than building locations digitally by hand. WRLD 3D maps provide an actual city such as New York already 3D rendered, so why build it yourself? Spend more time becoming the director of your dreams to place the camera, create animations, and plan a whole shoot!

Here is the full animation we created:

Have fun, and please do share with us what stories you create using the WRLD 3D maps! As always email us if you have any technical issues or just want to chat with us!