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2D vs 3D Augmented Reality

October 29, 2020

Wait, isn’t all Augmented Reality 3D? Well, yes and no. Augmented Reality always offers a 3D experience, but the digital AR elements can be 2D or 3D. In this article, we’ll provide examples of each so you can see what we mean. 

What is Augmented Reality?

First, let’s quickly define Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality inserts digital elements in the real world, literally augmenting reality through a device like a smartphone. These digital elements can be images, videos, filters, etc. These days, you can experience Augmented Reality through your smartphone or tablet without needing to download an app first. This latest technology is known as Web AR. 

To learn more, you can check out our other article: What is Web AR and Why is it So Exciting?

2D vs 3D Augmented Reality Examples

An Augmented Reality experience is always 3D because the digital elements are placed in a 3D world (our world!). But the AR elements themselves can be 2D or 3D. It’s easier to show you than to try to explain the difference, so here are some examples of each.

2D Augmented Reality Examples

#1 Vodafone Postcard

As you can see in the above Vodafone example, the real 3D postcard has a 2D AR effect of tearing open a gift. The user can move the postcard around, and the 2D AR element tracks with the movement. 

#2 Alnwick Gardens Brochure

The Alnwick Gardens brochure is another great example of 2D Augmented Reality. A portion of the brochure transforms into video that highlights the gardens and all its beauty. The video is 2D, but the overall experience is 3D. 

Is the difference starting to make sense? To make it even more clear, let’s take a look at 3D Augmented Reality examples now. 

3D Augmented Reality Examples

#1 Real Estate Postcard

As opposed to the 2D Vodafone example above, the AR element in this example pops out of the postcard. A 3D building is constructed onto the real 3D postcard—no retro 3D glasses required!

#2 Kinder’s Jump Into Africa Portal

You can’t get much more 3D than this example. Kinder created this 3D Augmented Reality experience that turns a store aisle into a portal to the African plains. Looking through their smartphones, users can explore this augmented world as if they’re standing inside it. 

2D vs 3D Augmented Reality Marketing

So, which is better: 2D or 3D AR? The truth is, which is better depends on the brand and the goal of the campaign. Both 2D and 3D AR experiences are highly effective, with engagement rates of 40% and higher! It ultimately comes down to what kind of experience the brand wishes to provide, or what they wish to promote. 

Aircards has produced 2D and 3D Augmented Reality experiences for both small local businesses and huge international brands. Contact us today to learn how AR can take your brand to the next level.

For more examples of 3D AR, check out: 3 Cool Examples of 3D Augmented Reality Marketing