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Expanding the Torch Platform with Publish

Completing our native AR workflow with the ability to export your work to a wide variety of deployment targets. 

Augmented Reality is continuing at a steady pace to become a part of our daily lives. At Torch, our goal has always been to help businesses tap into this growing market. Today we are announcing the availability of Torch Publish which is a significant milestone towards this goal.

Torch Publish completes our approachable workflow by introducing the ability to export your work to a wide variety of deployment and integration targets. Before we dig into the details of Publish, I’d like to briefly recap the journey since then. (If you can't wait for the details, jump to the TL;DR at the bottom of this page).

With each passing day, mobile devices are gaining more dynamic spatial awareness about our physical world. This has opened the door to powerful new forms of human interaction – between computers and other humans – that we are really just starting to understand. What we do know is that it has powerful implications for virtually every modern business and technology user. Those that make the effort to be a part of this new paradigm will see great returns. 

Get started with Torch AR, today—download for free on iOS.

Before Torch, the effort and costs to participate were too great for most people to even consider AR as a viable option. Unnecessary barriers to working in AR have excluded some of today’s most talented product and experience professionals—people with the honed skills that the spatial computing industry desperately needs. 

To address these blockers, we focused on activating designers and giving them the means to quickly build proficiency with these burgeoning interaction models. Simply offering an “easy AR tool” wasn’t going to cut it. Sure, everyone values intuitive affordances and efficiency—but not at the cost of power. With so much risk delving into a nascent market, nobody wants to feel boxed-in or limited by their choice of tools and approach. 

Product teams require accessible workflows with the flexibility to address complex business requirements at every step of the way—easily integrating multiple work streams and providing customizable paths into and out of the platform. 

Starting with a blank slate, and our small-but-mighty team, we set our platform roadmap to align with the most common stages of every experience and product creation workflow: design, build, and publish. 

Torch v.1: Design

Designing directly within the environment and on the device in which AR content will be experienced is a highly efficient workflow.

Torch 1 was the initial release of the Torch AR mobile app in October of 2018. This is the heart of the Torch Design Environment. We utilize AR to let someone build scenes of interactive content through the device camera. We remain steadfast in our belief that building directly within the environments and on the devices in which content will be experienced results in a highly efficient workflow. At the time, we concentrated on activating screen-based user experience and visual designers to build interactive AR prototypes. 

Torch v.2: Build

Torch 2 was released in March 2019. This update brought more powerful authoring features to the Torch AR app such as the ability to call webhook API’s and anchor content to physical images—completely on a mobile device without writing any code. We also refined the Design Environment to accommodate more complex scenes, interactions, and projects. 

These additions naturally led people to go beyond just prototyping and we began to see the early stages of people using Torch to build AR applications. At the time, the only way to share a Torch project was to record a video or add someone as an editor to the project. Our most active users started asking us about the ability to more widely share and more ways to deploy their interactive creations. This was a huge validation of our approach and, to be very honest, the demand came a little sooner than we anticipated.

Torch v.3: Publish (Early Access)

Torch 3 was released in May 2019 and introduced Viewer Links which gave designers the ability to share any project widely. Viewer Links can be activated per project and create a simple, shareable link that will open the Torch AR app in a special viewer mode. 

With our follow up Torch 3.3 release in July, we announced the next step in the Torch roadmap—the ability to move your interactive Torch AR projects into production. We received a tremendous response to the idea that anyone can build interactive AR experiences and deploy them through a variety of paths.

TL;DR Just tell me about Torch Publish!

Torch Publish completes our modern, native AR workflow by introducing the ability to export your work to a wide variety of deployment targets. Publish targets can be other platform tools (eg. Spark AR, Unity) or runtime environments (eg. SceneKit, WebAR).  Build intuitively in our visual design environment and then deploy your AR content nearly anywhere. 

Our platform integrations take care of the heavy lifting to ensure your spatial scenes, interactions, and assets are ready to run in your selected targets—whether that’s a brand new iOS or Android app, existing apps, or a Web AR product viewer for your website. Torch software developer kits (SDKs) let you develop your own, custom Publish targets to integrate any way you see fit. In many cases, you can continue to work with the content in the target environment, like ARKit or Unity (coming soon). This opens up many possibilities depending on your team and needs. 

We have updated our website with additional resources designated explicitly for experience designers and software developers. With the announcement of Torch Publish, we are also launching Torch.dev as the home for technical documentation and samples. Developers who want to start testing the Torch Publish integrations can get started there.

Contact us to start publishing

SceneKit (iOS) target are available today. Spark AR (Facebook/Instagram) is available upon request. WebAR, powered by our friends at 8thWall, will be available very soon, and a Unity integration is coming in the near future. 

To start, all Torch Publish plans are custom solutions that fit your AR integration needs now and easily grow with your spatial design practice. Ready to get started with Torch Publish? Fill out the form below for a consultation to discuss your specific needs, use cases and plan details.