Tutorial: Semantic Texture Using CopyToAligned


The mocking system demonstrated in the video has been updated in ARDK 1.3. For details on mock mode changes see the additional Mock Mode video.

In order to use ARDK’s depth and semantic buffers they need to be aligned to the screen.

The most efficient way to do this is with a shader as covered in the Depth Textures and Semantics Textures tutorials.

However if you are not ready to start writing shaders and want pass the depth buffer or a particular semantic channel into an effect you have downloaded then you can use the CopyToAligned helper functions.

These functions are CPU side functions that give you a texture that is rotated and aligned to the screen. Using these functions will perform slower than using a shader, however they are more straight-forward to use than writing custom shaders.

To demonstrate this we will will get one of the semantic channels and display it in a Unity raw image.


This tutorial assumes you have a working Unity scene where you have imported the ARDK & ARDK-examples packages, and configured the project to run on a device. If you haven’t already imported the packages, in your project view:

  • Right-click the Asset folder > Import Package> Custom Package> select the ARDK package you downloaded > Import All

  • Right-click the Asset folder > Import Package> Custom Package> select the ARDK-examples package you downloaded > Import All

  • Update the build and player settings for building Android or iOS.

Please refer to the Getting Started With ARDK page for more details.

1 - Create a new Scene

Create a new folder in your Asset tree called CopyToAlignedTutorial. Create a new scene in that folder. Right-click in the folder and select Create> Scene. Name it CopyToAlignedTutorial

2 - Add the ARDK Managers

Add the following ARDK components to your scene camera:

  • AR Session Manager

  • AR Camera Position Helper

  • AR Rendering Manager

  • Semantic Segmentation Manager

Make sure that the camera is set on all of the managers.

3 - Update the camera settings

Make sure to set the camera’s background to black. Set the camera to a black background and set Culling Mask to ignore the ARDK mock world.


4 - Add in the mock scene so we can test in Unity

When we’re testing our Unity project in the Unity editor, and not on a device, we’ll use Playing in Mock Mode to simulate an environment with semantic channels.

Download the ARDK Mock Environments package from the ARDK Downloads page and import the package into your Unity project.

In the ARDK > Virtual Studio window, go to the Mock tab and select the “ParkPond” prefab from the Mock Scene dropdown. This mock environment has a skybox object set to use the “Sky” semantic channel. The prefab will automatically be instantiated in your scene when you run in the Unity editor.

5 - Create our script to catch the semantic update callback

Create a “CopyToAlignedTutorial” script in the same folder as your scene. Add the script to the camera. Pass in the Segmentation Manager to the script’s segmentation manager field.

Our CopyToAlignedTutorial script

using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using Niantic.ARDK;
using Niantic.ARDK.AR;
using Niantic.ARDK.Extensions;
using Niantic.ARDK.AR.ARSessionEventArgs;
using Niantic.ARDK.AR.Configuration;
using Niantic.ARDK.AR.Awareness;
using Niantic.ARDK.AR.Awareness.Semantics;
using UnityEngine;
using UnityEngine.UI;

public class CopyToAlignedTutorial : MonoBehaviour
    //pass in our semantic manager
    public ARSemanticSegmentationManager _semanticManager;

    void Start()
        //add a callback for catching the updated semantic buffer
        _semanticManager.SemanticBufferUpdated += OnSemanticsBufferUpdated;

    //will be called when there is a new buffer
    private void OnSemanticsBufferUpdated(ContextAwarenessStreamUpdatedArgs<ISemanticBuffer> args)


6 - Use the CopyToAligned function to copy the sky channel into an aligned texture 2d

We will also use a RawImage to display this.

public RawImage _overlayImage;
Texture2D _semanticTexture;


private void OnSemanticsBufferUpdated(ContextAwarenessStreamUpdatedArgs<ISemanticBuffer> args)
    //get the buffer that has been surfaced.
    ISemanticBuffer semanticBuffer = args.Sender.AwarenessBuffer;
    //ask for a mask of the sky channel
    int channel = semanticBuffer.GetChannelIndex("sky");

        texture: ref _semanticTexture,
        channel: channel,
        orientation: Screen.orientation

    _overlayImage.texture = _semanticTexture;

7 - Add in a RawImage to your scene and pass it to your script

Right click the hierarchy and add in a Raw Image. Set it up to cover the entire screen by selecting stretch for height and width and then zeroing out the Left, Top, Pos Z, Right, and Bottom values. Pass the RawImage to the script’s Overlay Image field.

8 - Test in editor

You should see the skybox in the mock environment now highlighted in white.