Basic Placement Tutorial

This tutorial uses the ready made mangers from ARDK to create a simple example that lets you place objects on the floor or wall.

ARDK provides a number of managers that encapsulate the start up and configuration of features. This example uses the Placement Manager and a few other helpers.

For this to work you need to have imported the ARDK examples package (at least the common section)


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

  • In the Scenes section of the Project view, create a folder (right-click Create > Folder) and call it "placement"
  • In that folder create a new scene (right-click Create > Scene) and call it "PlacementTutorial"

2 - Set up the Camera

  • Add the ARCameraPositionHelper component to the camera
  • Add the ARRenderingManager to the camera
  • In the components you just added, set the Camera variable to the Main Camera
  • Change the camera's background to a solid color and make it black
  • Make sure that the camera is set on all of the Position helper and rendering manager.

3 - Add a session manager

The Session Manager will take care of setting up our AR session.

  • Add an empty game object to your scene and call it Session Manager.
  • Add the Session Manager script component to your session manager. Click on Add Component and search for ARSessionManager.

Quite often you will see scenes with a session manager as the parent of the camera in the scene. The relationship is not required, and you are free to set your scene hierarchy up however you want.

4 - Add in the Plane Manager so we can place objects

Add the AR Plane Manager script component to the Session Manager. Click on Add Component and search for ARPlaneManager.

This manager contains all the logic needed to store and track AR objects in the scene. This manager also provides the following functionality:

  • This manager enables plane-based placement.
  • It contains a dictionary to store the locations of items placed in the AR space
  • It adds hooks for the On Anchor Placed/Updated events to manage and update item placement, keeping them pinned to the world. In short it catches all placement events and makes sure things stay where they are by updating object transforms as the world updates.

Once you are more familiar with ARDK you can start to look at how ARPlaneManager does these things, but for now we will just use it as is.

4a - Set up camera permissions for Android

If you’re developing for Android, add the Android Permissions helper to your Session Manager. Set Size to 1, and make sure Camera is in the drop down. This ensures the app asks the user for permission to use the camera at run-time.

5 - Add the AR Cursor Renderer Script as a component to the Session Manager Object

Click Add Component and search for AR Cursor Renderer. Note that this component is in the ARDK-Examples package.

This component adds & updates a small cube on the ground that is positioned in a straight line out from the camera. To do this, it hooks into the ARSession start up and adds a callback to its onFrameUpdate function. Every frame it performs a hit test against the ARFrame using a line projected out of the camera's forward vector. If it detects a hit, it will move a small cube to the hit location.

Make sure you set the Camera field on AR Cursor Renderer to the scene camera

Select an object to be the 3d cursor. Click in Cursor Object and then select the assets tab and search for small cube.

Note: If searching for a component/script fails you can manually drag the script onto the object or try saving and restarting Unity as it may not have updated its search DB when the examples package was imported

6 - Add the AR Hit Tester as a component to the Session Manager object

This script will process user screen touches and place a prefab at that location on the plane.

This hooks into the session initialized event and then stores a reference to the ARSession.

In its update loop it checks for a touch event. If that happens it does a hit test at that 2d point to see if there is an intersection with the current AR frame. If so it will place a prefab into the scene at that location.

You can use any prefab you like. For this tutorial we have just used a cube but you could place a character etc.

Make sure you set the Camera field to the scene camera

Note: the placement code may result in a floating object as it assumes a unit cube. Once you are more familiar with ARDK you can come back and swap this part of the code with the code for the hit test in the Cursor Renderer Script.

7 - Run in the Unity editor

At this point if you run the project in the editor there is nothing to see beyond just a sky dome.

In the next step we’ll set up our mocking system so that we have some editor geometry to test with before moving to building and running on a phone.

8 - Set up the mocking system

From the ARDK-examples package we can add in a sample environment. Search for MockupScene and drag that into your hierarchy

We then need to add a new ARDK_MockWorld render layer for the mocking to work. This layer is hidden when running on device so that it only shows up in editor for testing.

Add in the mockup scene

Add the ARDK_MockWorld Layer if it is not already there.

9 - Run in the Unity editor with the mock scene

We now see our scene with an overlaid effect for the planes that we can place objects on.

If we click on any surface our game object will be placed there.

10 - Run on your device

For iOS:

  • File > Build & Run. This will build and then launch XCode with a iOS project for your Unity app.
  • In XCode, build and run on your device.

For more details on building and running on iOS, see: Building for iOS

For Android:

  • File > Build & Run. This will start the app on your connected Android device.

If your screen is blank, some phones require setting Blit Type to Auto. In File > Build Settings, click Player Settings and under Resolution and Presentation set Blit Type to Auto.

For more details on building and running on Android, see: Building for Android

11 - Troubleshooting black screen or other issues

  1. Check that you have followed the basic setup guide, this covers application signing and permissions which are the most likely issues.
  2. If the application is crashing or not working as expected (no camera output) check that you have actually set all of the variables like Camera and Prefab on your game object.
  3. If you are still struggling to get it working, try downloading the ARDK-GettingStarted project from the website as this will have all of the project settings added in correctly for you. You can then just focus on adding components.
  4. This tutorial uses some of the components in the ARDK-Examples package so make sure to import that too.