Setting the World Anchor

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Before you can do any design work in a Torch AR project, you must set a World Anchor. The World Anchor is the reference point for the entire project: every object in every scene of a project is placed relative to the World Anchor. This step is, in fact, required for most AR experiences that use ARKit (Apple) or ARCore (Google).

Detecting Surfaces

Before you can set the World Anchor, the device camera needs to scan the environment to detect surfaces. Thus, when you open any Torch project (new or existing), you are immediately prompted to scan the environment.

Animated gif of the Torch interface demonstrating searching for a surface on which to place the World Anchor

To help Torch find the available surfaces:

  1. Be sure area is well-lit. The camera may have difficulty finding anything in a dark room or environment.
  2. Point the camera to various flat, horizontal surfaces in the environment. As you move around, a grid of colored dots appear to indicate a surface is available for use. The more areas you point to, the more surfaces may be detected, each indicated by different colors of dots. For example, the floor is designated with blue dots, the desktop with orange dots, and the windowsill with green dots. The size of the dots indicates their proximity to the camera—the larger the dots, the closer the surface.
  3. Note: Because a virtual surface can extend beyond the end of the real-world surface, as more surfaces are detected, you may notice the different colors overlap, but the dots remain relative in size no matter where you position the camera.

    Screen shot of the Torch interface showing multiple surfaces detected, indicated by a series of dots in different colors depending on the surface

  4. After Torch has detected at least one the surface, the World Anchor appears. The anchor resembles a white tear drop with a + in the middle.
  5. Continue to the next section, Adjusting the World Anchor Position and Orientation, to set the anchor.

Note: If you start a new project in the same environment that you’ve already worked in, the same surfaces are automatically detected. This feature may or may not be helpful to you on a new project, especially if several surfaces were detected.

Adjusting the World Anchor Position and Orientation

You can place the anchor anywhere on any of the detected surfaces, but first you want to ensure it is properly oriented for your project. If your project is not designed to be viewed in a specific or precise location, however, then the location of the World Anchor is entirely up to you when you set it.

When you are first setting your World Anchor, Torch snaps the anchor point to the nearest detected plane your device is facing. Notice that the World Anchor changes in size in relation to the surface you’re pointing to: If you point to the floor, the indicator will be smaller (further away); if you point to the desktop, it will appear larger (closer). This is very helpful when placing virtual objects in specific real-world locations, such as on a windowsill a few inches above the desktop, or when you are using virtual text to annotate a real-world object.

To “drop anchor” in a specific location:

  1. Position the anchor by moving your device or by dragging the anchor with a single finger on the horizontal plane (defined by the X and Z axes). If you’re struggling with too many overlapping surfaces, try moving to an area where only the surface you want is highlighted.
  2. A screen shot of the Torch interface showing the X,Y,Z coordinate space relative to the World Anchor

  3. By default, the orientation of the anchor is the same as the direction that the camera is facing. To change the anchor orientation (and thus the orientation of any objects in the scene), use a two-finger twist gesture to rotate the anchor.
  4. When you have the World Anchor located and oriented the way that you want it, tap anywhere on screen to set the anchor. The World Anchor turns blue, Torch opens the project in Design mode, and the Asset Drawer opens, ready for you to begin working.

Tip: You might not finish your work in one sitting, but don’t worry–as long as you consistently place the World Anchor in the same place during each work session, the objects will appear in the same location as you have placed them. You might find it helpful to use real-world reference points, such as a small piece of tape, to ensure consistent placement of the World Anchor over several sessions. (“X marks the spot," as they say.)

A screen shot of the Torch interface showing a large blue X on the floor

Screen shot of the Torch interface, showing the World Anchor placed on top of the blue X from the previous image

Resetting the World Anchor

You can reset the World Anchor at any time using one of these two methods:

  • Tap your avatar to open My Torch Menu, and then tap Reset World Anchor.
  • In Design mode, tap the Project Settings icon, and then tap Reset World Anchor.

    Animated gif of the Torch interface demonstrating resetting the World Anchor using the Project Settings button

  • In Design mode, long-press on the World Anchor.
  • Animated gif of the Torch interface demonstrating resetting the World Anchor by long-pressing on the anchor and dragging it to a new location

Then repeat the instructions in the previous sections to reset the anchor in a new position. Remember that if you change the orientation of the World Anchor, the orientation of all the objects already placed in the scene change accordingly.

World Anchor Tips and Troubleshooting

Having some trouble setting the World Anchor? Try these tips for best results:

  • Be sure the room is well-lit so that the camera has enough light to detect surfaces.
  • Try raising the device higher to give the camera a broader view and more light.
  • If you’re using a phone, turn on your device’s flashlight to brighten the area a bit.
  • If you’re still struggling, contact Torch Support for help.

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