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February 7, 2018

AR stickers are now available on most Android smartphones with Motion Stills

by John_A

When Google announced the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in October, it boasted a lot of augmented reality features exclusive to the new flagships. When the company finally released AR stickers in December however, it shared the love with both Pixel and Pixel 2 devices. After a few months of exclusivity, Google is bringing AR stickers to the Android masses.

This week, Google updated its Motion Stills app to include support for AR stickers. Now, most Android users can use Motion Stills to add one of several different AR objects to their photos.

Right now, the selection of AR objects in Motion Stills is pretty sparse, so you are not going to find your favorite characters from Star Wars or Stranger Things. You’re currently limited to a globe, gingerbread person, robot, chicken, or dinosaur in Motion Stills, however, we certainly hope to see more in the future.

Adding AR stickers in Motion Stills is easy. You simply open the app, tap on AR and then select the AR object you want to insert into your picture. Once you have the object selected, tap the viewfinder to place it on a horizontal surface. You can resize or change the orientation of your 3D object by using two fingers to make adjustments.

While the addition of AR mode in Motion Stills is a nice addition for many Android users, don’t expect the experience to be as seamless as what you would find on the Pixel or Pixel 2. Once you’ve captured your image, you need to save it as either a GIF or MP4 and then manually share it with the Google Photos app.

While Google was able to create its Google-branded devices with AR in mind, it had to take a different approach to make the AR mode in Motion Stills work on the majority of Android devices. Google refined the instant motion-tracking technology it uses to power both the Motion Text feature in the iOS version of Motion Stills as well as the privacy blur feature on YouTube to create a six degree of freedom tracking system that uses the built-in gyroscope on Android devices to properly place 3D objects.

If you want to try out AR mode, you need to update to the newest version of Motion Stills in the Google Play Store. If you don’t have the app installed on your phone, make sure you’re running Android 5.1 or later. You also want to make sure your device has a gyroscope. Not to worry, however, as most newer phones should easily meet the minimum requirements.

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