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Augmented Reality: Basic Tutorial

Aurasma is a free AR application for smartphones.


In this tutorial, you will learn how to setup an Aurasma account and build a basic augmentation using the platform, including: 

  • Account Setup.
  • Create an Aura (Trigger + Overlay).
  • Trigger Image Tips.
  • Overlay Specifications.

For a basic introduction to using Aurasma, check out our Youtube video series:

Account Setup

To begin, set up an Aurasma account on Aurasma Studio. This tutorial will walk you through account setup.

Aurasma Studio will allow you to create Auras from a mobile phone or computer. 


Overlays are the digital content which are launched when the trigger image is scanned in the application. An Aura can have up to 50 overlays. You can trigger many different types of overlays, including static and 3D images, videos, websites, and more.

Whatever asset you've made for an overlay, you'll need to upload it to Aurasma Studio to link the asset with the Trigger Image to create an Aura. 

3D Overlay Specifications

Video Overlay Specifications

Aurasma Templates

Aurasma's templates are an excellent way to practice making your first Aura.

Create an Aura

Once you have an Aurasma account and are logged in, you can easily create your first Aura: 

1) From your account homepage, select "Create a New Aura" in the top right corner of the screen.

2) Upload and Define the Trigger Image.

3) Use Masking to strengthen your trigger (optional). 

4) Define the Overlay.

5) Publish your Aura for other users.

Check out Aurasma's Aura Walkthrough.

Trigger Images

Trigger images are visual objects which prompt an overlay. They are either JPEG or PNG files (less than 500,000 pixels). They function like visual hyperlinks, triggering a digital command.

A good trigger image is easily detectable. Ideally, it should be recognizable even before the camera has finished focusing. Images should be flat, 3D objects with distinguished shapes, variations, and contrasts. Detail and unique shapes will make it easier for the camera to detect your image.

A poor trigger image will not be easily detected. Using an image with few details or too sparse of a design will make the image difficult to read. Likewise, lack of tonal variation or recurring patterns or blocks of text will not be easily detected. Gradients will not render before the camera has fully focused, and therefore they will be difficult to detect.

More Information on Trigger Images.

Smooth Trigger Tracking

While the initial triggering is an important consideration, tracking (sustaining the image trigger) also requires some considerations. While a good trigger image will likely track well, some aspects of the image will only impact tracking. 

Masking and Training Trigger Images

Through the processes of masking and training, you can make your trigger images more efficient and useful triggers for your Aura.

Masking allows Aurasma to cut parts of an image which are potential confusing or problematic. Masking allows Aurasma to ignore these parts of an image by selecting or shading out. This way, the viewfinder can more easily recognize the image.

Training a Trigger Image will help identify potentially ineffective images or those that will fail to be recognized by the app. When you upload a single trigger image, Aurasma automatically trains the image for you, but if you are using the Bulk Add option, you must selclect the train option or manually train each added image upon successful upload.

More about masking and training trigger images

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