With a new update to Amazon Sumerian, developers can now not only create more realistic 3D content, but also create easier AR experiences.
This week, Amazon has announced that its AR and VR development platform is now available to support physical-based rendering (PBR), a method of shading 3D content that takes into account the physical characteristics of the content, e.g. Whether an object is made of metal or non-metal to allow proper reproduction of the light reflection of the object.  Sumerian's PBR support extends to two types of materials: metalness and specular, which covers reflective and glossy surfaces. With each type, developers can set colors and control texture properties.
Amazon also provides a library of PBR files containing 11 materials, including brick and metal, and 10 indoor and outdoor HDRI lighting scenes (High Dynamic Range Imaging). Alternatively, developers can import their own HDR assets (Environment Lighting) with files up to 20MB.
On the user-friendly side of the platform, Amazon Sumerian gets a new feature called Product Configurator Templates. The templates allow users to create product models with configuration options that allow customers to view different versions of the product.
The product configurator available in the template area of the Sumerian Editor contains options for various material surfaces such as rubber, metal and wood with a realistic appearance.
Amazon has positioned Sumerian as an AR and VR platform that does not require coding experience. However, the company is not the only one trying to popularize such tools. Currently, Sumerian is in a fairly crowded market. Zappar, WiARframe, Verizons Envrmnt, and Torch provide similar platforms for easy-to-use AR experiences. Profile of recent AR experiences, including activations for Sony Pictures and MillerCoors.
However, the competition for the attention of mobile ARs developers is becoming even more intense as Apple releases its Reality Composer on iOS this fall.