Augmented Reality tools - Feb 2020

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Here's a list of tools for creating augmented reality.

(Last updated Feb 2021)

Spark AR:

Spark AR is Facebook's AR toolset. It allows you to create filters for Facebook and Instagram. It includes a visual coding interface which makes it possible to create complex interactive effects. It's mostly geared towards creating filters that augment the face, you can also use image markers and place 3d models on flat surfaces. The pros are: it's easy to use, simple to test on a mobile device, has a desktop stand-alone mode, and easy to distribute to a vast userbase. The cons are: very strict file size limitations (4mb for Instagram), strict content moderation, and you're stuck inside the Facebook ecosystem.

Snap Lens Studio:

Similar to Spark AR but for the Snapchat ecosystem. One unique feature here is that you can use filters created in Lens Studio as virutal webcam effects so that you can have AR face masks in your Teams or Zoom meetings.

Adobe Aero:

Create AR effects using your mobile phone or a desktop app. Integrates with other Adobe products. Sadly, iOS only at the moment.

Reality Composer:

Apple's Reality Composer is a powerful tool that makes it easy for you to create interactive augmented reality experiences with no prior 3D experience. iOS only of course.

Unity Mars

An expensive subscription-only addon for Unity that supposedly makes it easy to develop and test AR experiences.


Easy to use addon for Unity, especially easy for image based tracking. Has free developer account, but does cost money if you want to publish to the App store.

AR Foundatation

Unity's toolkit for creating AR experiences that work on both iOS and Android. Bad documentation and difficult for non-developers, but hey this one is FREE for once.

Some decent tutorials in this Youtube playlist:

iOS and Android native SDKs for creating AR. For developers only, although many of the other platforms here leverage capabilities from ARKIT and ARCORE. FREE.


A SDK with a Unity addon similar to Vuforia, with slightly different features. Does have the benefit of a free personal non-commercial edition.


Another expensive AR SDK. Too expensive for me and too expensive for you.


Both relatively simple ways of augmenting an image with a video or GIF.

Web AR