Getting Started

Before you begin... understand the app

With Wall Gallery Designer you design galleries of framed pictures in the environment where the pictures are to be displayed.

Each gallery contains one or more scene. Each scene contains walls with framed pictues. Framed pictures, walls and scenes can be copied between galleries and scenes allowing rapid creation of new designs and reuse of previous ones. Because your design is done on virtual walls, scenes can be quickly reused other locations and are not limited to the original location.

Before you begin... understand augmented reality

It's almost like magic, the way augmented reality integrates computer imagery with the camera's view of the scene in realtime so that imagery and scene move together as one. Of course it's not magic, but it's still amazing. Your device is analyzing the video stream coming from the camera and discovering the 3D structure in that video stream. Simultaneously, it's also creating the 3D graphics imagery and merging that virtual world into the real world video stream.

Your device can do almost all of this on its own, except it needs your help to tie the virtual 3D graphics world to the camera video stream world. In Wall Gallery Designer, you provide that help when you locate the floor and a place where the floor joins a wall.

Starting the app

When you start the app for the first time, it will ask for permission to use the camera that is required for augmented reality. It will also ask to use location services. When you build a gallery in augmented reality, you do so faceing in a particular direction. For example, if you are designing a gallery on the north wall, you are facing north. When the gallery scene is saved, its position is saved relative to the camera. With location services enabled, the orientation relative to the camera is saved so that if you return to the same position but open the gallery scene while the camera points south, the north gallery wall will be behind the camera.

As the app starts up, it must find a horizontal surface on which the walls will be placed. The height of framed pictures on wall is measured from this horizontal surface which is usually the floor. Table tops, counters and shelves are alternatives to the floor. Wall Gallery Designer will report the position of framed pictures above the chosen horizontal surface. You will go through this same locate floor-wall join process when you create new galleries and scenes or when you restart the app with location services turned off.

Find the floor

To find the floor, hold your iPhone or iPad angled towards the floor one to two feet above it and shift it left and right as you also move it steadily toward the wall. Moving horizontally left and right gives the device the left and right views it uses to gauge distances. Jerky or fast motion creates blurred images and poor distance estimates.

You move the device left and right by horizontally rocking your body to the left and then to the right. Alternatively, you may smoothly translating the device to the left and right with your arms. Twisting your body left and right rotates the camera which is not as effective at providing the parallax needed for distance measurement. With horizontal rocking it is easier to view the screen because your head and device move together.

A gray rectangle should appear. If location services are on, a compass will appear on the gray rectangle. The arrow points to true north.

Augmented reality thrives on light. It definitely works best in a brightly lit area.

If a gray rectangle doesn't appear within 10 seconds, tap the circular Restart button in the top right hand corner. A yellow rectangular sight appears in the center of the display device once the floor is recognized.

Aim at the floor-wall join

After the floor is found, a yellow sight appears at the center of the screen. Move the camera so that the sight is over a gray rectangle on the floor and the yellow sight flashes green to show that it is ready. Next, point the camera so the sight center is at the floor and wall join and tap once.

In a new scene, a green mesh appears that shows the virtual wall. When continuing work from a previous session, the most recently used scene reappers. The scene is oriented perpendicular to the line between camera's floor location and sight's position. In the lower left corner, , and buttons show that you are in the managing galleries mode.

Drag and rotate the scene until the bottom edge of a green screen or wall lies along the floor and wall join. You drag or rotate an entire scene using touches that are outside any wall. The scene rotates around the orange sphere. A three-finger tap moves the orange sphere to the center of all selected walls.

The distance reported in the bottom center of a wall is the distance in feet as measured on the floor from the camera to the bottom center of the wall. If the distance is wrong, tap the circular Restart button in the upper right and re-acquire the 3D information.

An aside: The Hitchhiker's advice

"A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have," says the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It can be equally useful for augmented reality adventurers. Floors are often very smooth and dark. Augmented reality uses parallax to find distances and smooth, dark surfaces provide neither the structure nor the light for it to work well. A textured white terry cloth hand towel dropped in front of your feet can dramatically decrease floor discovery time.

Freeze reality now? Really???

Surprisingly, at this point you should probably tap the button in the upper righthand corner, to pause augmented reality. This is especially true if you are a new user of the app. Pausing takes a 3D snapshot of the current real world view and "freezes" that reality so that the real scene no longer changes as you move your device, but you still have full freedom to manipulate the walls and framed pictures that augment the real scene.

With "reality frozen", you no longer have to hold your device up towards the wall. Instead you can sit in a comfortable chair at a desk and design the gallery scene as though you were still at the place where you froze reality. When you are ready to view the scene again, return to the location where the scene was frozen, tap the circular Restart button in the top right hand corner and repeat the steps for placing the wall at the floor and wall join. Incidentally, you've seen this kind of effect in movies and TV shows where time is stopped while the protagonist moves through the scene.

Virtual walls

Each gallery scene in Wall Gallery Designer hangs framed pictures on one or more virtual walls. This means that each gallery scene can be reused in different locations with minimal effort. Layouts from one gallery or gallery scene can be easily copied into a new gallery scene where only the walls may need to be moved to match the new scene.

Managing galleries vs changing framed pictures

When the wall appears, , and buttons appear in the lower left corner to show that you are in the managing galleries mode. When these buttons appear, you can manage galleries (), scenes () and walls (). In this mode, you can also move or alter walls, but you cannot move or alter frames.

Touch one of these buttons and a menu pops up with action items. menu actions apply to selected walls.

When managing galleries, any wall that is not colored (i.e. its color is "none") is shown as a wire mesh. If the mesh is green, the wall is selected. If the mesh is red, the wall is not selected.

You select a wall with a one-finger tap. The selected wall does not change, but all other walls are deselected and they change to display a red wire mesh.

You add a wall to a selection with a two-finger tap. Tap the background to select all walls.

A one-finger drag moves selected walls.

A two-finger rotate gesture rotates selected walls around the center of the selected walls.

When all walls in the scene are selected, the two-finger rotate gesture rotates the scene about a center marked with an orange sphere. You can control where the orange sphere is located with a three-finger long press. A three-finger long-touch moves the orange sphere to the center of the selected walls. If you wish to rotate around a single wall, tap that wall to select it, then rest three-fingers on the display until the orange sphere jumps to the bottom center of the selected wall.

Depending on the direction of the pinch, a two-finger pinch changes either the width or height of selected walls. You can also change the width with the Width item on the menu.

Changing framed pictures

Double-tap the display to switch from managing galleries (, and ) to manipulating frames mode. A row of buttons appears along the bottom for choosing pictures, frame size, frame face, frame color, mat window size, mat color and sharing.

Buttons act on selected frames. One-finger tap a frame to select it. Two-finger tap a frame to extend the selection.

To position a frame, simply one-finger drag it. As you drag, the wall switches to a wire mesh to help you position the frame relative to other frames.

You reposition the entire scene with a one-finger drag on the background. This is convenient when you need to examine a detail up close. Simply pull the scene toward you, examine the detail, then push it back into place. Since the scene moves as a whole, you don't have to worry about accidentally repositioning some of the walls as you would when managing galleries.

Just as you can drag the whole scene, you can rotate it with a two-finger rotate gesture on the background. The rotation is around the center defined by the orange sphere as it appears when managing galleries.

You add a new frame to a wall with the button. When more than one wall is present, you are asked to pick a wall for the new frame.

Double-tap switches modes

A double-tap switches between managing galleries and manipulating frames modes.

Double-tap also dismisses color pickers.

Selection matters

With the bottom button row displayed, tap on a frame and you select it and all the other frames are dimmed. Tap outside any frame and you select all frames.

Selection matters because buttons, rotation and dragging affect selected frames.

Two-finger tap extends selection

When you want to select a single framed picture, tap with one finger. When you want to select more than one, tap additional frames with two fingers at the same time. A two-finger tap is different from tapping twice with one finger.

Flip horizontal and vertical orientation with rotation gesture

Flip between horizontal and vertical frame orientations with the two-finger rotate gesture. For example, place your thumb and fore finger on a framed picture and move them in a clockwise or anti-clockwise rotation. All selected frames flip and mat window sizes change once the gesture ends and the rotation is greater than 30 degrees.

Undo, Undo, Undo...

Don't panic. Wall Gallery Designer has a many level deep undo capability. If you suddenly realize that you had all the frames selected when you picked a new picture or changed a frame color, don't panic. Simply undo the goof.

The Undo button is the counter-clockwise pointing arrow on the right side of the screen. The redo button is the clockwise pointing arrow above the button. Undo is backwards in time, redo is forward in time.

Menus scroll

When menus contain too many items to fit on a screen, the menu list can be scrolled to see the rest of the items.

Tap the question mark in Wall Gallery Designer to open pages of help.

The button adds a copy of a selected frame to the wall.

Delete selected frames

Created too many frames? To delete selected frames, tap the Meshing gears button in the lower right corner of the screen. A menu pops up containing a Delete item. Tap Delete and the framed pictures will be removed. Delete is undoable, of course.

Managing galleries mode menus allow you to clear walls and scenes at once.

Save your framed picture design

Once you have a framed arrangement you like, press the Share sheet button in the lower right hand corner. Your screen will flash as it captures your scene. Choose where you want to save your scene. Sharing to the Notes or Mail apps adds a report to the capture image.

After you've saved a scence, try some variations by changing the current scene or by creating new scenes. Later on, refer to your reports saved to Notes when you work with clients or shop for frames and mats in a store or online.

Back it up with Gallery and Scene archives

An archive is a Wall Gallery Designer data package that can be saved to the Files app or shared to Notes, Mail and Messages. To create a backup, tap the Archive item on the or menu. When you create the archive, you place it in a location using the share sheet. This means that you can send the archive to someone via mail or messages or add it to the Notes app. You can also choose to save the archive with the Files app in any location accessible to the Files app such as iCloud. If you share the archive with someone else who has Wall Gallery Designer they will be able to restore the archive on their devices.

Restore any archive later with the Restore archive item on the menu. Each archive includes copies of any framed photos in that Gallery or Scene.

Once a project is complete, archive its gallery or scene and then delete that gallery or scene to keep only active projects in the app.

Besides backups, you use archives to share a scene or gallery with other app users or with support. You also use archives to transfer scenes and galleries to your other iPhones and iPads with the Files app via iCloud.

Make a template Gallery

From the menu, choose New gallery and name it Templates. Switch to a different gallery and layout frames in a design. Copy that design to a scene in the Templates gallery with Copy scene to gallery... on the menu. If you have photos in the design, switch to the copied scene in the Templates gallery, while all frames are selected and tap the (•••) button. Then tap Remove photo. Afterwards, the scene contains frames without pictures. Later you quick start a new project by copying a template scene to the project gallery with Copy scene to gallery... on the menu.

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