For some people drawing comes naturally. But, if you’re anything like me, your stick figures look like misshapen horrors for whom death would surely be a relief. Enter Sketch AR: the AI-powered app that aims to make you a better artist regardless of your current skill.
The idea is pretty simple: you draw a few plus-signs on a piece of paper, wall, or sleeping friend’s face and then point your smartphone’s camera at it.
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From there you can cycle through point-by-point lessons that help you learn to associate free space with the next layer of a drawing. It’s quite intuitive and the overlay makes it feel like drawing on tracing paper, but with augmented reality instead.
To accomplish this, the developers had to figure out how to overcome various problems. For example, when a person is drawing, often their hand gets in the way of the camera. Furthermore, not every surface or “canvas” is the same.
According to a blog post from the developers:
An algorithm teaches the camera to distinguish between everything it sees. For instance, the background is separated from the hand, the hand from its shadow, etc.
The app’s recent updates, aside from more robust machine learning, include “Sketch AR School,” a robust tutorial approach that features several drawings for users to try their hand at.