The ability to draw well is one of the most coveted skills in architecture. Unfortunately for those without an innate gift for sketching, it’s also one of the most difficult to learn—even if it can, contrary to popular opinion, be learned with commitment and practice. But for those poor souls without such talents, there is now a fix: an app called SketchAR.
Available for iPhone and Android devices that incorporate Google’s Tango technology, SketchAR can take photographs or other images, convert them into sketchable line drawings, and then use augmented reality to overlay them onto real-world surfaces.
With iPhone, the app allows users to trace images onto A4 paper, locating the drawing using 5 circles the user draws on to the border of the paper. However, the real magic comes with Google Tango-enabled devices, which use Tango’s various positioning techniques to work on any flat surface, even entire walls. Using this augmented-reality overlay, users see exactly where to take their pencil, pen, or aerosol can to replicate the image, like using trace paper.
The app is a great tool for anyone looking to improve their drawing skills or to simply produce a one-off sketch that would normally be beyond their capabilities, while the Android version is also a perfect tool for creating murals. But the people behind the app aren’t happy with just this: there’s talk of versions for Microsoft Hololens and Google Glass in the works.