Tag Digital Graffiti In The Real World With Google’s Just A Line

Google has released an experimental app called Just a Line that lets anyone draw room-sized 3D graffiti in augmented reality–with their finger and an Android smartphone.

When it works–which I’d say is about 85{9e43a307b18de448c72b0fa507f7c01348fc6bbc7702412d79277b0ebdc5b8ae} of the time–Just a Line is pretty extraordinary. You literally hold your phone in the air, and you can doodle on your screen, drawing quick sketches with finger swipes. As you move your phone, you see that your drawing is floating in midair. In the context of real space, it’s not really a drawing anymore, but a sculpture that hovers in defiance of gravity.

“It’s one of those things where it’s instantly rewarding, but at the same time slightly frustrating, because you see the potential of it,” says Shantell Martin, an artist who Google sponsored to try out the app in its early development. “It means you can now see all the other places this can take you, but that sometimes takes time, or [overcoming] the learning curve to understand it, and for us to unearth what we can do with it.”

Martin’s own sketches are warehouse-sized train-of-thought doodles. They’re like a choreographed ballet of line, dancing through space. But Martin is a professional artist, and her specialty is exactly this loose aesthetic for which Just A Line is tailored. Once you can draw in midair, the initial magic quickly gives way to our wholly unrealistic consumer expectations. Sometimes a drawing will float from its anchor, or not capture your movements perfectly. And at that moment, you forget that Google’s ARCore technology has mapped the planes of your room to literally let you use your phone to draw in midair.

Jonas Jongejan, the Google creative technologist who led the development of Just a Line, clarified “This is not a product,”“It’s an experiment.” He coded Just a Line as a quick proof-of-concept. It runs completely on the phone, and unlike the data collection of Quick, Draw!, it shares no information with Google.

Indeed, Just a Line is a great novelty, but its real promise is that the code can be plugged into any developer’s software to riff and expand upon. Sketching is something we all want to do in AR, and Google has taken the first few steps to allow its developers to build it into their own apps as a turnkey feature.

AR sketching has the potential to be something more, a tool not just for living room graffiti, but a disruptor on a much larger scale.

Via: fastcodesign


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