Update: This article originally published on January 6th, 2017 but as of today, April 18th, 2017, SketchAR is officially available for free on the iOS App Store. Download it today and get to drawing!
Original: Augmented reality’s potential is immense. To say that of any new technology is increasingly cliché, indeed, but every few weeks another program or piece of hardware rekindles that train of thought and we have to revisit the declaration.
This time around we have an application that doesn’t overlay our real world with entertaining or educational data as many others do, but instead provides a digital stencil for us to trace. Using your mobile device, SketchAR is going to make an artist out of you yet.
Through the application, images of varying complexity and detail are overlaid onto a flat surface, be it a sheet of paper or even a wall. It’s viable for inexperienced artists and professionals that just want to simplify the process or execute styles that aren’t a part of their repertoire. With enough direct practice with a tool like SketchAR, users may really develop an executable skill over time.
At first glance or first attempt, using the application may seem tiring because you have to use your other hand to hold the mobile device in order to see the AR stencil. This is where a well designed desktop mount would come into place or, in the future, this type of application would work well with a dedicated pair of AR glasses that can be positioned over a drawing service — but that’s a little farther out from availability.
CES 2017 has already had a couple AR devices unveiled like Lumus’ new headset with a 55-degree field of view and a HoloLamp that projects AR images, so we may even see a new device announced that better fits what the application has to offer. The simplest solution will be available when it releases on HoloLens sometime later in 2017 and you can just wear the glasses and have both hands free, but it will be available on Tango and iOS in Q1.