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Auto Draw from Google

You say you can’t draw? But you’d love to create little works of art for your blog or on an email – maybe for an invitation or school bulletin.

Or maybe you just don’t have time and need something creative – quick!

As usual, Google has an answer. (Which should perhaps be its tag line: Google Has An Answer.)

Auto Draw is yet another experiment in Google Labs, this time with a little app called AUTO DRAW.

It uses the predictive power of shapes to correct your sloppy sketch and turn it into something more like what you had in mind when you started to draw that apple.

My mouse drawn apple.

This one is as I shakily drew it using a mouse – you know how painful that can be!

Then Auto Draw worked its magic. It served me up a menu of items that my dreadful apple might have been: an apple, a pear, a pear with a bite taken out of it – now it started to get a little out there: a mouse (real and digital), a foot, a greenhouse (a greenhouse?) Evidently the algorithm with take liberties with what you might have intended.

But essentially Auto Draw is an experiment in Artificial Intelligence: a body of information and predictions based upon activity and input that results in a likely outcome. In this case, shapes.

The app will work with a computer, a stylus, a touchscreen, a tablet, or your phone.

Once you’ve found the item you were hoping to create, you can then select colors for fill or line, freehand additional features, add captions, or keep adding items to your masterpiece until you’re satisfied.

Now, granted, the drawings are relatively cartoonlike – but if you’re not an artist at all, this can be a quick and easy solution; if you are an artist, you’ll no doubt be able to experiment and find ways to manage the tool artistically, or use output from it as a foundation for your project.

Either way, it’s fun to explore. You can try it out at autodraw.com, or get the app for your phone.

My finished apple.

Oh yes – here’s my finished apple. A little better, don’t you think?

Tip o’ the hat to Rob.

Nancy Roberts
Writer, voice over artist, information achitect, very curious person.