Drawalong AR Turns YouTube Art Tutorials Into Augmented Tracing Paper
Google’s latest experiment brings YouTube tutorials to life using AR.
If you’ve ever watched an art tutorial on YouTube, you know the struggle of trying to follow along with an artist while simultaneously working on your own work. Constantly looking up at the screen and back down at your own creation is not only a cumbersome educational process but an ineffective one as well.
Designed by Jane Friedhoff and Google Creative Lab, Drawalong AR aims to simplify the creative process by projecting slightly-transparent AR renditions of YouTube art tutorials over your real-world sketchpad for a more comfortable, efficient educational activity.
Created in collaboration with uber-popular YouTube artist AmandaRachLee, the still-in-progress smartphone app opens up access to a variety of Amanda’s helpful videos, allowing you to place the transparent AR visuals directly over your work and view them from any angle by moving your smartphone around your physical space.
As convenient as this sounds, the process still requires the user to hold up their smartphone device over their artwork for extended periods of time. To help combat the inevitable arm fatigue, Drawalong AR features several helpful features that result in a more comfortable creative environment.
For example, the app allows you to switch between AR and a standard fullscreen video at any time, giving you time to rest during portions of the video where there isn’t any actual drawing. So say you’re watching Amanda’s latest video on calligraphy for a third or fourth time, but need to reference a certain portion.
You could, theoretically, watch most of the video in standard fullscreen and then immediately switch to AR for that specific moment. The app also allows you to control the speed of the video, both in fullscreen and AR. This way you can skip past any information you don’t find useful and jump faster into what matters to you.
The app’s developer, Jane Friedhoff, goes into detail on her motivations for creating the app in a blog post submitted to Medium:
“After I lamented about several failed holiday cards at work, a few of us started talking about this back-and-forth glancing between the video and the notepad. We wondered: what if instead of having to choose between worksheets or videos, we could use AR and see those videos on the page in front of us?”
“For newbies like me, who might have a hard time keeping track of where they are in a character or a word, worksheets really help build that muscle memory — but creators like Amanda just don’t have the time to translate their videos to paper and make worksheets for everything.”
“Further, traditional worksheets can really only communicate the width and directionality of the resulting stroke — not how to get there. We loved the idea that this could serve as a kind of living worksheet generator for any educational scenario including curves, lines, and pens.”
Drawalong AR is not officially available on Android or iOS (yet), but you can learn more about the incredible project and how you can make your own version here.