SketchAR: Converging Disruptive Technologies and Art to Pioneer AR-Powered Drawing

Andrey Drobitko

Augmented reality and artificial intelligence are certainly quite distinct technologies, but their merger brings unique experiences in the world. In AR, a 3D representation of the world is built enabling digital objects to exist alongside physical ones. Through the boon of AR, a number of applications have come into the light of mainstream market. The technology may sound futuristic but it can be simply employed. A number of companies have even created AR toolkits to make it more accessible and developed.

Emerging from the lap of augmented reality possibilities, a mobile app, SketchAR has made a remarkable place in the market. The app is used to teach drawing using AI-powered AR. It is a full-fledged tool to teach drawing while employing machine learning, and neural networks as well.

SketchAR is an application through which the user sees a virtual image on the surface of which they are planning to trace a sketch. In one hand, the user holds a phone and sees a virtual image, while the other hand traces virtual lines already on the paper. The application uses technology based on computer vision that allows users to scan the environment and fix the virtual image over a real surface. SketchAR is useful to all those who have always wanted, but could not draw. Also, the app is helpful for professional artists, as a simple and convenient way to trace sketches to the desired surface.


Rise of An Artistic Chapter

The Founder of SketchAR Andrey Drobitko and Co-Founder Alexander Danilin first met in 2006. The year 2011 saw the creation of their first company – a mobile technology for publishers. Publishing houses including Burda UK, Hearst Shkulev, Buro24/7, and used the technology. Moreover, one of the affiliated products was awarded ‘Best of 2015-AppStore.’by

After a few years, custom news apps started to lose the battle to social network feeds. The business model based on revenue-share from advertising started to be ineffective.

At the same time, working artist Andrey was dreaming about an old idea from 2012 – an AR-app designed to make the process of drawing easier. Both the founder’s background and experience in tech and art enabled a new chapter to emerge – SketchAR.

SketchAR’s team consists of very talented passionate researchers, engineers, designers, and artists and they know how to combine technology and science with art, and how to create new opportunities for people.


A Framework of Aspiration

The initial idea was as a tool for professional artists, but earlier through research, the team discovered that for those looking to get new life skills ‘learn to draw’ is one of the most frequent search queries. It compared ‘learned to draw/sing, dance, and even fight’. The company is going to build the most powerful assistant for creativity powered by AI. SketchAR already uses machine learning and neural networks to analyze everything that a smartphone camera sees on paper, to give users very personalized advice for drawing.


 A Distinguished Leader

Andrey Drobitko, the Founder and CEO of the company is a very passionate and influential person, immersive technology expert, and designer. He is a multidisciplinary artist and has been included in top 15 mural artists in Russia. Also, Andrey is the member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) and International Federation of Artists (UNESCO).


Offering Hope to Artists Through AR

According to Andrey, the main problem for artists, and especially for people generally when starting drawing is ‘the fear of a white canvas’. With augmented reality, one can make the first step easier. In this way, the company offers hope to people.

The second thing is the technology SketchAR created for the product, which will be used not only for SketchAR but computer vision industry as a whole called Markerless CV-tracking where one doesn’t need any markers to place a virtual sketch/object onto a read surface.

Moreover, the company offers a brand-new effective way to promote products using augmented reality. For example, SketchAR extended this experience when cooperating with Universal Pictures at the new Grinch movie premiere in Paris. A lot of kids and parents tried drawing their favorite characters on a wall using SketchAR. The company offers a complex integration of brands into the app to bring a totally new experience to brands’ customers.


Leveraging AI for Personalised Touch

SketchAR builds the most powerful assistant for creativity powered by AI. It already uses machine learning and neural networks to analyze different types of objects including paper, hands, surfaces, etc. (which smartphone camera can see) to give users intensely personalized advice to enhance their drawing skills.


Innovation that Attracts Business

As previously mentioned, SketchAR product is attractive from two sides: as a clear and useful use-case for customers of how to use AR daily, and the most powerful computer vision solution on the market to detect flat surfaces by the smartphone camera – Markerless Tracking. These two factors are the key point of interest from companies like Huawei, Samsung, Universal Pictures with whom SketchAR has already partnered with. They are eager to bring new products and tools to their customers, simultaneously promote the company worldwide.


Recognition Across the Industry

SketchAR was awarded as ‘The Best Use of Augmented Reality in 2018 by Webby Awards – ‘Oscar’ for digital products, listed as one of the best AI-companies in Eastern and as the Best AR-app by WIRED, TechRadar, DigitalTrends, Product Hunt, and many more.

But according to Andrey, the best ‘award’ for the company is the loyalty of its customers, and how many exciting artworks they make using SketchAR and augmented reality.

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