Google has teamed up with artists for its latest AI creation, AutoDraw, a free tool that guesses what you’re trying to doodle and helps you finish the job in style.
Not everyone’s gifted at drawing and it’s even more difficult when trying from a touchpad or small touchscreen. Apple’s iMessage Digital Touch drawing tool is fun to use — especially if you’re messaging kids who can’t read yet — but for those of us with only basic doodling skills, the results can be dubious.
Google’s AI-powered AutoDraw promises to fix this, helping you quickly create simple visuals that will be at least recognizable and possibly even worth sharing. The web-based tool works on a phone, tablet or PC.
AutoDraw won’t guess exactly what you had in mind, but it offers up in real-time professional renditions of objects and shapes that probably fit the bill. A curved vertical line, for example, could suggest the beginning of a wishbone, or set of pliers, foot, toe, or leg.
There are hundreds of suggestions, including monsters, bridges, cars, toes, hammers, stars, houses, flowers, and so on. Drawings with a gold star next to them were created by one of six artists Google collaborated with on the project.
Fortunately, AutoDraw doesn’t impose suggestions as autocorrect does, but rather asks, Do you mean? next to about 20 candidates in the suggestion bar. Clicking on one will replace your half-finished scrawl with a complete object.
If you don’t want Google’s help there is a freehand option, as well as editing features, including an option to add text, fill objects with paint, change paintbrush colors, or add basic shapes that can scale up. You can also move, resize, and rotate objects with a Select tool.
Once you’ve completed a doodle, you can download it as a PNG file, or create a link to share it in the web app.
The technology behind AutoDraw’s suggestion feature is the same as Quick, Draw!, Google’s neural network that attempts to guess what you’re doodling in under 20 seconds and uses human created doodles to improve its ability to recognize doodles. Both are part of Google’s A.I Experiments series, which include a bunch of interesting tools using machine learning, like the Infinite Drum Machine, Thing Translator, and A.I. Duet.
Artists who want their doodles featured in AutoDraw’s suggestions bar can contribute to the project, and users can request to have objects added. Submissions can be made here.