Google, sticking to their motto of “Don’t Be Evil”, wants to help everybody draw better.
Their new AutoDraw tool “pairs the magic of machine learning with drawings from talented artists” so everyone can draw something fast and well. All you have to do is scribble whatever it is you want to draw onto the canvas, and Google magically turns it into a polished image.
Watch it at work:
How? It’s not magic; it’s science. Specifically, Google used machine learning – a type of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that allows computers to learn from data input – to train the AutoDraw program to recognise crude squiggles and then match that to what it thinks you’re trying to draw.
It works similarly to a previous experiment, Quick,Draw!, a game-like platform where you’re given a prompt to draw, and a neural net tries to correctly guess what it is based on your drawing. Think playing Draw Something, but against a computer.
According to Google, AutoDraw can currently recognise hundreds of doodles, and they’re looking to add more.
Here’s my squiggle and the resulting Daschund pup I was clearly trying to draw.
The art does come out looking a bit like clip art from Powerpoint, but you can embellish it with colours, text, and even turn off the auto-draw feature to insert your own personal touches! You can also resize and move your different components around to create a real masterpiece. See?
Google also recommends using AutoDraw to quickly put together birthday cards, posters, and so on. So here I’ve created a little card for my boyfriend to celebrate our upcoming burger dinner.
Why not just tell Google what you want to draw via a text input and select from a list of clip art?
Because machine learning is awesome and Google is trying to get better at it. AutoDraw, like the rest of their clever Artificial Intelligence Experiments, is an effort to train neural networks to get smarter and better – while also helping with machine learning research in the future.
AutoDraw is free to use and works on all devices from phones to tablets to computers, so you can use it wherever you are. Give it a shot!