The perfect AR app for all your doodlin’ needs.
*UPDATE: Doodle Cam is now called DoodleLens*
A few short weeks ago, my friend and former colleague, the prolific Aidan Wolf, connected the dots between an old school effect built into a JVC camcorder and the seemingly infinite possibilities of AR resulting in an app he’s called, Doodle Cam.
Inspired by a clip chronicling each camera ever used by James Rolfe, aka Angry Video Game Nerd, Wolf found inspiration in the “Title-Memory” effect. This switch electronically copies rudimentary, written text into a pseudo-mask layer over the footage shot through the camcorder through simple, in-camera post-processing. A single question emerged: why not do the same for real-time AR?
From first idea to debuting demo, the process of creating the initial version of Doodle Cam—now matured as a patron-only beta version—took Wolf about a week to build. “It started as a test that took about five hours to put together, but a week later I posted the first video on Twitter,” he shared. “The plan is to finish the app by the end of the month. I’ve worked on things for months, even years, and they haven’t gotten the kind of engagement this has received!”
This independent project by Wolf, releasing through his personal company, Kevaid, exists to encourage imaginative exploration and AR ease. “The thing that drives me the most is bringing people into this new reality, into AR, and finding ways to make it accessible. I often journey back to being a kid and wanting to engage in what I now recognize as augmented reality,” Wolf expresses.
“It’s fun, it’s a toy,” he continues. “It democratizes AR creation and brings the light into your everyday reality through drawings. I made it for pure enjoyment.” To use Doodle Cam, users simply point their phones at a drawing on paper or another canvas, press the copy button in app, then point the phone’s camera to where they want to place the copied image in space. They can record photos or video of their doodle which are saved directly to their phone.
Currently, Doodle Cam can be accessed for $5 USD when a user participates in Wolf’s Patreon. With a tentative release date of early June, a polished version will be purchasable for $1.99 through major app retailers.
With an animation feature recently added, future updates to Doodle Cam include multiplayer functionality, persistent doodles in space, image cropping, and multiple, stylized copying styles.
With a playful attitude and enthusiasm for the future of AR, Wolf encourages other creators to dream big and keep their eyes open for inspiration. “You never know where creative influences are going to come from, so it’s always good to absorb as much information as you can from things you enjoy.”