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Google AutoDraw uses AI to turn your rough sketches into finished art

The new web-tool uses AI algorithms to assist users when sketching.

Published onApril 12, 2017

Google’s machine learning technology never ceases to impress. Yesterday, the company blogged about a new web-tool named Autodraw which uses AI algorithms to assist users when sketching.

Accessible on computers, phones and tablets, Autodraw is free service that helps users quickly whip up designs. Autodraw’s algorithms can recognize the basic shapes a person sketches to provide completed — and ostensibly neater — doodles of the same from real artists.

Attempting to sketch a candle, for example, using a mouse might not turn out great, but Autodraw should be able to identify what it is and offer a finished version instead. These pictures can then be edited and downloaded for use elsewhere, as a birthday card or invitation or something else.

The technology behind it is deceptively simple too: Google used a program called Quick, Draw! to get people to draw a series of simple items — a tree, a house, a car etc — and then used the results for each image to train the algorithm. The way one person draws a twenty-second tree with a mouse is often very similar to the way somebody else does, thus the AI can begin to recognize that “X” kind of shape probably means “Tree”.

The downside to this is that your creations will never be that original because everybody is making use of the same set of pre-defined drawings. Still, it’s another nice showcase for machine learning.

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