Have You Seen This?: New 'Crayon' HoloLens App Brings Back the Fun of Drawing on Walls

Crayon, a free 3D drawing application by the mysteriously named arkalian, showed up in the Windows Store recently, so I gave it a try like I do all new apps for Windows Holographic. Truthfully, I loaded it up not expecting much, but wow, was I wrong. It's a simple idea, but it's executed well enough to make it a truly great experience on the HoloLens.

The design is pretty bare-bones, but that's not a bad thing for this type of app, as it allows you to hit the ground running with whatever it is you want to create.

You use your hand to draw on the space around you, and you can choose from any of eight colors that are normally included in a pack of real crayons. The line width can be set, you can use a pencil style brush or smooth lines, and the help menu can be shown or hidden. Cortana can even be used to take a picture of your work of art, so you don't have to worry about not being able to show off your skills.

Where this product excels is how well it works. It produces a surprising level of accuracy for a gaze- and gesture-based hand drawing application. I am not much of an illustrator, but I have enough experience in programs like Painter and Photoshop to know that this program feels far more natural than either professional option with a mouse. Add in the voice commands to quickly undo, redo, and clear the stage, and you have the start of what could be a great use-case for drawing tools to come.

Pros:

  • Incredible accuracy using a combination of your hand's position and gaze.
  • A great collection of options.
  • Just great fun to draw with.

Con:

  • Could not see the entire help screen (even though it looks fine in the video).... at first, I thought white, blue, green, and red were the only colors.
The help menu in Crayon. Image by Crayon/Windows Store

While I was using this one, I found myself laughing a great deal. I found it surprising just how fun drawing (or scribbling) with that kind of accuracy in 3D space was, and it felt like I was a kid again drawing mischievously on walls.

I have seen a few art programs in next reality tech, like 3d Draw for HoloLens, and the current big winner, Tilt Brush (which I have never had the pleasure of trying myself) for the HTC Vive. And while 3d Draw does add in the ability to put 3D primitives in your scene, as far as HoloLens is concerned, Crayon wins on the fun factor alone.

Did I say I had a ton of fun playing with this?

Cover image (adapted) from Paul Hudson/Flickr

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