If you're of the mind that reality could use a touch of artistic talent, the new augmented reality app Artopia is your gateway to a whole new canvas.

Created by software developer Omar Khalil, the new app leverages your smartphone's camera to turn your finger gestures into a 3D paintbrush. Think of it as a kind of augmented reality experience like Pokemon GO, but with the potential to run into an elaborately painted sculpture rather than a creature. As with Instagram, once you come across a piece of art, you can touch a small heart underneath to "like" the creation.

Objects created in Artopia are stored in the cloud, so you never know where you might come across a piece of art, as the video below shows.

Of course, none of these artistic pieces will become "real" unless you're using your smartphone camera to view the world around you. Still, as the world of augmented reality moves ever closer to something akin to a lightweight pair of glasses (or, as the series "Black Mirror" has shown us, a set of contact lenses), we wouldn't be surprised if virtual displays of public art become commonplace. Of course, Khalil is also aware that augmented-inspired graffiti could also invite the kind of doodles and messages that aren't tolerated in the real world.

"This is why I'll do my best to implement strong reporting and moderation features, to prevent things like this from happening," Khalil said on Reddit.


While the app is still in development, Khalil has added a sign-up page for those interested in early access. So far, he's been overwhelmed by the response.

"Ever since the announcement, the amount of positive feedback and publicity that Artopia has received has been overwhelming," he said, revealing that thousands have already signed up to test the app. "While I haven't been able to respond to all your messages, rest assured I've read every single one of them. Thank you for all the love!"

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Encourage your inner graffiti artist with this app
Artopia app encourages your inner graffiti artist to break free and create art using only your smartphone.