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Monday, March 25

How to Draw on a Cookie with an iPad


  Okay, I have to be completely honest with you.  This is a pretty cool post. Since I've been so bad about posting lately I figured I owed you all something special!  I found this fantastic app that lets you use the iPad (or the iPhone) to draw on real things!  Of course I had to try it with cookies.


     The app is called the Camera Lucida (named after a traditional drawing tool) and it works by opening up the rear camera on your device so you can see your work surface when looking at the screen.  (since the app uses a rear camera you can't use it with a first gen iPad)  The app then superimposes your reference image into the screen so you can see your reference image and your cookie together.  Essentially all you have to do is trace!  The app is available for purchase from the app store for $4.99.

Update on the Stand:


     You have to use a stand of some kind to hold the iPad/iPhone between you and your work surface. While a vase or even a stack of books will work in a pinch, the best stand would have a pedestal base so you can work easily under the camera.  On the developer's blog you can find a post about making a nice and inexpensive stand to hold the iPad.  My stand is about the same except the base is from a lamp.  Plus mine is an eye sore, heh.  The iPad sits on the stand just forward enough not to block the rear camera so it's nice and stable and won't slip.  I had the iPad about 9 inches off the table and that was a good height for working under it.   I think a tall cake stand would work really well for this too or you could even use the bowl from your stand mixer. 


     When you open the app you can choose a reference image and then touch the center icon to enter the drawing mode.  The little slider will adjust the opacity of the reference image so you can get a good view of both the reference and the cookie.  Trace the reference onto the cookie using a food color marker or a graphite pencil.  Graphite is non-toxic and I think it's easier to use a mechanical pencil than a food marker but maybe that's just me.


    Once you have traced the drawing onto the cookie you can just decorate as usual.  For this Om Nom cookie I outlined the drawing in black piping icing and once that had fully dried I filled him in green.  Super Easy!



     When you first start using the app it does take a little getting used to because you are looking at the screen of the iPad and not your cookie.  There is also a little depth perception issue because the camera is basically like looking through one eye.  I would suggest just drawing with the app for a while with pencil and paper and you'll get comfortable using it.

       Another neat function of the app is that you can take reference images of your work surface from within the app.  When I design cookies I usually trace around my cutters and then draw the designs freehand.  If you take the photo of your design you can then use it in the drawing mode of the app to transfer your design to the cookie.  Since you are using the iPad at the same height that you took the picture you don't have to re-size your images and they will fit perfectly on the cookie you cut from that cutter! 


   Of course since the app was designed for drawing you can use it to draw your designs too.  The app has a whole bunch of built in filters and zoom functions to aid in the drawing process. 


     UPDATE:  You can now size the photo up or down from right within the app!  We no longer need to go to an outside program to make the picture small enough for cookies.  The super cool developer of the Camera Lucida app, Pete Moeykens, has been working with cookie community and developed this function special for us!  Be sure to download the latest version of the app and give it a good review!

(One little tick that is probably a bigger "issue" on the iPad than the iPhone is that the app wants to make your reference image as big as it can so you can make a nice large drawing.  The app will expand the image size to the edges of the screen which could be too big for cookies.  You'll need to add white space around your image in a photo editing program so that the design will stay small.)  I used the free Sketchbook Express app to easily add the white space. (which is also a fantastic app even if you don't need it for this anymore!)


   If you'd like to see the app in action I made a video.  It's the first video I've done and while it's probably not so awesome I think you'll get the idea!




    Unfortunately the Camera Lucida app is not currently available for Android devices.  There is an app called the Artist's Eye and while it doesn't have all the functions of the Camera Lucida app it should still be of some help.

     I know this a lot of information and I've just barely scratched the surface with what you can do with this app for cookie decorating.  If have any questions please ask!!


Happy Decorating!

   

86 comments:

  1. Brilliant!! What a great idea...and much more accessible/affordable than a Kopykake projector...clever girl!!
    Thanks for sharing!!!
    ~Tanja

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  2. Thanks you so much.. I'd given up hope of ever finding anything similar or cheaper to the Kopykake.
    Could you post a photo of the stand?

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  3. How do you get the reference picture on screen

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  4. OMG!! THANK YOU! What a brilliant idea and probably the best $4.99 for an App that I've ever wanted to use. (I always get the free ones or the $1 ones for the kids!) I am in LOVE with your website and have probably pinned almost everything on here! I have often debated investing into the KopyKake, but I'm glad I waited! I'll definitely try out the App first! Do you mind sharing about the stand you have for your iPad.

    Thanks!
    Angela Barton

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  5. Excellent idea!!! You´re genious!!
    Florencia

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  6. Do you know if Samsung has the app to?... This is insane :D

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    Replies
    1. There's an app for android too, the name is "Artist's Eye Free", and you can pay for it too.. :)

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  7. This is really neat. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. I found one on Google play store called Artist's Eye. I don't know if it works well as I just downloaded it, but it is for droids. Hope this helps

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the info! I've added the link for the Android users.

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  9. Omg!!!! I love you! I have been debating getting a kopykate and omg this seems like the perfect alternative!!! Amazing, thank for this awesome post!!!!

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  10. I adore this idea! What a great video, too! Could you, please, give a little more information about the stand you used? Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Yeahhhhh there's one for the samsung to called artist's eye!!... So happy now!!

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  12. thank you for sharing such a useful app and way of getting more complicated drawings onto a sugar format. Great work.

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  13. Wow this was so cool. I think it will be a great alternative for the expensive kopykake. This was a really awesome idea. Thank for the post it has been really helpful.

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  14. Awesome video and post!! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  15. That is so brilliant! I have a kopykake, but this is a great solution for those who don't!

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  17. Thank you so much for sharing your great idea. Can you possibly share a pic of your stand?? Thank you so much - saved me hundreds in not buying the KK. :)

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  18. Sarah, you are soooooo generous in letting everyone in on this discovery! I for one am thrilled by the thought of putting my kopykake on eBay! Thank you for another inspiring amazing wonderful game changing post!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Anita!
      The KopyKake is great for doing large numbers of cookies but if you just need to draw a couple little faces then this works great!

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  19. Cannot wait to see if I can get this app! Super cool post!!

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  20. This is BRILLIANT!! Perfect for anyone who doesn't have a Kopykake! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

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  21. Coolest app EVER! To bad the hubby doesn't allow Apple products in the house.

    Thanks for the post!
    Nicole Burris
    Sugar and Stitches

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  22. Thank you for this information and brilliant tutorial! I'm downloading the app as I type! Can't wait to give it a try for writing different fonts.
    Thanks again!

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  23. Watched your video and wanted to add my Thank You! to the lot. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. That is awesome! I have wanted a KopyKake for some time, but I live in a tiny condo and storage is a big issue for a large piece of equipment. How perfect this is...and an ideal reason for me to get an iPad...which I've been wanting since my son got one :-) Thanks for the great tutorial!!!

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  25. This is perfect as I already have the iPad and can easily justify a $4.99 app versus the actual KopyKake. THANK YOU!

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  26. I absolutely love this! Can't wait to try it.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  27. This is amazing...thank you so much for sharing this info! Do you happen to have a picture of the stand and how the IPAD is attached to it?

    Terri

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    Replies
    1. I've updated the post with a picture. It's basically a tiny shelf and the iPad rests on it with just enough of the edge peeking over to clear the camera.

      Thanks!

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  28. total game changer! i, too, have been holding off on pulling the kopykake trigger, but invested in an ipad last year. i have orders this week that will benefit from this! thanks for sharing the info on the app!

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  29. Thanks so much for sharing! You are awesome for the post & video!!

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  30. This is awesome! Really wish I could get something like it on my Windows phone! I have an old iPhone, but the Windows phone is so much better. lol

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  31. Artist's Eye is free on Android..Now to figure out how it works

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  32. Great video, your site is wonderful. May I ask what did you use for the iPad stand?

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    1. My stand was cobbled together from a lamp base and a board and it isn't pretty, lol. The developer has a really nice one on his blog and it wouldn't cost much to build. I've updated the post with a link.

      Thanks!

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  33. I am so excited! THANK YOU!

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  34. Amazing!! I have to try this!

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  35. What a clever use of that app! Adorable cookies!

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  36. Fantastic! Amazing ! Thanks so much! I didn't quite understand about the stand, though.

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  37. I wish you could take a picture of the stand you had made so that i can see about making one like it.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful app! I do have a Kopycake but this app is more convenient than lugging my big ole Kopycake out.

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  38. Love your site post and can't wait to try this. I, too, would love more info on the stand. Can't quite figure how there is nothing beneath the iPad-or in my case iPhone. Thanks for the inspiration!!

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  39. Thanks for sharing...and thanks to the people commenting above, I was able to find and download an app for my Android! :)

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  40. Thanks everyone! I've updated the post with a photo of the stand so you can visualize the setup. Really though you just need something tall enough to work under like maybe a free standing shelf or a short stool, etc.

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  41. Wow, this is great! I bought the app right after seen your video and can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing such a useful tip :)

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  42. Anyone tried it with a iPhone? I don't have an iPad...but I think I'll see what it can do with my phone!! This would be such a time saver! If I have any luck with it I'll report back:)

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    1. Waiting for your result..:)
      if it works, i wanna buy iPhone coz it can call too.. ;)

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  43. I corresponded with Pete, (the camera lucida developer) this morning about an android app. He is working on it, but said he wasn't sure how long that would take. He did take my info and said he'd put me on a contat list. This is just a great idea -- thanks for bringing it our way, Sarah!

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  44. What type, of I Pad are you using? If you don't mind. I know that it has to be 2nd. generation. but what brand?Thank you.

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  45. So Clever! I wouldn't have ever dreamed that this was an option! I'll definitely be blogging this! Thank you!!! I'll be sharing your blog!

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  46. Sarah - This is such a fabulous post! I read every word and watched every second of your video tutorial. Thank you for this information!!! I can't wait to get started! Kristina

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  47. I can't wait to try this!!! I am exclaiming to my husband how ground-breaking this is, and he just doesn't understand, LOL!

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  48. Will this work with a Barnes & Noble Nook or the Galaxy Samsung?

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    Replies
    1. Right now the Camera Lucida app is only available for the Apple iPad. A blog reader found an Android app called Artist's Eye that could also work like this even though it doesn't have all the same functions.

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  49. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I've been lusting after a KopyKake for ages & they are SO expensive here in Australia.

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  50. I have to say that four months ago I upgraded my ipad one and bought an ipad 3 just so I could use this app. Great excuse to get a new one don't ya thing. lol

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  51. Brilliant! Too bad I already own a kopykake.

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  52. Hi Everyone!

    This is Pete, the software developer who wrote Camera Lucida. I've read each and every word of Sarah's wonderful post several times now as well as all of your comments. There's nothing more rewarding than to see people using my app in such a creative (and delicious) way! I honestly never even thought of using the app for such a purpose, although others have used the app for tasks such as decorating eggs or making mini sculptures.

    I read the suggestion about being able to zoom out of an image to make it smaller and will be working with some decorating volunteers to try out the changes I just made to the app to enable this. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at pete@cameraLucidaApp.com

    FYI, The app also runs on an iPhone and iPod Touch. The screen is obviously smaller, but the digital zoom does wonders to make up for it.

    One last thank you to Sarah: THANK YOU!
    -Pete

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  53. Nice post. Thanks. I'm going to give it a try.

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  54. My husband bought an IPad4 for me last Saturday. (Just 'cause he's a sweetie, no other reason.) I am downloading the app as I type. Hot dog! I can't wait to try this. Thanks so much for showing us what it is and how to use it.
    ClaudiaIsBaking

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  56. Just downloaded the app and it is awesome! I used a kitchen plate rack to hold my IPad. It worked! I put the rack on my kitchen table. Put the cookie underneath. I used the Sketch app to write Happy Mother's Day. Saved it to my photos. Then uploaded the words to the app and traced the letters. Soooo easy! Will use this more often.

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  57. Thank you so much for sharing this discovery. Awesome!

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  58. Wow, how awesome and clever. I was so close and mayba I'am in buying a kopykat. I downloaded the free version on adroid. But not sure what the difference in between the free one and the one you can buy?
    Anybody know??

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  59. Hi, Pete@cameraLucidaApp again.
    Just a quick note to let everyone know that I just released version 7.0 that has the shrink feature Sarah suggested. Next I will be enabling the camera while you're moving your image around so that you can place your reference photo directly on top of the cookie.
    -Pete

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  60. This is amazing! Thank you so much for posting and sharing this, it's so helpful and easy! :-)

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  61. Completely awesome. Endless design possibilities. Thanks for sharing!!

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  62. Hi Sarah....Thank you SO much for posting this and for the fantastic video! I want a KK machine so bad, but there are other things that, unfortunately, need to come first - mortgage, electric bill, etc. :-(

    I have a question about the outlining....First you use an edible marker to outline the cookie looking through the ipad. Is there a reason then, that you don't just follow the outlines on the cookie with your piping icing and NOT pipe it while still looking through the ipad? Just curious. It would seem to me that once it's outlined it would be easier to just pipe it looking directly down at the cookie. Is there something I'm missing here?

    Colleen

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  63. Hi Colleen,

    When I use the iPad to decorate cookies I do just like you describe; I draw my lines and then move the iPad aside and do my piping. I just couldn't do all that and film the video for the demo. It was just easier to let you see what I was doing through the iPad so I didn't have to move my camera or anything. I assure you from my vantage point I was looking at the cookie while I was piping and not the screen.

    Thanks!

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  64. Hi Sarah:

    Ok, that's what I figured. I just wanted to be sure. Thank you so much for replying. I cannot wait to try this! Your explanation and video were fantastic!

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  65. Augmented Drawing for theAndroid works better than Artist's Eye Free.

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  66. I just bought the app for $5, but am a bit disappointed as there is a delay from when you move your hand till when the image of my hand moving on the screen changes. This does not give you the same feeling as using a real camera lucida, and is thus a bit awkward to work with.

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  67. I discovered this post after looking into letter stamps, kopykake, using the tissue paper to transfer images, etc. The biggest issue I have when decorating cookies is nice looking writing. I downloaded the app for $5 and just finished decorating my first batch of cookies using the app to trace "Happy Birthday" onto cookies. They turned out flawless. I cannot thank you enough for this post. My next project will be creating a stand for my iPhone, because I'm sure I'll be using this often! Thank you!!!
    Stephanie

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  68. I purchased an iPad stand on ebay. It saves me so much time and effort. It has a clamp that will attach anywhere. It's worth the $13 I paid. It's listed as "Rotating Desktop Stand Lazy Bed Tablet Holder Mount for iPad Air Samsung". Hope this helps.

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  69. This is awesome. Thank you! I just built my own for $8 plus parts I had around the house. It's fully adjustable. Love it! Wish I could post a pic!

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  70. This is fantastic! Thank you for saving me hundreds. Instead of building the stand, I just bought this iPad flex arm on Amazon that attaches to the table. Works like a charm. Thanks again https://www.amazon.com/EMPIRE-Adjustable-Flexible-Extension-Mount/dp/B005VSHMSY/ref=tag_rsn_rs_edpp_url?ie=UTF8&creative=381421&tag=tossbuycom-20

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  71. Thrilled to have found this! Thanks for sharing!!

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  72. Hi everyone! It's been a while since I've commented. The app is still making tons of sugar artists happy everyday. And BIG NEWS: My nephew just went to market with the ANDROID Version! Check out arlucida.com if you're interested! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.arlucida.arlucida

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  73. Thank you so much for this tutorial! It has saved my life with some fancy cookie calligraphy I could never free hand on three dozen cookies! So much cheaper than a kopykake and just as useful

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  74. Really nice I will use it in the SmartIO App to with the content transfer app. quite useful

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