Camera Lucida

Camera Lucida

By Peter Moeykens

  • Category: Education
  • Release Date: 2010-03-20
  • Current Version: 9.0
  • Adult Rating: 4+
  • File Size: 20.24 MB
  • Developer: Peter Moeykens
  • Compatibility: Android, iOS 9.1
Score: 4.5
From 179 Ratings


"In love with drawing again!" Our Camera Lucida application can make an artist out of anyone! Although there are hundreds of apps that allow you to draw on your screen, Camera Lucida is different. It's the best app specifically designed to assist you in creating art with traditional materials such as pen and paper, charcoal or paints. With Camera Lucida, you don't draw on the screen, you draw on paper! For over a century, artists have made use of the camera lucida optical device to superimpose a live view of their subject onto their drawing or painting surface. Essentially allowing the artist to trace what they see in front of them, the camera lucida is an invaluable aid in creating a lifelike and realistic drawing. With our Camera Lucida iPhone/iPad application, artists and non-artists alike can now draw anything they can take a photo of. Our application will superimpose your image of choice with a live view of your drawing surface. When looking at your screen, you'll be able to simultaneously see the image you want to draw as well as your drawing surface as you create your work of art. Our Camera Lucida application allows you to choose any image stored on your device. It even allows you to specify the amount of transparency between the live view and the image you're drawing. Additionally, Camera Lucida has image processing filters that can be used to simplify the drawing process further. Functions such as posterizing, color reduction, comic book effects, edge detection, etc. help tremendously for guiding your hand while producing your next masterpiece. To use our application, you just place your iphone between your drawing surface and your eyes and trace what you see on the screen! A ton of fun for artists young or old, amateur or professional, the Camera Lucida app makes a great addition to any artist's toolbox. IMPORTANT: To use Camera Lucida, you need to fix your iPhone or iPad in place above your drawing. We use a stack of books or a flower vase to do this. Tutorials are included in the app to help you get started. This app is dedicated to Carolyn Hall Young, 1953-2016 who created the splash art and inspired us all.



  • Great tool

    By Lorenzojose
    This Lucida app helps me quickly layout drawings that I can finish later, and allows me to work away from the subject in my study.
  • Amazing

    By MikieMikie
    This app is an incredible implementation. Well thought out and easy to use. I have cut down my drawing time and increased the quality of my work. I cannot give it more than five stars because Apple won’t let me give it 10. Don’t hesitate — time you spend gridding or free-handing is time you’re wasting.
  • Fantastic

    By Sbk8
    Camera Lucida app is amazing! I love using it for tracing designs or lettering on cookies. My daughter also enjoys using it with an Osmo and she is really developing her drawing skills. Lastly Peter is great and provides wonderful app support.
  • Incredible!!!

    By Jmoney3427654
    This app is the reason I will never buy anything other than an iPhone! I've made traditional camera lucidas using mirrors, glass and lens combinations, but the lighting has to be perfect for them to work. You also cannot zoom or apply photo filters with a real camera lucida, but with this app you can. (Finger spread zoom allows you to get serious fine detail and resolution still is very good.) The posterize and levelize commands help you to visualize depth and proper shading. I've been drawing and painting for 39 years (Since I was 1 year old) and I wish I had this app when I started out. Disregard early reviews as the new version has no perceptible lag time. I used to link the app to a laptop using Airserver to record the screen. No more! Now you can record your drawing right from the app and share it with friends on social media. The great Spanish Baroque master Diego Velazquez never sketched any preparatory drawings before painting, and none have ever been found. Yet, he painted very quickly and was able to paint many of his most famous works in a matter of days and they appear photo-realistic. Could it be that Diego had a similar device to the camera lucida like a lens behind a curtain to copy each portrait? I believe due to various mistakes he made like tilting his lens at an angle making portraits with long bodies and small heads reveal he used optical aids. There are also some subtle double image effects in his portrait of Pope Innocent X that reveal he was definitely using some kind of projection device. Who paints double images with just their natural eye? Whatever Velazquez used, it was not as good as an overhead projector we have today, and hundreds of times less powerful and easy to use than the Camera Lucida app. Also, the master Johannes Vermeer in his painting, ‘Girl with a Red Hat’ painted the girl with crisp detail, but the lion bed posts in the foreground were painted slightly blurred. How do you paint things in the foreground closest to your natural eye blurry unless you are using a poor optical aid? I can do it if I half shut my eyes, but I think this proves Vermeer used optics too! The only drawback is that you cannot work on super large works (like greater than 20” X 20”.) What I do if I want to go big is posterize or levelize my photo in the app. I email the snapshots saved from the app to myself. I then make a transparency print at the printer and use an old overhead projector to project as large as I need. But what do you expect, to paint a 5 foot tall painting with your phone? Its a 3 dollar app! It has insane features and well worth the money for normal sized drawings and paintings. This app’s features beat anything I’ve ever seen. When used properly, this is an invaluable secret of the pros that anyone can learn to use even if you have no artistic experience at all. My mom tells me often how poor she is at drawing. I’ve seen her ‘art’, and she’s right its not good. She is a nurse and plays piano, so visual stuff is not that exciting to her. After she used this app, her drawing looked like it was done by a skilled artist. After using this app for several years now, I’ve found it helped me to paint more accurately as drawing with the posterize function helps you to analyze new images in terms of darks and lights. So, amazingly I think this app makes you unconsciously into a better and more accurate artist, even if you go back to the old painting without optics “by eying it” method. If it had 20 stars I’d rate it 20/20. Incredible app that I think every aspiring or professional artist should own.
  • Sliced bread move over!

    By passionworks
    I actually make my living as an artist and it is simply the greatest timesaver I have ever found. This saves me about 15 minutes a drawing by allowing me to map out the landmarks of the figure and I know the proportions are right from the get go. I purchased the stand that was recommended in the tutorial and was up and going in five minutes. The ability to zoom in on the reference picture and have it scale on the drawing is brilliant. Get this app you will NOT be disappointed!
  • Camera Lucida is an astounding App!

    By BK Able
    I love this app. The other good reviews have said it all, so I won't repeat them. I don't think there could be a better app for an artist's productivity. Easy and intuitive for beginners - do watch the tutorials and join the Camera Lucida Facebook group for inspiration. I can't speak for advanced artists as I am not one, but I'm sure it would be a great tool for anyone.
  • This is fun app

    By badzny5
    If you how to trace, you can use this app and create art.
  • Great app, great developer

    By Meredith1818
    I am enjoying this app very much! Also, I had a technical problem when I first installed it and Peter was amazingly quick to respond and help and solve the problem. He even reached out a few days later to make sure it was still working!
  • I absolutely love this app!

    By Chelsf
    This app has been so valuable to me in my custom cookie business. It’s easy to use, and has so many cool applications. Thank you!!!
  • Really great app for anyone who wants to draw!!

    By TedK.
    I love being able to draw pictures from my photos. Really let's you overcome fears if you are, like me, drawing challenged... Have made many lovely pen and ink drawings of some of my favorite photos of my daughter that I put in my journal. It is fun, plus they won't fade over time like photos might (given an archival ink)... I have always wanted to make pen and ink drawings that look good and this has been an absolutely fabulous tool. I just got an Osmo stand and front camera mirror and am looking forward to using it as it seems like it will be more convenient than the standard setup of putting the iPad on a stack of books. I set it up with the Osmo but have yet to actually draw with the Osmo in use. That said, it certainly seems like it will be more convenient to have the iPad and drawing both easily visible while you are drawing, instead of basically 100% looking "through" the iPad. I very, VERY rarely purchase apps (I think this is my second in history) but have absolutely no regrets. It really is a wonderful tool to help ANYONE draw well and I am thrilled!