Google – Just a Line

Draw anywhere, with AR!

Fresh Portland and Google Creative Lab bring the Cloud Anchors innovation to life.

Starting at the very earliest studio projects, Fresh Portland has partnered with Google Creative Lab—which Advertising Age describes as a “modern best-case scenario of a brand development think tank”—to design and build experimental prototypes to understand how future Android experiences might integrate with Google’s services.

Since then, Fresh Portland has completed a half-dozen collaborations with Creative Lab. The most recent, Just a Line, lets users draw a line anywhere, in AR.

Launched in March 2018, Just a Line showcases and dramatizes Google’s ARCore. ARCore is a flexible and extensible Augmented Reality framework.

Based on the simple premise of drawing in augmented reality, Just a Line is an experience developed to give people their first taste of creating in the new medium.

Later in 2018, Fresh Portland and Google Creative Lab updated Just a Line to include Cloud Anchors. Google’s Cloud Anchors enables cross-platform collaboration in a united augmented reality canvas, a feature announced along with the iOS version of the software at Google’s I/O developer conference in May 2018.

For the first time ever, iOS and Android users can create on the same augmented reality canvas.


Just a Line features a Fresh Portland-authored Java library, RecordableSurfaceView, that streamlines video sharing in Android. Creative Lab chose to release the software as Open Source.

ARCore is implemented as a special case OpenGL stacka well known method of rendering graphics to the screen. However, recording a video of a GL Android app, either as a user or as a developer, can be challenging, until now.

RecordableSurfaceView is intended to be a drop-in replacement for GLSurfaceView, but with the added benefit of it being able to record the frames to an MP4 for sharing. If you’re interested in learning more, or using RecordableSurfaceView in your app, read more at a tutorial in With Intent.

Continued support for emerging Android devices, including tablets, has kept Fresh Portland busy since Just a Line’s major cross-platform launch in Q2 2018.

We’ve taken the opportunity to catalogue some of the emerging interaction patterns that people have employed bringing their imagination to life. We took a look at some of the creations people have shared in With Intent.

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