Mental Canvas Ushers Drawing into a New Dimension [press release]

Transformative Drawing Software Lets Architects, Designers, Creatives, Illustrators and Scientists Sketch Visual Ideas in 3D; Launching on Microsoft Surface Devices in Late 2016

NEW YORK — Oct. 26, 2016 — Mental Canvas today unveiled a new graphic and media design system that pushes the boundaries of sketch beyond the constraints of pencil and paper. Mental Canvas allows creators to illustrate ideas and depict design concepts freely in virtual space without sacrificing the individuality of the artist’s style. Today, Mental Canvas released a Player app in the Windows Store that allows people to explore spatial drawings created using the Mental Canvas authoring software, which will be released later this year.

“Technology has revolutionized text, photography and music, but drawing has largely remained unchanged since the Renaissance as today’s illustration tools merely simulate drawing on paper,” said Julie Dorsey, founder and CEO at Mental Canvas and computer science professor at Yale University. “Mental Canvas reimagines the sketch and brings it into the digital age with an entirely new set of capabilities to accelerate the creative process and enhance idea sharing.”

The future of drawing on Microsoft Surface

A tool for everyone that draws when exploring and communicating ideas, Mental Canvas supports sketching on and navigating amongst multiple canvases situated in a virtual space. The resulting interactive and animated “scene” can be shared on any device with a web browser. Surface’s impressive processing power, integrated and sensitive pen, haptic Surface Dial, gorgeous PixelSense™ multi-touch display, and substantial memory, helps Mental Canvas deliver its vision for the future of digital drawing.

  • Draw it as you imagine it: Sketching ideas on canvases situated throughout space communicates far more than any single drawing ever can.
  • Create guided tours: By saving important views, one can create personalized, animated tours through any scene.
  • Think and rethink your work: Quickly switching between viewing and drawing modes enables creators to refine their designs at all stages of the creative process. Edit even the most complex designs in minutes.
  • If you can sketch, you can Canvas. Unlike existing 3D modeling and CAD tools that have steep learning curves, Mental Canvas is intuitive, allowing the user to sketch freely in space as naturally as they can sketch on paper.

“Mental Canvas pushes the boundaries of sketch, bringing an element of exploration that’s just not possible with pen and paper,” said Panos Panay, corporate vice president of devices at Microsoft. “This is a great example of hardware and software coming together to harness pen, touch and the new Surface Dial to help architects, designers and engineers bring their ideas to life in a more natural and personal way.”

Speed the creative process

Mental Canvas allows creators to explore, experiment and embellish anywhere on the path from idea to realization— saving both time and money on the development of visual concepts. The rich and interactive scenes developed on Mental Canvas are a new media type that can be exported to the web, incorporated into e-books, displays, commercials and games.

  • Architects, designers and engineers will use Mental Canvas to develop concepts and communicate them to clients. A single Metal Canvas integrates hundreds of concept drawings into a single cohesive vision. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a Mental Canvas scene is worth thousands of pictures.
  • Digital agencies, filmmakers and advertising firms will use Mental Canvas for storyboarding and to create pitch decks, developing their story and message on the fly, while generating animatics in seconds, not weeks.
  • Professional illustrators, storytellers and game developers will appreciate the software’s complete workflow and ability to take ideas from a “flat” concept to final polish with a natural “drawing” interface.
  • Scientists and teachers can use Mental Canvas to communicate structure and connections between abstract concepts in an interactive and annotatable format.

The Mental Canvas team

The core technology behind Mental Canvas was originally developed by a research team at Yale University led by Professor Dorsey. With the creative freedom of a research environment and support of multiple grants from The National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, Dorsey and her team developed the product and launched the company without any additional outside funding. The company has two awarded and four pending patents.

Availability and requirements

Explore sample scenes by downloading the Mental Canvas Player app on Windows Store today here.

The Mental Canvas authoring software will be available on Microsoft Surface devices by the end of 2016.

Mental Canvas will be available globally, in English and Canadian French.

Learn more at www.mentalcanvas.com.

Press Images & Visuals can be found here.

About Mental Canvas

Mental Canvas LLC is a privately- held, software startup company founded in June 2013 to commercialize spatial drawing technology originating from Prof. Julie Dorsey’s research laboratory at Yale University’s Computer Science Department. Mental Canvas is funded through a series of non-dilutive small business awards from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which catalyzes private sector commercialization of the most promising technological innovations.

Press Contact

Garland Harwood, Confidant for Mental Canvas, garland@confidant.co