Pic Plane

Pic Plane is a new iOS app that uses augmented reality to explore a unique take on photography. You can use Pic Plane to compose simple spatial collages from your environment or as a photographic tool that lets you manipulate perspective in a new way.


Pic Plane works a little different from a normal camera. Instead of capturing what you see, with Pic Plane you first place a photographic plane in the world using augmented reality. When you take a photo, you then save your view through the plane onto the plane itself. This is much easier to understand with some visuals:

When you first capture a photo, the plane perfectly blends into the world since you are still viewing it from the photo’s original perspective. Step to the side however, and the plane will be left floating in space with the captured image saved to it.

You can use this to quickly throw together simple 3D collages from your environment or for simple special effects, such as duplicating your friend or visually freezing part of a scene in time. With the depth masking feature, you can even use your phone’s LiDAR sensor to quickly create and place sticker-style images in space.

Where Pic Plane’s take on photography gets really interesting though is that the image captured by the plane depends on your perspective. Capture an image while viewing the plane from a low angle for example, and the image will be highly distorted when the plane is viewed head-on.

The ability to control perspective somewhat reminds me of an old view camera, although Pic Plane lets you manipulate the image plane in ways that would not be possible with a physical camera. The way photos are saved to planes in the world (albeit virtual ones) also reminds me a little of a Polaroid camera. Although both of these parallels are extremely dated, working with Pic Plane feels like something new. At the very least, it’s an interesting take on photography, one that seems to have plenty of potential but that I am also far from mastering.

Pic Plane gives you a few simple tools that I think open up many creative possibilities. I will be interested to see what others do with it. Give the app a try and be sure to let me know if you create something fun using it.