Trace, the Morpholio Project's second app, explores the role of technology in the conceptual phase of the design workflow through a digital version of trace paper, and fosters communication amongst a global design culture. Morpholio Trace for iPad allows users to instantly draw on top of imported images or background templates, layering comments or ideas to generate immediate, intelligent sketches that are easy to circulate.
The uniqueness of Trace is most visible in two primary modes. One is communication, in which the user can simply trace over something in order to give feedback or convey information quickly, and graphically. The second is idea exploration.
"You are plugging yourself into a recursive feedback loop, as you iteratively build up an idea, taking several passes at it," commented co-creator Mark Collins. Both allow creative cultures to maintain conceptual thinking as well as critical feedback throughout the design process.
Created by architects, Trace addresses a number of questions about how the proliferation of device culture, social networking, and cloud technology are changing the way designers work and connect on a daily basis. It has been predicted that in 2020, there will be 50 billion mobile internet connections worldwide, the equivalent of seven devices per person. It is crucial that experimentation and research that harnesses the power of these devices, and makes tools specifically for the design and creative fields, occur in tandem with this rapid evolution of culture and process.
The Trace App begins with a single page on which to sketch and allows for a variety of underlays, including templates, photos, or any imagery pulled from the cloud. The key function of the app is the "New Trace Layer" button, which allows a user to take their sketch and add another sheet, then another, and another until the idea or sketch is built to its final stages. With each layer the user can adjust the opacity to either highlight or hide the information behind it.
"Tracing over something is absolutely the foundation of the app," explained Co-Creator Toru Hasegawa. "Layers of trace paper are not the same as "layers" in Photoshop or other tools. Here, they are the stacking of ideas, as opposed to the organizing of files."
In addition to using trace to build an idea, the app simplifies many other forms of feedback in the design process. The software imagines gathering information such as field conditions, construction photos, contact sheets, or sourcing imagery, and streamlining the process of editing, commenting and communicating instantly in sketches with an efficiency that words alone cannot achieve.
Trace will also be integrated with the Morpholio app which works off the portfolio model to create an interactive platform in which to present, share and critique imagery.
Sketches: Courtesy of Ahmed Elhusseiny, Anna Kenoff, Anna Pietrzak, Audrey Choi, Ciara Seymour, Devin Seymour, Ezio Blasetti, James Kehl, Javier Galindo, Liz Ricketts, Milan delVecchio, Morpholio.