A team of scientists at Disney Research – an international network of research laboratories affiliated with The Walt Disney Company – developed a colouring book app that turns two-dimensional drawings into 3D animations.
It works like this: The first step is to colour one of the characters from a usual colouring book that is also compatible with the app, and at the same time launch the app on the phone or tablet. With the help of the device’s camera, the Disney app detects which character is being coloured.
Using special software, it then re-creates a 3D version of the colouring book character on the device’s screen. The same colour that you apply on the colouring book is also used by the app on the 3D character. Easy… right?
“Augmented reality holds promising potential to bridge between real-world activities and digital experiences, allowing users to engage their imagination and boost their creativity,” Robert Sumner, principal research scientist at Disney Research, said.
When comes to the app-developing process itself, it is safe to say that it was not an easy task. Turning a two-dimensional character from a regular colouring book into a tree-dimensional figure took some effort.
Scientists at Disney Research had to come up with a solution for the occluded areas (3D spaces) that did not exist in the colouring book itself, but would be present on the device’s screen.
They developed a ‘lookup map’ for the app, which matches the coloured areas from the colouring book, with the corresponding pixels in the occluded areas (on the phone or tablet screen). For instance, if you colour the front of a character’s shoe blue, the app will figure out what colour the back of the character’s shoe might have.
According to Disney Research, about 80 percent of the people who used the app felt more connected the character. Most of the app users also said that they felt more motivated to colour (a colouring book) after using the app.
All of the people who tried using the augmented reality colouring app were adults, so it is not clear how well children will respond to this app.
The app was presented at the IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2015) in Fukuoka, Japan.
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