Disney Research is developing an app that transforms a 2-D drawing of a child into a 3-D image, making the pictures “alive” while they are still coloring them. The app is still on research stages, but Disney expects to launch it in the near future.

This app represents a unique way of making children develop their handcrafted abilities, in response to the proliferation of video games that caught their attention.

The app, developed by Disney Research, creates a video stream with an animated 3-D version of the drawing, using a texture according to the child’s coloring. Credit: Google Play

“Coloring books capture the imagination of children and provide them with one of their earliest opportunities for creative expression. Augmented reality holds unique potential to impact this situation by providing a bridge between real-world activities and digital enhancements,” Disney Research said in a press release.

The app is supposed to work detecting and tracking the children’s drawing in a printed coloring book using a mobile device. The app creates a video stream with an animated 3-D version of the drawing, using a texture according to the child’s coloring.

“We present a texturing process that applies the captured texture from a 2-D colored drawing to both the visible and occluded regions of a 3-D character in real time. We develop a deformable surface tracking method designed for colored drawings that uses a new outlier rejection algorithm for real-time tracking and surface deformation recovery,” Disney Research said.

Adults tested the app, reporting an 80 percent increase on their motivation to draw in the book, result of the feeling of connection to the character.

Robert Summer, the leader of the animation and interactive graphics group at Disney Research, said that “determining how to apply colour to the occluded areas was one of the tougher problems to solve,” according to the Pune Mirror. He also adds that the coloring has to be continuous in order for the app to work.

3-D Coloring takes over the market

Disney is not the first company to develop this kind of technology. Crayola also has created a line of digitally enhanced coloring books. The pictures “come to life” after they’ve been colored, unlike Disney’s technology that follows the image while it’s being filled with crayons.

The first version of Crayola’s coloring book will be available for $6 in January next year. Nevertheless, the app is ready to be downloaded for iOs and Android and lets you try it out for $2, by printing eight coloring sheets.

Source: Disney Research