Now children can see their favourite characters that they draw and colour on a colouring book come alive in 3D augmented reality thanks to a new app by Disney Research.
A child colours a character, such as an elephant, on the book page normally, while a tablet or smartphone running the app monitors the drawing.
Based on the child's colouring, the app fills in colours in real-time on an animated 3D version of the elephant that is visible on the device's screen and integrated into the video.
"Augmented reality holds unique and promising potential to bridge between real-world activities and digital experiences, allowing users to engage their imagination and boost their creativity," said Robert W. Sumner, a principal research scientist who leads the group on animation and interactive graphics at Disney Research.
The app, operating on a device with a camera viewing the user and the colouring book, automatically detects the character the user is colouring and displays the 3D version.
As the child applies colour to the 2D drawing, the app applies the same colour to the 3D character - both to the areas visible in the 2D drawing and to the remainder of the 3D form not visible in the book.
Because the colouring occurs in real-time, the illusion is created that the user is also colouring the occluded areas, with similar texturing of the colour.
In user testing - performed with adults rather than children in this early study - the researchers found that most users said the app increased their motivation to draw in colouring books and 80 percent said the app increased their feeling of connection to a character.
Researchers from Disney, ETH Zurich and the Swiss university EPFL presented the augmented reality app at the IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2015) in Fukuoka, Japan.