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The projects coming out of Disney Research these days is astounding. The latest takes images drawn in coloring books and renders them in augmented reality as a fully realized 3D model. I think I would have been a lot more interested in drawing if my scribbles were able to be animated and interact in worlds inhabited with Disney characters.

The project is amazing even in its early form, but the potential for so much more is there:

This project comes from the team at Disney Research Zurich, Switzerland and was presented at the IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality.

From the project summary:

Coloring books capture the imagination of children and provide them with one of their earliest opportunities for creative expression. However, given the proliferation and popularity of digital devices, real-world activities like coloring can seem unexciting, and children become less engaged in them. Augmented reality holds unique potential to impact this situation by providing a bridge between real-world activities and digital enhancements. In this paper, we present an augmented reality coloring book App in which children color characters in a printed coloring book and inspect their work using a mobile device. The drawing is detected and tracked, and the video stream is augmented with an animated 3-D version of the character that is textured according to the child’s coloring.

If you’ve dined in the Animator’s Palate restaurant on the Disney Fantasy, you’ve seen how they bring your simple hand-drawn figure to life in 2D animation, now imagine it with technology like this. Wow.