ColAR Uses Augmented Reality To Bring Your Kid’s Drawing To Life

I would’ve written this earlier, but I was busy picking pieces of my mind up off the floor. I get to write about cool stuff all day, but this… this is incredible.

colAR is the coloring book of the future. By mashing up traditional coloring books with some good ol’ augmented reality voodoo, colAR brings your kid’s drawings to life in full, animated 3d.

I’m going to put some words down below this video because that’s my job, but seriously, just watch this (though preferably with your own soundtrack):

First, you go to colAR’s web site and print out your coloring page of choice (the free app usually comes with one option included and a few others available for in-app purchase, but their full catalog is free until July 28th). Note that you’ve got to use their coloring page templates — they didn’t make something that can magically convert just any 2D drawing to a rich, animated 3D model, or they’d be too busy sailing around on their mega yachts to be making (super rad) coloring books.

After you’ve printed out the page, bust out that old art box. Color it in with markers, crayons, or any other tool you’d normally use to do some colorin’.

Once you’re done, pop open the app, and hit the “Play” button to bring up a camera view. Hold your drawing up to the camera, and bam! It takes your work of art and wraps it around an animated 3D model. If you picked the bird, it’ll roam around the page and peck for worms. If you picked the plane, it’ll fly around as the clouds whiz by.

I like to think that I built one of the cooler examples of augmented reality, but this one is pretty much perfect. It uses AR in a clever way, but it also does something that would be more or less impossible without AR. Awesome.

If you’re curious as to how it works: it looks like they’re using Unity for the 3D rendering engine, and Qualcomm’s Vuforia framework for the image recognition.

The app is free on both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.

(If you notice a slight decrease in posts today, it’s because a good chunk of the TC staff is busy coloring. Whatever, it’s Friday eventually.)