A new Disney Research project can make coloring books more exciting for those of us with limited art skills. The team has built an interactive Android and iOS coloring book app using the Unity game engine that can take a colored drawing and turn it into an augmented reality object on screen -- and, yes, as you can see above, it retains the original artwork's texture. In fact, the app can generate parts of the object in the same texture even if you only color a 2D picture. For example, if you fill in the front-facing line drawing of the elephant above, the app will show you a backside that resembles your masterpiece. It's definitely not perfect, but it works.
The app does that by copying pixels from your piece and adapting them for use on the object's other regions. It also transforms your drawing into a 3D object in real time, so you can actually watch it getting colored on screen. We hope the researchers expand the app's capabilities in time -- it could, for instance, use the characters in interactive games. Unfortunately, you can't download the app or buy the accompanying coloring book for now, but you can read more about the study on the lab's website and watch the tech in action below.