Coloring books are having a moment right now. Whether you’re using markers to scribble in the pages of Johanna Basford’s Enchanted Forest or colored pencils to color in Jon Snow in the upcoming Game of Thrones coloring book, there’s no denying that the easy and meditative art form has become a global sensation. Building on this explosive trend, Disney has decided to take things to the next level.


The company known for their legendary animation has developed a new technology that will not only allow drawings to come to life, but will also show the coloring progress in 3D in real time. This new development is piggybacking off Crayola Color Alive!, an augmented reality app launched at the beginning of this year that turns 2D colored drawings into 3D works of art. All you have to do to create this coloring magic is snap a picture of the page through the accompanying Crayola app. The program then uses color recognition so that the 3D creatures translated on-screen look exactly the same as what was created on paper. The books even come with a set of crayons that includes a special color which creates on-screen effects like fire, ice blasts or pixie dust.

Taking that idea further, Disney Research has developed a way to not only allow kids to bring their drawings to life after they color, but also while they’re coloring. A new and improved version of the app uses a tablet or mobile device’s camera to see what the 3D version of the drawing looks like as the process is happening.


The technology is still in its development phase, so you’ll have to stick with the Crayola Color Alive! books to get your 3D fix for now, but when this does eventually launch it could be a great way to get kids excited about the activity in a way that’s relevant to the type of computer and app-based games they love. That being said, we’re also hoping this doesn’t just end with children’s designs. We’re daydreaming about a version of one of Johanna Basford’s coloring books getting a 3D treatment, and it’s already making us feel like we’ve slipped into another dimension.

Would you be into a 3D coloring book? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

(Photos via Crayola Research)