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23 Aug 2017

‘Create your own masterpiece’ with interactive colour editing from Disney Research

Disney’s research and development arm has come up with a new way to interact with art – creating an augmented reality application that allows users to recolour paintings.

Called AR Museum with the tag line “create your own masterpiece”, the technology is intended for museums and exhibitions, and aims to provide an entertaining way for interacting with paintings in a non-intrusive manner.

The application, which can run on any smartphone or tablet, works by utilising a set of corresponding alpha colour channels and then creating customisable colour edits by using these layers.

The technology has been created with young visitors in mind, which Disney Research says will help them to engage with art they might not otherwise be interested in. To interact, users simply select the colour they wish to change and pick an alternate, which will then change on screen.

“The mobile app allows users to play and interact with the colors of paintings by utilising colour layers and visualising their work through AR,” said Disney Research Zurich’s Mattia Ryffel, who worked on the project.

“To use the app, the user stands in front of a painting, holding a mobile device facing the painting. On the screen, a live video stream from the back-facing camera is presented to the user. As they point the mobile device at the painting, a virtual version of the same painting is shown, seamlessly integrated into the real world. To the user, the physical painting is replaced with a virtual, digitally enhanced version. The user can now click on different regions of the virtual painting to throw paint drops, which recolors regions of the virtual painting.”

This is not Disney Research’s first foray into augmented reality and colour, with the development team creating an augmented reality colouring book in 2015. In that instance, users could view specially-designed images through an app, the character they drew would come to life in an augmented 3D virtual space.

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