Could Disney’s 3D Coloring System Make Amazing 3D Prints?

By on October 7th, 2015 in models, Software

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Disney has created an interesting 3D augmented reality app that is able to color 3D models, but could this benefit 3D printing?

Disney is well known for its characters, movies and amusement parks, but you may not be aware of the incredibly powerful research behind the scenes that generates the technology so often seen in their productions. Disney Research is staffed by top-level scientists who work on all manner of related topics. 

One of their recent developments is a method for providing dynamically textured 3D objects based on a 2D color sample. Here’s how it works: 

  • A child is presented with what appears to be a standard 2D coloring book, containing cartoony images of characters. 
  • The child colors the characters in whatever way they like.
  • The new software accepts the child’s color textures and maps them to a pre-made 3D representation of the 2D character.
  • The newly-colored 3D model is shown on a tablet via augmented reality – and it’s animated, too. 

You can see how it works here:

There’s no mention of 3D printing in their research paper, but we think there could be an application of this texturing approach. 

Imagine an online system that would present a simple 2D image that could be colored in by the requester. The desired coloration could be applied to a 3D model, as is done with the Disney application. However, this colorized 3D model could then be sent to a 3D print service for production on a 3D printer capable of reproducing color textures, like a 3D Systems ProJet 660, for example. 

This type of service could be done now, but would only permit simplified and pre-defined texture zones. Disney’s method would allow virtually any color texture imaginable – or drawable. And this would make a nice complement to their augmented reality app: get the character in physical form, too! 

Via Disney Research

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!