Jan 9, 2015 | By Simon

When it comes to toymakers who respond well to new technology and adapting trends into their product line, Crayola ranks up there among those whose strategy tends to work time and time again... ultimately keeping an age-old coloring method relevant over and over again.  

Image credit: 3D Systems

The world-famous crayon company is extending that reach into 3D printing alongside 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems to launch Color Alive, a system that utilizes mobile apps, photography, augmented reality and 3D printing technologies to bring children’s creations to life both digitally and in the real world.  

Announced in October 2014, the Color Alive platform starts like most other Crayola projects before it takes on a life of its own: in a coloring book.  

Image credit: Michael Docktor

Starting with a fully-colored page from one of the $5.99 Color Alive coloring books, children are able to use a free iOS or Android app and a smartphone to photograph the colored page.  Once a photograph of the page is taken, the app allows children to animate their character using augmented reality and a technology that is able to recognize a children’s choice of colors for their design.  Ultimately, no matter how a child colors their page, the app will interpret the colors and project them digitally exactly as they were drawn.  There is also the option for on-screen effects that interact with the characters once they have been drawn.

Additionally, users will also have the option to send the character off to be 3D printed and delivered to their door a few days later.  Using the color recognition technology used in the augmented reality app, the full-color 3D printed object will arrive just as it was colored on the page.

At launch, Color Alive! will be available in four coloring books: Mythical Creatures, Enchanted Garden, Skylanders and Barbie. It will have limited availability in select retailers beginning this month with a nationwide debut in February 2015.

“At Crayola, we are all about inspiring creativity through colour and innovative play experiences,” said Crayola’s CEO Mike Perry.

“Children are incredibly digitally savvy and the offline experience continues to be so important because it allows kids to colour the world through their own imagination and bring it to life.”

While this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen 3D prints inspired by children’s drawings, it is certainly among the most polished offerings thanks to Crayola’s partnership with 3D Systems... who alone have made their own significant announcements at this year’s CES 2015.

“Color Alive offers a truly unified creative experience that transforms the way that parents and kids think about colouring.”

The Color Alive! app is available on iOS, Android and Windows smartphones and tablets, as well as iPod Touch. Crayola has also created a sample pdf for users to test out the app here.   


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Skylar Huston wrote at 2/17/2015 12:59:24 AM:

Who came up with this amazing idea?

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