15 August 2018

Augmented Reality Colouring App for Children- Developer Q&A

Posted By Laura Thompson
3D Modelling Alexander's Skipton apps AR AR colouring AR in gaming augmented reality interactive technology smart phone apps

If you follow our blog or social media, you’ll know that we recently collaborated with bar and restaurant Alexander’s, based in Skipton, North Yorkshire and a branch of our parent company, Peel Entertainment Group, to develop a cutting edge Augmented Reality (AR) colouring experience for children.
We sat down with Matt Murphy, our in-house developer, to take us through how he made this exciting project a reality.
- How would you explain the colouring app?
The idea behind the app is to engage a younger audience in a fun way, using a medium they will already understand and have experience of – a colouring book – with the unique twist of bringing their creation to life.

- Can you explain Augmented Reality for anyone who is new to the concept?
Augmented Reality is the overlaying of digital content on top of the real world. Good augmented reality overlays digital content in a way that it still remains seated in its environment, as if it had always been there.

- Which programmes and software did you use to create the AR and digital game features of the app?
Our pipeline is tried and tested using industry standard tools. We create 3D assets in Maya, texture them with the Substance Suite of tools and bring them to life through Unity and C# programming.

- Are you happy with the finished result?
Yes, it’s great proof that the concept works.

- Did you have any difficulties along the way?
We have a lot of experience in creating augmented reality content, but this is the first time we’ve taken user input and used it in our augmented world – sanitising user input can be difficult – even more so when the input is a coloured-in sheet of paper.

- Where do you see the app working/being rolled out to next?
The app is really suited to anywhere families might gather and need a way to keep their children occupied. For years, many restaurants have provided colouring in sheets for kids, so this is a natural step forward.

- What is your background/experience?
I’m a creator at heart. I’ve had all kinds of jobs from graphic design to web development, but the best thing about what I do is that I get to make the assets and then bring them to life.

- Can you put what you do into less than 10 words for us?
Creating great digital experiences.

- What advice would you give to students starting out their career in app development?
There is a huge amount of free tools and learning resources out there. If you’ve got an idea, just go ahead and try to create it. Don’t be afraid of failing or things not working out the first time you try it. Every time you fail you’ve just learnt something that might help you in the future.

- Where do you take your inspiration from?
People who can change what used to be the standard ways of doing things for new, genuinely better options. A great example is Elon Musk – first changing the world of online payment with PayPal and then going on to create Tesla which has challenged the automotive industry in a number of ways.

- What was your favourite computer game as a child?

- What do you think is the biggest tech buzz word out there at the moment?
Blockchain (A public record of transactions, originally devised for the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin).