Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Crayola combines Colouring and Augmented Reality in Color Alive

Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children

As an Art and Craft (plus more) company, Crayola has never ceased to amaze us! They are quick to follow modern day tech savvy children's need and created one after another product to help children develop their creativity, on top of their art and craft skills. This is the kind of company that will keep their customers interested and happy!

Although there are bits of debugging and updating happening, I believe that Crayola's latest product range - Color Alive is another winning range they've created. We were sent the Enchanted Forest and Mythical Creatures Color Alive packs to review, and we were really impressed (okay yes we are easily impressed, but seriously, wow!). We are still trying to figure out how it works! Read on and you'll understand what I mean.

Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children

Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children

Left screen appears during the first time you start the app
Product Information:

Crayola Color Alive Colouring Packs (RRP £6.99 per pack) currently comes in 4 titles - Enchanted Forest, Mystical Creatures, Barbie and Skylanders. Each book contains 16 colouring pages, 1 special effect marker and 6 pip-squeaks washable markers.

The Color Alive app by DAQRI 4D is free to download from App Store, Google Play and Windows Store. All the features from the app requires internet connection. Apart from interacting with the book through the Play option, you can also download additional pages through Get More Colouring Pages for a small fee (£1.30 for about 8 pages). You can access/ download pages from your book through My Saved Stuff, as well as characters you've coloured and saved under 4D mode (more about this later).

Note: There is also a Crayola Color Alive crayon version for each title, but for some reason they are marked at RRP £40.57 on Amazon UK. I'm guessing that they might not be out yet in the UK and these are shipped from overseas.

Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children

Left: A successful scan of a page will look like this.
Special Effects:

For the special effect markers to take effect, after selecting a book, scan the name of the special effect markers like in the above picture (or closer. It doesn't really matter as long as the name is seen). Once they are scanned, they can be used in any of the books.

Note: There is a chance that the app might mistake dark brown as the Fiery Breath (for ours anyway).

All the Color Alive Markers can be used in any of the books. In the above picture the special effect marker from Mystical Creature - Fire Breath is working at the same time as the Enchanted Forest special effect marker - Pixie Dust, in the book Enchanted Forest. It is so cool! We'll have to collect the other 2 special effect markers as well, it will be amazing!

It is unfortunate that the special effects won't appear in 4D mode, but 4D mode has its own special effects which is awesome too!

Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children

Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children
Left: If you coloured the tree, mailbox and broom in the picture, these will be coloured too
Right: Little Witch is completely out of the picture, yet the app hasn't reset it like other AR games! Thumbs up!
4D/ AR:

I purposely coloured the rose wand only to see what the app will do with uncoloured pages (and I should leave the rest to Abby hehe), and look! It's absolutely amazing! It has got all the colours right (although the rose should be a bit pinker*), and the little witch is still uncoloured! Also, if you shade your colours (darker in some area), the app will take that into account as well so you can create a nice pattern on the dress.

*Edit: just noticed that it's the correct pink!

By moving the camera around the character, you can see different sides of them. However the character will only face one way (the bottom of the page). You can use the touch screen to move the character wherever you want, even off the screen (ie away from the colouring page). I moved her so far that I ended up standing behind her! Other apps I've tried before would reset as soon as the base (usually a card) has disappeared from the camera range so I found this highly amusing!

You can also save the character (into My Saved Stuff-Book-Characters) to play with them next time.

  • For some reason, this function didn't work for us. We can save the character, but it didn't appear in the My Saved Stuff-Enchanted Forest-Characters where it is supposed to. I've checked a few comments and reviews, and found 1 person in the US having the same issue, though no one else mentioned about whether this feature worked for them so I can't come to conclusion whether this is an issue of the app or my phone. I have passed on my feedback anyway and it's being checked out.

It is another great selling point though as children can go anywhere with their creations and take selfies with them without bringing the coloured pages.

Another fun thing to do is that children can also play with the 4D base. A few question marks appeared on the base (on this picture anyway) and once clicked, something will pop out from it (the broom, mailbox and tree). The treasure chest appeared out of nowhere after the 3 has "spawned" and once clicked, it sucked the 3 items in and disappeared!


Can you understand why we are so excited and impressed? Although we have encountered the odd bug, the whole concept is fascinating. It encourage children to be more patient and finish their colouring (mine needed that), so that they can see their own creation (sort of) come to life. It has definitely brought colouring to another level! For £6.99 plus a free app, it will make a fantastic gift any time! Just make sure that, like all other children's app, you download it onto something you don't need all the time like your phone... also, as all the other Internet required apps/ games, it drains battery pretty quickly.


You can check if your device is compatible before buying here. I've tested it on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and it works fine, albeit the occasional bug. If it doesn't scan the pages well (ie the 4D buttons didn't pop up), you can try the following:

  • Check your My Saved Stuff - Book - Pages. Click on the uncoloured pages to scan all the pages for your book (applicable only for the book you've bought. You can however buy pages from other books from Get More Coloring Pages).
  • Try scanning a different page, and come back to the page you want when it's successful
  • Cover your camera lens for a while to reset it, then try scanning again.

I haven't spotted a special effect marker refill yet, but you can simply use any Crayola pip-squeak washable markers (not sure if it will work with others) for the normal colours.