Disney Augmented Reality Costumes Are Coming to Disney Parks


Disney fans hold on to your seats because you soon may be able to take photos in your favorite Disney character out fits without having to put on a costume. Disney Research has introduced AR Costumes, a new method of AR capture that will instantly overlay a “watertight” digital costume onto the subject’s body using a standard image.

Disney Research displayed this new concept to audiences in a short video on their official Disney Research Hub YouTube channel. They hope to roll the Augmented Reality outfits out shortly to all theme park guests.

Disney’s team is able to supply the digital outfit over a person’s clothing with detailed accuracy. Subjects use a combination of techniques that are called “pose matching” and “inpainting” to make the AR costumes work. Some outfits include Disney favorites like princesses, Jedi, and Avengers.

On Disney’s website, disneyresearch.com, the team goes into further details on the proper mythology for removing unwanted clothing that is easy to do since the team created an inpainting technique.

They then demonstrate the technology by outfitting several people in tight, futuristic space suits, then having them strike several poses with any revealing artifacts.

“To our knowledge, our approach is the first to deliver plausible watertight costumes from RGB imagery only, and is compatible with mobile devices,” the company states in the description of the video. “We believe this can serve as a useful baseline for future improvements and comparisons.”

Due to differences in hardware, the 2-D pose estimation program would have problems successfully working on the variety of phones that users have; Disney Research’s solution was to make it cloud-based. The entire process of render an image and projecting the image only took around two seconds.

The AR outfits do have some limitations though. Even though a fair amount of the users clothing is covered, some warping does occur around the user’s body due to the augmentation. It’s not a big deal but it still is noticeable to the user. The program has 12 poses that may be matched to the user, and poses which create shapes not included on that list won’t be replicated. Size is also an issue, as some characters appear larger than others, but that problem might possibly be solved by judging the subject’s shoulder and feet proportions.

“Imagine taking a selfie and magically wearing your favorite character or hero’s suit. While we did see digital cloth added onto people in the past, it was often with a depth camera such as a [Microsoft] Kinect, which is not always reliable in outdoor conditions, and is not as widespread as monocular cameras on mobile devices.”

Disney Research is working to improve their current methods by adding more powerful poses and shape estimation. They hope that one day the program will be able to augmented costumed with exaggerated proportions and even be able to operate in real-time.

Disney is planning to introduce the AR outfits to all theme park guests. Guests may even be able to use AR goggles inside of parks, where performers can portray Disney characters looking more realistic than before.