Monday, April 13, 2015

Digital Wayang Kulit

Here's a nine minute demo of a Digital Wayang Kulit (Indonesian shadow puppetry) program developed at the MSc in Digital Education program at University of Edinburgh. The 2D figure is controlled by the digital Dalang (puppeteer) using a Gametrak controller and a Wiimote.

There have been a lot of shadow puppet inspired digital puppetry demos created over the years (this one is from 2013), but I love how fluid the movement of this one is.

Special thanks to Jane for submitting this!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Character Animator - A 2D Real-Time Animation tool from Adobe

Adobe has just unveiled a new 2D digital puppetry - or have we all agreed to call this field real-time animation now? - application called Character Animator. A demo of the software is provided in the video above, but essentially it's a tool for animating 2D bitmap (Photoshop) and vector (Illustrator) still characters in real-time using a camera, microphone, head tracking and facial mo-cap.

In addition to basic mo-cap and lip sync capabilities, it also allows users to create programmable behaviors and will support the creation of 3rd party plug ins. I haven't tried it myself yet, but it looks like it could be a very easy-to-use and potentially powerful tool for creating basic 2D animated characters in real-time.

Adobe Character Animator is currently in beta and available for testing by After Effects CC users. You can learn more here.

Via The Labyrinth.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Unbelievably impressive demo of the Unreal Engine 4

It's been far, far too long since I posted an update here on Machin-X, but I may be (finally) returning to some digital puppetry work in the near future and when I saw this demo for the Unreal Engine 4 I had to share it.

It is, well, pretty unreal:
The Kite open world demo created in Unreal Engine 4 features a diverse and beautifully realized 100 square mile landscape. Everything is generated completely in real-time at 30fps and includes fully dynamic direct and indirect illumination, cinematic depth of field and motion blur, and procedurally placed trees and foliage.
Real-time 3D sure has come a long way since I first worked on a TV pilot for a proposed kids' series using cardboard cut-outs and blob tracking with a webcam to create some 2D flash animation almost a decade ago.

I wonder where this technology will go in the ten years or so?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Henson Digital Puppetry Studio

This is a brand new promotional reel for the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, the patented real-time animation/digital puppetry system developed by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Monday, September 09, 2013

This is a simple, but nonetheless very effective example of 2D digital puppetry created using Unity and a Kinect.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Animatic Digital Puppetry System

A look at "Animatic", a digital puppetry system that was developed by Luis Leite (see previous post) using 3D Studio Max and Macromedia Director in 2006. The system was developed as part of his research thesis Marionetas Virtuais.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Digital Puppeteer Mario Mey

This is a new demo reel for Argentinian digital puppeteer Mario Mey that shows off his digital characters performing en EspaƱol at various live events (his character Pinokio 3D was mentioned here back in 2010) . He creates and performs his "Marionetas Digitales" (digital puppet) characters using Blender 3D and PureData, a real-time graphical dataflow programming environment for audio, video, and graphics.

You can see Mario at work and get a look at his production process in this video, however it was recorded in Spanish.