Monday, January 22, 2007

Panda Puppet: Day One

Panda Puppet Digital Puppetry Studio

This morning I am sitting down at the computer for my first official day working at Panda Puppet. If you've followed Machin-X for a long time you'll know that Panda Puppet has been in the works for awhile. It grew out of some work I did about a year and a half ago developing a system called Flash Puppet that was used to produce a demo for a Flash Animated children's series in the U.S. When the system is finished, Panda Puppet will be a "studio in a box" that will allow you to produce real-time animation via a puppetry interface. It's being built using Blender, the leading open source 3d modelling and animation software package.

Various work has been going with Panda Puppet part-time off and on for about a year, a lot of it focused on experimenting with different ways to allow puppeteers to control characters in a digital 3D environment. I wasn't expecting to start full-time work on Panda Puppet until sometime in the summer, but as luck would have some basic real-time animation would be very useful for an upcoming project so getting the system up and running is now a priority. The specs for everything are pretty much in place and I think I've got the hardware issues I mentioned last year licked. I'm committed to delivering a proof-of-concept in about eight weeks so I'm going to be very, very busy writing and testing computer code for the next two months.

I'll be blogging my progress on Panda Puppet and explaining more about the system and how it works in the coming days and weeks. Assuming everything gets working properly this is going to be really, really nice to play with.

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