Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Panda Puppet Update

Panda Puppet logo
It's been quite awhile since I updated Machin-X and for that I apologise; I'm hoping to be able to do more frequent updates in the future. I've gotten dozens of emails about Panda Puppet over the past few months so I wanted to post an update about the project, where it's at and what is (and isn't) happening with it right now.

I have not done any serious work on Panda Puppet for most of this year. This is due in part because I've been busy on other puppetry-related projects, but also because I have been waiting for a number of new features in Blender that I believe will improve it's usability for Machinima/digital puppetry purposes.

I do currently have a very crude working version of Panda Puppet (for Blender 2.46),but it's extremely basic, hacked together and not really suitable for public release (browse the Panda Puppet posts to see some of the old demos). There have been lots of great improvements to Blender's game engine this year (most of them developed for the Apircot video game project). The two huge new features that I've been waiting for are full character animation in real-time and real-time softbodies in Bullet, Blender's physics engine. All of the new features developed for Apricot will be included in Blender 2.48, which is tentatively scheduled for release next week. Once that is out and Ashid's great video texture plugin is updated to work with 2.48 I think it'll be time to get back to serious work on Panda Puppet again.

There seems to be serious interest in putting together a small developer's site for the project and I'm also applying for a grant that would help speed along development on Panda Puppet. In the meantime, I would love to get some help with the project. Is anybody out there handy with rigging armatures in Blender? If you are drop me a line at puppetvision {at} gmail dot com.

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