Re: Digital Puppetry System Development Posted by Shawn on Mar 15, 2007
So Andrew, are you going to need beta testers for this system.  

It looks great.  I love it and can't wait to see the final product.
Re: Digital Puppetry System Development Posted by Andrew on Mar 15, 2007
Thanks for the joystick recommendations Sonny. The Saitek joysticks are really nice and I actually wanted to pick up a Cyborg Evo, but the problem I have is that here in Mexico electronics made overseas cost twice as much as they do in the U.S. because of import taxes. What seems to happen is that a $30 joystick ends up costing $50-$70. Same thing for Nintendo's Wiimote; I have seen it sold for $38 in Texas, but here it sells for about $70.

I picked up an Acteck Xtreme Pilot - very similar to Saitek's Evo Force joystick - that is made locally (Acteck is a Mexican company) for just 200 pesos (under $20) and it's fantastic. Next time I am in Canada or stateside with a little cash I will probably grab one or two Saitek sticks and I'm dying to use this with Nintendo's Wiimote and Nunchuk.

Eventually, I'd like to custom build a joystick better suited to puppetry and maybe a Waldo too, but for now I am trying to make sure this works first with off-the-shelf hardware.

I will be looking for beta testers, but it's not really ready for that yet. Everything is manual at this point. This is all programmed using something called logic bricks in Blender and right now to use it requires knowledge of Blender's animation system, game engine and a little Python programming. The real magic of Panda Puppet is that it's going to automate the whole process of rigging and programming characters, but I am just starting to work on those functions.

There's no real magic or nothing completely new about what I've done so far. In fact, if anyone wants to try it themselves just download Blender from http://www.blender.org and then the documentation to read/use is:

- Blender: Introduction to Character Animation
- Blender: Introduction to the Game Engine
- "Oto The Cleaner" Blender Game Engine Tutorial
- Python Scripting Basics For Blender Game Engine

After all that, it's just trial and error. Well, it's a lot of trial and error.
Re: Digital Puppetry System Development Posted by Andrew on Mar 19, 2007
Hey, this got some notice on Keith Lango's blog. I thought that was especially neat because I have been going through a lot of the animation tutorials on his site lately.

For those that don't know him, Keith is a really well-respected animator who's worked on Ant Bully and Veggietales, among other things.
Re: Digital Puppetry System Development Posted by Ron G. on Mar 19, 2007
Andrew,

That's a great write-up, along with some interesting comments by other readers. It must be gratifying having your work discovered like that.

Good going!



Ron G.
Re: Digital Puppetry System Development Posted by pantyhose_puppet on May 14, 2007
Andrew,

Absolutely amazing work mate - well done.  I'm a software developer (basic applications) by profession so I know the technical knowlege required to put something like this together - it's fantastic.

Since 1977, I 've been a huge fan of the german electronic band Kraftwerk and a few years ago, they produced a track called Musique Non Stop - here's the video:



I've always wondered how the heads of the band artists were digitised and I think you've now shown me. I have no idea if the video artist used Blender though, what do you reckon?

The live version is even better - sorry if this is a bit off topic but it's really clever:



Keep up the good work Andrew - you're amazing.

Carl

Re: Digital Puppetry System Development Posted by Shawn on May 15, 2007
sorry if this is a bit off topic but it's really clever:

I don't think it is off topic at all.    Hey there is even some black light work in the live show!  I think it really shows how the skills you may develop as a puppeteer can be applied in other fields.  In order to manipulate a puppet you have to know how things move.  Seeing the faces and body in wire-frame animation really breaks it down. Before the computer a puppet builder might have drawn on paper their designs and worked out how the movement would happen.  Now with computers you can do the same thing.  Even if you are going to move to a "real" puppet you could design them in an animation program first and the translate that to the real world.  Remember the computer program that could take a wire-frame and turn it into a flat pattern?    Now where was that thread.... I know it is around here some place.
Re: Digital Puppetry System Development Posted by Ron G. on May 15, 2007
That was great Carl! It made me think of Dire Straits' classic video for Money for Nothing...

Video Removed By YouTube

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_for_Nothing_(song)


Posted by: pantyhose_puppet on May 14, 2007
Since 1977, I 've been a huge fan of the german electronic band Kraftwerk and a few years ago, they produced a track called Musique Non Stop - here's the video:



This really is off topic, but I remember when Kraftwerk's album Trans-Europe Express came out in 1977, my last year of high school, and we used to listen to it in art class while we drew and painted. (Art teachers are cool that way.)



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Europe_Express_(album)


A few years later I found myself living in southern France, and had just attended a conference in another town and my roommate and I had to catch the next train back to where we were living. When we gave them our return tickets they made us pay additional money because the train was all first class seating, and we just had regular tickets. That's when I noticed the name on the side of the train and I said to my companion, "Hey - this is the Trans-Europe Express!" His only reply was, "Yeah, so?"

I guess that being a professional violist, he was more of a classical music fan.

 

Ron G.

PS
Hey, while we're talking about German groups from back then, maybe I should link to 99 Luftballons...



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99_Luftballons
Re: Digital Puppetry System Development Posted by pantyhose_puppet on May 15, 2007
Yes Shawn I did notice Kraftwerk's blacklight performance - their suits really showed up well.

Rong G. Trans-Europe Express was the first track I listened to back in '77 and it's probably my favourite electronic track of all time - so pioneering for its day.  Amazing to hear that you actually rode on the TEE (Trans-Europe Express) in France!

Carl
Re: Digital Puppetry System Development Posted by Ron G. on May 15, 2007
Posted by: pantyhose_puppet on May 15, 2007
Ron G. Trans-Europe Express was the first track I listened to back in '77 and it's probably my favourite electronic track of all time - so pioneering for its day.  Amazing to hear that you actually rode on the TEE (Trans-Europe Express) in France!

Heh... I've been waiting 25 years to tell that story to someone who would know what the heck I was talking about.

The world is full of French violists who say, "Yeah, so?"

 

Ron G.
Re: Digital Puppetry System Development Posted by Andrew on Sep 04, 2007
I am still plugging away at Panda Puppet...a very fast, brand new top-of-the-line desktop computer was recently (and very kindly) donated to the project which has made working on it much easier and more productive. I hope to have a public beta version ready sometime this fall.

Here's my latest experiment:


https://youtu.be/

The way this works is that the jaw is controlled by a joystick in real-time. Only took a few minutes to set-up too!
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