Reverse Shadow Theatre from gabor papp on Vimeo.

There’s no shortage of stunning motion graphics in the world. But something’s missing: human beings. Sure, you can render endless, polished animations, but can you perform with animation like you can a musical instrument? Just as studio recording gloss and sameness has made people crave live music in clubs, so, too, has increasingly sophisticated visual software.

Enter Animata, an incredible-looking 3D animation tool. By working in real-time, it enables performance, physical control by live bodies, sound reactivity, and interactivity. And its unique approach to design makes it incredibly quick to build characters and put them in motion, thanks to simplified, bone-like character geometry and physics models. From the creators’ site:

The peculiarity of the software is that the animation – the movement of the puppets, the changes of the background – is generated in real-time, making continuous interaction possible. This ability also permits that physical sensors, cameras or other environmental variables can be attached to the animation of characters, creating a cartoon reacting to its environment. For example, it is quite simple to create a virtual puppet band reacting to live audio input, or set up a scene of drawn characters controlled by the movement of dancers.

In contrast with the traditional 3D animation programs, creating characters in Animata is quite simple and takes only a few minutes. On the basis of the still images, which serve as the skeleton of the puppets, we produce a network of triangles, some parts of which we link with the bone structure. The movement of the bones is based on a physical model, which allows the characters to be easily moved.

Watch how quickly those characters are animated. That has an added benefit: by saving time on the animation side, you have more flexibility to do the hard work of choreography, adjusting physical inputs, and integrated media, instead of lots of reinventing the wheel just to get some static animation done that won’t work with the dance. (I, uh, speak from experience here.)

Animata: rigid body creation from bencesamu on Vimeo.

I imagine that some creative abuse of these tools could produce idiosyncratic results nothing like even these jaw-dropping demos. Have a look: it’s entirely open-source, cross-platform, and comes with a number of tutorials. I can’t wait to see what people do with us, so be sure to share your projects!

Animata Project Page

Animata Jazz Pub from gabor papp on Vimeo.

Thanks to grigori for finding this: vdmo Kstati