Blender, the insanely-powerful free 3D modeling software (and compositing software, and animation software, and game engine) is finally coming of age. And with it, so, too, are some of its plug-ins. Witness the sophistication of Pyppet, a “digital puppetry” plug-in for Blender. It allows you to take 3D models you’ve created and “perform” them in real-time using a variety of inputs, including the lowly mouse, gamepads, microphone audio input, and even the Nintendo Wii remote.

In case you’re not a talented 3D character modeler (cough, okay, as I certainly am not), you’ll be especially interested as visualists in the addition of video playback via VLC. That could make Pyppet a VJ tool. In 3D.

That starts to put Pyppet along another entirely free and open source tool, Animata. Animata focused more on 2.5-D animation and simple skeletons – which, for some tasks at least, I expect makes Animata the easier of these two tools! Still, for those of you tired of watching VJ video loops played through kaleidoscope filters… (Wow! A silhouette of like, a dancing lady!) The future is beautiful.

We’re working on chatting with folks in the Blender community to get better documentation and tutorials here on CDM, as Blender I know can be an imposing package. Volunteers welcome. But the timing couldn’t be better: as the Blender folks polish off the major 2.5 milestone, we have the most usable, powerful version of Blender yet just around the corner. If you’ve put off learning this tool, now could be the time.

For more on Pyppet:

Pyppet for Blender Update [Blender Nation]

Thanks, Giorgio, for the tip!