Panda-based Digital Puppetry System (Help Needed)

Hi there,

I wanted to post a message because I am looking for assistance with a project I am begining to develop, an open-source digital puppetry system that uses the Panda 3D engine.

I’m currently finishing up work on a 2D digital puppetry engine that allows puppeteers to quickly produce Flash-like animation in real time and want to develop something similar in 3D next. The long-term goal of the project would be to have something similar to Alias MotionBuilder (although less complex) that allows for easy control of digital puppets in real-time using relatively inexpensive off-the-shelf input devices like game joysticks.

I have about 10 years of experience in puppetry (including work with animatronic and digital puppetry systems) and several people have offered to help with any character modelling/rigging that may be needed for demo purposes, but my main difficulty is that I have only a very basic working knowledge of Python and Panda so it would be wonderful to have assistance on the programming end of things.

Is there anyone here on the forum who might be willing to assist with this?


Be aware that there is already a digital puppetry system that uses panda, called “Animateering.” It’s in use at the children’s museum in Pittsburgh, and at “Give Kids the World” in Orlando. Of course, the controls are very much simplified, since it’s meant for young children.

Thanks Josh, I’ve read all of the available documentation on Animateering. As you say, it’s essentially a very simplied version of what I would like to do.

They have not released the source code for that project to the Panda community have they? I assumed not.

You know, I’m not really sure. I don’t know if anybody’s ever asked them for source. I suppose the person to talk to would be Eric Brown - email address “ewbrown”, hostname “andrew” dot “cmu” dot “edu.” He’s one of the students who was on the project last semester. Tell him I (Josh Yelon) sent you - I’m one of his teachers, so he’ll pay attention.

One thing you definitely do want to do is look at the “eve” sample program. It allows you to control eve’s head with the mouse. It’s not much in the way of “puppeteering,” but it shows you basically what you need to do.