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Bear Town - An Open Movie Using Blender


Bear Town Sample 1.pngLook out Muppets, Andrew Young is about to bring classic puppetry and cg together into a feature length film.

I asked Andrew, writer and director of about the project and how Blender is involved:

Bear Town is primarily a puppetry movie, but for budgetary reasons it will be making extensive use of 3D matte paintings, set extensions and digital sets. Blender is being used in two ways. First, it's the primary software that's being used to model and and animate most of the CG elements of the film.

bear-town concept2.jpg

The other way it's being used is that I'm using the game engine to develop an open-source digital puppetry application called Panda Puppet. The idea behind Panda Puppet is to have a "plug and play" system that puppeteers can use to perform 3D animated characters in real-time. A puppeteer can perform a character with Panda Puppet, record their performance and then the recorded IPO data can be exported to Blender and tweaked and edited as necessary before final rendering just like a regular animation.

Bear Town Sample 3.png

He also told me more about the film in general and its status as an "open movie."

Bear Town is an open movie and many of the film's elements (original textures, .blend files, puppet patterns, etc.) will be released online. We are still at a very early stage - at the moment it's just myself and a few other people working on the film and formal pre-production work just started last week. Keep an eye on the blog as I'll likely be updating a few times a week as work on the film picks up.

And as the site shows the project in pre-production I was interested in the gallery images.

The CG images displayed on the web site [via Flickr] are conceptual art. They are fairly representative of the look I'd like for the film, but with this kind of project that may or may not evolve and change over the next year.

bear-town concept1.jpg

Andrew also mentioned to me that he is currently looking for Blender artists to contribute to the project, especially with modeling and texturing. So if you are interested in joining the team get in touch with Andrew. Be sure to check out some of Andrew's work in action from the 2004 web series episodes.

About the Author


Just a guy really into 3D, especially where Blender is concerned.


  1. the panda puppet thing sounds awsome. I was just wondering though, how exactly do you control all those movements at once with a keyboard and mouse. I know they have equiptment for programs like that so I was curious how this'll be set up.

  2. Ideally, the X-Y axis movement of a characater in a scene, it's head movement and lip-sync will be controlled with a dataglove, while a variety of pre-programmable moves can be trigger using a multi-button joystick, much in the same way that an avatar in a video game is controlled.

    The system is sort of loosely modelled on the control systems used for animatronic puppet characters. I have some info about that in the archives of my 'Machin-X' digital puppetry blog at if you're interested.

    One of the things I am trying to do is set it up so that it can be used with a different types of peripherals or even just the keyboard if need be, although I think that would not work nearly as well.

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