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Pyppet - real-time character control with sound and gamepads


Goat Man wrote:

I developed the software first as its own app, later did importer/exporter for blender, and finally integrated with blender. I am starting on documentation now. The basic concept is animate by puppeteering, and doing it in layers. This video shows the process:

An audio file can be loaded and then synced to. The server process runs inside of blender, so saving saves a blender file that you can tweak and render later. Any character can be imported if it follows these rules: no direct bone animation (bones always constrained to an empty), shape animation and lattice shape animation is ok.

In the video above the character walks by being posed using the dual analogs on a gamepad. Each analog fades to 4 predefined poses. (the poses are setup in Blender before hand) The character can then move forward or back. Holding L1, L2, R1, R2 on the gamepad shifts the pose index up, so up to 40 poses are possible. After the basic poses have been recorded for the entire character, then you can go back and apply animation ontop of each object. Shape animation and camera animation are recorded on their own layers to.

The software is for Ubuntu (Gusty and later), but it will also come with an experimental version for winXP.


Update: download link updated, with thanks to

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. I contacted the author about the download link. It worked fine when I posted this, but there's a limit of 10 downloads on it :(

  2. WOW!!!!! Now that's that's awesome!!! Jim Henson eat your heart out!!

    TON!!! if your reading this! PLEASE consider adding this to Blender!!!

    It would add a very cool addition to animating in Blender!

  3. Would be even greater if you're integrating this techinique inside Blender, so we don't need to swap from one to another, also because Blender is powerfull enough to do this, so have to import/export into another app is pointless.

  4. Bearubs, i think the hand-held look is possible, at least you should be able to get close. It would help if i implemented the wiimote for the camera to. I am interested to hear how many ubuntu users with wiimotes and bluetooth there are?

    VanPelt, the lipsync is done in real time by processing the sound from a microphone, although it will not work in every case, but maybe if you fine tune per shot, the dog-rapping Old Dirty Bastard used only voice capture to drive the lips-shape and jaw-bone animation. Doing the facial animation with the gamepad is more precise. Mapping sound to other events, like poses, maybe light changes, i think that could be interesting.

    Where i am located there is no 24hour internet, otherwise i would just seed a torrent for this, can anybody help out? i have a rapidshare link to the latest version. just email me at [email protected]

  5. Paul F. Chang on

    the animation itself looks terrible, there's no ease in-out. If this is the best this techique can do, i think keying by hand is the way to go.

  6. Paul, the 'dog singing the blues' animation was done a few versions back, so it does not fully represent what is possible with the technique. Things like ease-in and out could be done with additive layers in the current beta. What i did with that first video was the simplest test: each body part was puppeteered one at a time.

    Keying by hand may not be the way to go if time is a larger factor, i did the dog singing the blues in just 3 hours.

  7. great work, a windows version is much apreciated and as someone else already said this should be emerged in blender. And thx for using you tube those fimeo vids never work .

  8. OmG! this tool will be extraordinary and will bring so much of convenience, Bravo!this is a must have tool for animators!

  9. Brig, I am not using Verse protocol. Actually i am not using INET sockets, they are slower, and in this case there is no need to talk on a network. The client talks to the server inside of Blender over a simple pipe. Those who know python, and have the new beta can checkout "" in the pyppet folder - this part of the program is open source, and from there you can understand the protocol in detail.

  10. unsettlingsilence on

    This is a great idea and I look forward to checking it out once a good link is up. There is a lot of potential in this approach. More options in the Blender arsenal is always a good thing.

  11. I've long thought game pad control to define animation is an excellent idea. It can then be cleaned up later, if necessary.

    What specific make and model of controller did you use? The logitech gamepads below don't mention linux support.,en

    After looking at the Motion4U videos, I can see the potential of using a 3D mouse when creating puppet-like animation. I would buy a wii remote and bluetooth specifically for this purpose. What is that weird mouse in the Motion4U videos, and what does it cost, I wonder? Maybe that's the way to go.

    Excellent work!

  12. rtownsend, if you are looking for a 3d mouse and you buy a wiimote for that purpose you will be dissapointed. The wiimote is good at picking up jitters, shakes, quick movements - so multiple wiimotes working together could be quite good for gesture recognition - and this is the direction i am headed after 1.0 is released. But for the time being, if your looking for good control in 3D space, the simplest thing is just use a gamdpad, and doing axis X,Y on the first pass, and Z as an additive pass. It may seem just like more work two passes, but i have found it gives me more time to think and sculpt the animation out.

    I have tested several gamepads on linux, it appears everything except the xbox360 control should work out of the box.
    Personally i use a logitech dual action, and also a generic brand 'Speed'

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