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If you’ve ever had the thought: “Wouldn’t it be great if I could do all my skinning, rigging and animation directly in Unity,” you’re not alone. In fact, that’s exactly what was going through the mind of Asset Store publisher, Jamie Niman (AKA Puppetman) when he developed the insanely powerful Puppet2D, and the more recent, Puppet3D animation tools.

As a technical animator, Jamie had plenty of experience working with tools like Maya on films such as World War Z, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Harry Potter.

For the last six years, however, as Senior Technical Artist at Preloaded in London, his focus has been: games, games, games.

“Making games for clients means short turnaround times, so Unity suits us perfectly from that point of view,” Jamie says. “And with the introduction of Timeline and other tools, animating directly in Unity is beginning to feel a lot like it does in other professional 3D animation software.

But Jamie wanted to take that one step further. Having created rigging tools in Maya previously, Jamie wanted to develop a tool that would enable artists to do all their skinning, rigging and animation directly in Unity.

Creating the illusion of life

Bring your scenes to life — you can rig anything with Puppet3D

As Brad Bird once said, animation is about creating the illusion of life. If that’s true, then it fits well with Jamie’s goal of creating tools that enable animators to focus on their art.

“I’ve always looked at rigging as being like a puppet maker. You want to make controls that are user-friendly, so the animator can concentrate on the performance part. I try to make it as easy as possible for animators to add those little sparks of character and animation that polish the game and bring it to life,” he says.

So what can you actually do with Puppet3d?

Puppet3D opens up everything in your game to be rigged and animated without having to go back and forth between Maya (or another program) and Unity. Naturally, that covers quite a lot of ground, and the possibilities of what you can do with Puppet3D are quite varied. Here are three examples:

  1. Modify existing animations
    You could download non-animated characters (or ones that don’t have the exact animation you had in mind), and the one-click “ModRig” feature will automatically rig it for you with controls that make animating easy.
  2. Do some quick skinning
    Perhaps you’ve got an unskinned character. Using the Autorig feature, you can quickly get it skinned to bones and rigged. It’ll also have an idle and walk cycle on it. Or if you’ve made any other animations with Puppet3D, the control animations that are made with one autorigged character will work on another autorigged character. You can also get these animations onto any Unity humanoid with the “ModRig” feature.
  3. Add more life to a cutscene
    Puppet3D is not just for characters. You could, for example, rig a vine so it swings in the wind, or add bones to a chair to make it run off before someone sits in it.

Big in Japan

Puppet3D has only been out for a few months, but based on his past experience as an Asset Store publisher, Jamie has every reason to believe that Puppet3D will be embraced by Unity artists.

His first asset was Puppet2D, a 2D version of the current 3D title, which had followed the introduction of Unity features like sprite support and the 2D view, and really took off in the Unity community. In fact, it’s success took Jamie by surprise.

“It dawned on me that I’d made something really well known when I saw a tweet linking to a book about it, which someone had published in Japan. I ordered a copy right away — it’s sort of a souvenir for me,” he says. “The Unity Asset Store has allowed me to make tools for a much larger audience. It so exciting to think of all the games that have been made with my tools, like the award-winning puzzle game, Hue, and the popular arcade platformer, Damsel, to name just a couple of them.”

Jamie plans to continue making new rigging features for Puppet3D, and of course, supporting all of his assets, which will keep him busy for a while. However, he doesn’t rule out creating new assets in the future.

“My head is always running through new asset idea, and eventually, it’ll be hard to resist making one of them,” he says.

Get Puppet3D and InControl for FREE

If you spend at least $99 during the month of June, you can get Puppet3D plus InControl for free and start animating directly in Unity to give your characters that extra spark of life. Just be sure to activate the promotion using your Unity ID first.

Comments are closed.

  1. This is a June Promotional Question.

    Hi,

    I saw the June Promotions, and activated it a week ago, and never got an e-mail about the activation (First promotion, thought it was normal). this morning, i just bought 150$ worth of assets, and never got the June Promotional Assets.

    Recently I just received an e-mail from the aset store stating i’ve spent 0$ towards the promotion. When this isn’t true! I activated the promotion first (a week ago), and bought the assets this morning. Sort of frustrated on this as I spent more on a few wishful items, just for the promotional items.

    Need help for this!

    1. Hi Alex,

      support@unity3d.com is the best place to ask for help on this. However, it sounds like maybe you submitted with a different email than your asset store account?

      You can submit again, if you’d like, here: http://assetstore.unity.com/g/june-promo-activation

      And contact support@unity3d.com for more details. Thanks!!

  2. Very interesting post indeed. 3D games are becoming more and more interesting to play this time. It is basically an animation base 3D imaging. It looks great. It can create the illusion to human life. If you need any kind of support you can go through Microsoft Support UK

  3. Hi, I also purchased $99 worth of assets this month, and did not get any email. An automatic email would be great at this point, almost had a conniption when I didn’t get one!!

    1. I’m glad you didn’t have a conniption :)

      I agree an auto-email would be nice. We’ll be processing the early rewards soon, though it may take a few work days to get all the vouchers organized and sent out.

  4. And next month it will be integregated into Unity 2018… only joking, but looks good!

  5. Isaac Surfraz

    June 6, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Congrats jamie for getting featured :) Been a great asset store developer for years now!

  6. Thank you for offering for such great permotion.

    yesterday I first activated the permotion , then bought more then 250 $ worth of assets,
    I did’t even get any permotion Email.

    now I don’t know how to access those 5 free assets please advice.

    1. Hi Hassan — I’m glad you’re taking advantage of the promotion! Officially vouchers will be going out after the promotion ends, at the end of the month. But, we know you don’t want to wait that long, so we’ll be processing the rewards periodically throughout the month, and will send vouchers to the email you used to sign up. Unfortunately it’s a somewhat manual process, so automatic emails don’t happen yet. Thanks for your patience!