Mr. Puppet literally animates CGI characters by hand

An upstart studio just made animators' lives easier.

Who will be the Pixar or Aardman of the 2020s? Will it just be the Mickey Mouse monopoly of Disney owning everything in CGI animation next decade, or could a small upstart like Thinko rise up to take the crown?

The Brooklyn-based animation studio may not be a household name yet, but their forward thinking when it comes to creative hardware in animation marks them as one to watch. Not convinced? Then check out their Mr. Puppet Animation System, which caught a lot of attention overnight with animators.

Mr. Puppet is not the name of a silly toon or software, but a hand-operated device that instantly brings life to a virtual character. Think of it as a mo-cap hand puppet, caught in action below.

The contraption lets you animate in real-time, allowing the Thinko team to create a one-two minute short in one-two hours instead of the usual two-three weeks (we're quoting here from the stats given in above video.) All that is captured from performance is fed directly to screen, where animators can edit and polish if required using the mouse and keyboard which Mr. Puppet effectively replaces a need for.

Mr. Puppet isn't available to buy, being an in-house thing the team are proudly showing off online (and proud they should be.) Also, as Thinko say on Twitter, "consumer hardware is a difficult game with thin margins." True, dat.

Anyone looking to do the same could opt for the AI/AR hand puppet iPhone app, Yo Puppet. The tactile advantage of Mr. Puppet though is a boon even in our age of digital, being less restrictive and better in giving tactile feedback and data to work with.

Find out more on Mr. Puppet via the Thinko website.

Read next: A 3D spin on The Muppets captures the spirit of Jim Henson for a new generation

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