There has been a lot of talk about Qumarion especially since preorders have been announced to start on 21 June at 15:00. This device, often referred to as a mannequin or action figure (but never the D-word dreaded by boys everywhere), can conceivably allow anyone with basic motor skills to create computer animation on par with the pros.
The maker, Celsys, who refer to Qumarion as a “humanoid input device” may have opened up a whole new medium to people who have the artistic sense but lack the technical know-how to create great computer generated animation.
Anyone who’s ever tried computer animation knows that it takes a fair bit of practice and experience before you can create something decent. The biggest roadblock being the 2D interface to manipulate 3D objects.
Qumarion takes that disadvantage and flips it on its head, with this incredibly intuitive device. It’s just like playing with your GI-Joes. Only this time when you move your figure to do a footsweep, your CGI model does the exact same thing in real-time.
This action figure is fully posable in 16 different locations, each equipped with sensors that allow the computer to mimic how it’s moving or what pose to hold it in. For amateurs it’s a huge shortcut to the world of CGI and for pros it can be an enormous time saver.
Here’s the rub. Pre-orders will be taken for the limited-time special price of 67,800 yen (US$850) which makes one shudder at what the regular price will be. Granted this is for the “Package” with includes a slew of goodies like detachable hand parts (the kung-fu grip appears to be among them) as well as Celsys’ own 3D editing and animating software, compatible with both Macs and PCs. Considering the included software it’s all relatively cheap.
Plug-ins for popular 3D animating studios like Maya and 3dsMax are set to be released, but likely after you give it a try with Celsys’ products first, wink wink.
Dimensions: 290x108x308mm (width is with limbs fully extended)
Connects to computer via USB