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Animate a VR character in 5 minutes with no prior knowledge

Most of us (dare I say all of us?) read Pinocchio, a story about a wooden boy toy that wanted to be a real boy, and had his wish granted. He also had a nose which grew in size every time he told a lie.

Many of us wondered what it would be like to have a real, living doll, and the idea has captured our imagination a number of times (remember Toy Soldiers or Toy Story?).

Well, a 3D animation studio Masters of Pie wondered what it would be like to become Geppetto – Pinocchio’s maker, so they built Geppetto – a program which makes it easy to animate virtual reality characters.

Geppetto runs on Oculus Rift and is named after Pinocchio's creator, because its creators describe what it does as "digital puppetry." It also uses the Razer Hydra controller which allows the animator to “pick any part of the character and move it however you want to”.

Although the prototype is not yet public, Road to VR (opens in new tab) Executive Editor Ben Lang had a chance to try out Geppetto first-hand (or first Hydra), and here’s what he said: “It’s like being able to make use of a tool without having to learn how the tool itself works.”

“Case in point: I’ve never animated any 3D object in my life. After five minutes of poking around inside Geppetto to see how it works, it took me only another five minutes to pose the default alien character in a pretty epic disco pose.”

The studio plans on adding more features and hopes the product will be ready when Oculus Rift launches in 2016.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.