In a further blending between the virtual world and the digital, Celsys, now offers an action figure, Qumarion (QUMA), capable of animating your CG characters in real-time. The little action figure/mannequin is capable of a variety of natural poses, which it then wireless transmits to the animation software on a computer, which runs at 120fps.
Using this kind of tool, a huge amount of grunt work could be removed from the animation process; you no longer need to spend 3-5 mins getting your character into the correct pose. Of course, since the action figure is an actual object, it cannot be bent into impossible shapes, you’ll need to go the old-fashioned way should you ever want to make your own, “going to the store” video.
The QUMA figure contains 16 joints and 32 sensors, which should be plenty for a variety of normal, everyday poses, you’d like to put your character in. The whole system is expected to go for around $750 US. My advice, is to buy it, simply because even if it turns out to be a dud, you at least have this cool action figure to play with and impress all your animation illiterate friends with. If your spouse gives you any guff, just explain that this is different; you need this.
With the QUMA action figure, all one needs to do is fire up the proprietary software, and get their character ready, then start playing with your action-figure and watch the movies translate over to your CG character in real time. When you have your desired pose, you save it, and move on to the next keyframe; the software will fill in the animation and tween from one keyframe to the next.
The animation software itself is, according to DigInfoNews, still being developed by Celsys, which makes software for cartoon and comic-book creation. No word yet on this mannequin, being integrated into any other 3D animation package software.
The SoftEther Corp. is responsible for the actual Qumarion mannequin design, their website is www.quma.jp/en/quma/
Included below is the original commercial in Japanese,