By Andrew Liszewski
Instead of poking, pulling and adjusting a 3D character in your CG software using a mouse or stylus. The QUMA (pronounced Cooma), from Japanese company SoftEther, works kind of like those 3D wooden mannequins that artists often pose when sketching the human body. Except that the QUMA connects to your PC over USB, and the majority of the puppets’ joints feature sensors that not only detect when they’ve been moved and adjusted, but also translate those movements to the character in your 3D software.
For stop-motion artists who are used to manipulating a physical character it’s probably a great way to transition to the virtual CG world. And even for experienced CG artists it seems like a very quick way to rough in a specific pose or gesture on a character. Pricing and availability info for QUMA has yet to be announced, though SoftEther does have an SDK available for 3D software companies wanting to ensure their particular package is compatible. (You may just want to write those plugins yourself SoftEther.)