Autodesk's Draco Makes Animating 2D Kinetic Textures Easier
Autodesk Research recently announced its new sketch-based interface project named Draco, which helps you quickly add automatic animations to your 2D illustrations. The tool wasn't designed for single asset manipulation, such as making a character walk, but rather for easily adding "kinetic textures," which are basically collections of similarly-shaped objects that you can draw upon your canvas. Obviously kinetic textures are objects that move, so Draco helps you quickly and easily compose object collections like floating bubbles, falling leaves, swimming fish, or rippling water.
Draco works by first letting you create objects and then create vector lines of motion for your object collections. So, if you needed to add some "stink lines" emitting from a wedge of Limburger cheese, you could simply add the lines in their desired curvature, length, and thickness and then set an emission rate and direction for them. Draco can then produce a continuously animated collection of lines that you can further manipulate by varying the emission rate and direction. You can even adjust the granular motion of each individual line to make them vibrate, wiggle, or move at a specific rate and pattern as they move along their vector path.
While Draco isn't designed to be used in the next major animated feature, it can help make the job of 2D designers much easier. Rather than animate each individual frame with these types of small, kinetic details, you can allow Draco to continually produce these effects for you, leaving more time to focus on your main subjects. We could go on about this, but it really is something you'll have to see in action to start to get an idea of how it might be something you can use in your own projects. To see it in action, we'd encourage you to watch the video and let us know what you think in the comments below!