Panoply: Comic Cutscenes for Unity

One look at our current Hollywood blockbusters and any debate about the influence of comics is moot, but the format has struggled to find its voice in the digital age. Should digital comics move from frame to frame like a slideshow? At what point does a “motion comic” become merely an under-produced cartoon? Are the panels of a comic just a cosmetic affectation? Is it enough to simply present a sequence of artworks full-frame, like a click gallery…? Somehow the magic of comics, where a reader is absorbed by the atmosphere of the artwork, gets lost in the translation.

Erik Loyer of Opertoon might have the solution. His tool Panoply celebrates the role of the comic panel, bringing it front and center as a narrative device. Panels enter and leave the canvas dynamically, building a visual composition of overlapping moments in time and perspective, something almost unique to comics (and cubist art). Watch his video essay below which uses his tool to present the concept.

Each panel in Panoply is a Unity camera containing 2D and 3D elements. It leverages the audiovisual power of Unity to create a universal comics platform ideal for tablets, simplifying the tactile interaction of page turning to trigger more than just the next window. Navigation is automatic and intuitive, simply swipe left or right. A parallax effect adds life and depth to 2D artwork, but anything Unity can display can become an element in the comic, from animated characters to full 3D scenes.

With an artist-oriented workflow and Playmaker™ support for visual scripting, Panoply might be a game changer.


The key to PANOPLY is it's adherence to the "comic panel"
The key to PANOPLY is it’s adherence to the “comic panel”

Panoply from Opertoon brings the visual language of comics to Unity. Designed for cut scenes, digital comics, presentations, and storytelling experiments in general.

  • Use your existing 2D and 3D assets
  • Create multi-panel layouts with visual tools
  • Add captions and dialogue balloons
  • Go international with localization features
  • Works with both the Personal and Pro versions of Unity
  • Each panel is a camera in 3D space
  • Swipe smoothly from step to step
  • Interactive parallax adds depth to panels
  • Built-in audio sequencing
  • Includes PlayMaker actions
  • Supports both Unity 4 and 5

Price is $95

Panoply Website
Panoply on Unity Asset Store

Upgrade Soul – the first title developed with Panoply

Ascent from Akeron – graphic novel uses Panoply to enhance the impact of the story through interactive parallax, animation, and sound, delivered across multiple platforms.

SPACE INTO GAME: TIME INTO BOOK

The author Erik Loyer has been creating digital comics since 2008, and under the label Opertoon has already published several digital adaptations He’s applied his knowledge into a Unity asset that should become available in the coming weeks.

Here he describes the theory behind his approach to the digital comic, expanding on some of the ideas presented by Scott McCloud in his books Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics

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