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.

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