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[RELEASED] Panoply: Comics and Splitscreen for Unity

Discussion in 'Works In Progress' started by opertoonist, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Hello all -- wanted to share an asset I've been working on (my first!) that I'm just about ready to submit, after being in closed beta for about six months now. It's called Panoply: Comics and Splitscreen for Unity, and it's all about making it easy to build comics and comic-like things in Unity. I'm looking for feedback on what you might use this asset for, and the kind of features you'd want, just to make sure I haven't overlooked anything major. Here are the details:

    [​IMG]

    Panoply brings the visual language of comics to Unity. It's great 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
    [​IMG]
    Dutch studio Submarine Channel is currently using Panoply to produce their new digital graphic novel Ascent from Akeron. This is an unmodified screenshot.

    Here's a demo for an interactive documentary called SPOILED that was created with Panoply.

    Here's a YouTube video about digital comics that I produced using Panoply.

    [​IMG]
    The visual layout tool makes it easy to arrange your panels—just click and drag on the grid.

    Panoply's user experience for digital comics leads the industry. It feels great to use, especially on mobile devices. This is because it's been designed from the ground up not to rely on canned animations. Every panel transition is calculated in real time, which not only results in a silky-smooth feel, it means all transitions are reversible -- the player/reader can step forward and backward in the story whenever they like, just like a conventional book.

    Panoply is based on a streamlined version of the technology developed for the iOS graphic novel Upgrade Soul -- you can read the first chapter for free on the App Store if you want to get a feel for Panoply's end user experience (note that Upgrade Soul includes audio features and special effects that aren't part of Panoply).

    Each Panoply "panel" is really a Unity camera, and the output of each camera is treated as a 2D layer. You can set keyframes to control the size and position of these layers on a global timeline of discrete steps users navigate with swipe gestures. Panoply comes with a set of helpful PlayMaker actions so you can trigger events and animations as the reader navigates the story, or you can easily write your own code to do the same thing.

    You can see more images and more examples of how people are using Panoply on the web site, but please feel free to ask any questions about the asset here -- I'd like to know more about the features you'd like to see, and what you might use Panoply for.

    Thanks!
     
  2. FreakForFreedom

    FreakForFreedom

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    Oh man this would be perfect for stylized cutscenes. Looks really well polished!
     
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  3. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Thanks much!
     
  4. nadavhart

    nadavhart

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    This looks incredible! when can we play with it? :)
     
  5. hopeful

    hopeful

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    This looks interesting! Looking forward to seeing this in the store. :)
     
  6. mensch-mueller

    mensch-mueller

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    Really, really great! Tried out the Spoiled demo, and it began with a citation of Ryzard Kapuscinski :)
    That is a real bonus for your asset in my eyes!

    Wish you much luck with this asset
    Cheers Michael
     
  7. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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  8. nadavhart

    nadavhart

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    Another question if I may - I've downloaded Upgrade Soul (which is awesome btw), and saw that you've integrated a content delivery mechanism into it where each chapter is downloaded after it is purchased. Will the client side part of that feature be a part of Panoply, with let's say some simple backend to actually deliver the content?

    Thanks!
     
  9. abatcat

    abatcat

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    Any plans to support android too and maybe other platforms?
     
  10. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    @nadavhart No, that won't be part of the package—I can see the usefulness of it but would have to think through the feasibility.
     
  11. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    @abatcat Yes, Panoply will support all of the platforms that Unity does.
     
  12. mlamanna

    mlamanna

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    Did this ever come out? I could use it.
     
  13. hopeful

    hopeful

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    It hasn't come out yet. It might have a month or so to go in beta before it's ready, judging by a comment @opertoonist made above.
     
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  14. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    That's correct—I'd give it two months to be safe.
     
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  15. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    FYI a Kickstarter has been launched to support the first official release to use Panoply—Submarine Channel's Ascent from Akeron (full disclaimer: I'm assisting with the production). It's a great concept and they've got some cool things in store...

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Dan_Tsukasa

    Dan_Tsukasa

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    Is there any way to access the BETA for the plugin at all? Or to discuss about it? I've sent an email via the websites contact form but haven't heard anything back yet, its been a week.

    Is there any news on when this awesome tool might be coming out?
     
  17. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Hi Dan, I replied to your email—thanks for your patience, it was a crazy week last week.
     
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  18. rslnautic

    rslnautic

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    You could give me access to the beta ?
    I am surprised by their work it's really amazing!
     
  19. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    @rslnautic In general I'm not taking on many new beta testers right now—if you want to get in touch via my website let me know what you're looking to use it for and what your timeframe is.
     
  20. rslnautic

    rslnautic

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    I just send you a message in the website with the contact form
     
  21. nicka206

    nicka206

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    Any update on this? I work for a company that runs a third party app store. I'm rather excited about integrating these type of comics into our pipeline with official support for our users.
     
  22. hopeful

    hopeful

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    Any idea of when to expect this?

    It looks like the publication date has been pushed back.
     
  23. hopeful

    hopeful

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    It's February ...

    @opertoonist - Is Panoply still en route to the asset store? I see some changes on the website since I last looked, but other than that, no news.

    I'm not pushing for this to be released right away, I'm just interested and hoping it's still in production. :)
     
  24. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    @hopeful Thanks for the note and the interest! Panoply did get sidelined for a bit (one-person studio, blah blah blah), but it's my main focus again and I've put together a Trello board so folks can track the progress: https://trello.com/b/g1RnVejZ I'll be updating here weekly as well from here on out until the launch.

    As an aside, I taught my first all-Panoply workshop the other week at Cal State University Northridge with students from CSUN and Seoul Arts, and got some encouraging feedback on the tool's usability, which was great to hear. Onward...
     
  25. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    This week's update: I'm currently working on global keyframe delete—testing has shown that when refining a project, it's useful to be able to delete keyframes globally, instead of only on one panel at a time. I'm about halfway through implementing this feature.
     
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  26. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    I've got the global keyframe delete working for panel layout components, now I need to extend it to affect camera, parallax, and caption components. Global means global!
     
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  27. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Minimal progress this week due to travel and work deadlines. More soon.
     
  28. Yonben

    Yonben

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    I'm really waiting for it :)
    Any news on a release date ?
     
  29. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Made good progress this past weekend. My goal is to submit to the store by the end of March.
     
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  30. Yonben

    Yonben

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    Thanks for the update ! Good luck, keep up the great work ! <3
     
  31. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Global delete is done. Now working on global insert. In other news, a class in Denmark is currently using a pre-release version of Panoply, and I'm getting some good feedback—both positive reports about Panoply's ease of use and some suggestions for improvements. Some of the projects the students are working on sound really intriguing!
     
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  32. peter_rodrigues

    peter_rodrigues

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    Can't wait to see this in the store. I think it'll be great to have for cutscenes in my game
     
  33. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Thanks @peter_rodrigues. Good news—I've worked my way through my remaining to dos in the codebase. Now to update the docs, test, get my metadata ready, and submit!
     
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  34. Manny Calavera

    Manny Calavera

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    I heard rumors that people who backed the comic will get a special offer when Panoply comes out... :)

    Source? The voices in my head.
     
  35. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Yes, @Manny Calavera! The special offer is 100% off the warm, buttery feeling that comes from supporting your fellow creators! :D
     
  36. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    I made a lot of progress this week, and I expect to submit the package to Unity within the next week. Some unexpected good news is that I've been able to integrate a visual keyframe editor into the inspectors, which is a big plus for ease of use. So for panels, artwork, and captions, now you'll be able to see where on the global timeline you've set keyframes, add and remove them with a click, and drag them to new positions. See below for a screenshot of how the new editor looks in the Panel inspector (it's right above the layout grid). More soon!

    panel_keyframe_editor.png
     
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  37. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Got the metadata mostly complete, but allergies and a few more to-dos precluded my submitting the package this week. Aiming for next. Working on a tutorial video as well. More soon...
     
  38. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Alas, I didn't make my end of March deadline. Discovered some issues with global insert/delete and audio that needed working out, which is mostly done now. Testing and documentation updates are pretty much all that remain.
     
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  39. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Good news! Everything is looking on track for me to submit the package this week. If you're curious about the specifics of how Panoply works, I made a tutorial video yesterday that'll show you the basics.

     
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  40. abatcat

    abatcat

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  41. Licarell

    Licarell

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    Can you sue this for 3d scenes or is it only for 2d sprites?
     
  42. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Yes, @abatcat and @Licarell, Panoply works with any kind of asset you can point a Unity camera at—2D, 3D, whatever. I've used it with animation and here's an example with video (I needed another Unity asset to get the video working):

     
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  43. Teila

    Teila

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    Wow!
    I have two teen daughters, Very Serious Artists, who are watching the videos with me. Both are in the process of making digital comic books and are amazed by this. Since I am a Unity user, I wanted them to see it and ask them if it would work for them.

    They love it and can't wait to use it with their comics. We will be following this closely and looking forward to playing with it! I think it is inspiring me to turn some of my stories into visual presentations.

    Thanks for the great videos. They are awesome and really show the potential of this product. The girls and I kept turning to each other with big smiles as you added new things to your comic.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  44. Licarell

    Licarell

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    OK so here's the big ask... can Panoply trigger unity animation timelines... say I have multiple cameras and multiple scenes when a panel is clicked can it also file a play to an animation timeline?
     
  45. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    @Teila Thanks so much for the feedback—that is awesome to hear!!
     
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  46. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    @Licarell If I'm understanding your ask, this can be done using the PlayMaker actions or through code by subscribing to Panoply's TargetStepChanged event. For example, you can trigger your animation when the reader arrives at a given step in the story, and disable panel navigation until the animation is over.
     
  47. Licarell

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    I was thinking more along the lines that when a person clicks to reveal a new panel then the animation starts and then will loop, I would like to have panels to display different angles while the animation is looping.
    My thought was to have all my scenes with cameras set up in various places within my world space so the comic would load up one time then tie the panels to all the different camera angles so as the story progresses then animations are triggered with scene lighting etc. But from what you just said Panoply will have playmaker actions so then I can use playmaker to do all the heavy lifting...

    And use SECTR to keep poly count down...
     
  48. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    @Licarell Got it, that makes sense. There are PlayMaker actions that let you trigger things when you arrive at a step or a range of steps, leave a step or a range of steps, etc...
     
  49. opertoonist

    opertoonist

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    Hi all—been a bit of a frustrating week as the package has actually been ready to submit for several days, but a problem with Unity 4 is preventing me from submitting. I'm finding that I can't log in using the Package Manager in Asset Store Tools in any version of Unity 4. Unity 5 works fine... Support is currently trying to figure out what's going on. Anyone else ever seen this issue?
     
  50. hopeful

    hopeful

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    I'd go ahead and submit the package for U5 and solve the issue with U4.7 later. ;)
     
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