Blue Zoo has been awarded the Epic Megagrant in support of MoPo, a new way of creating animated content using VR in Unreal Engine.
London-based animation studio, Blue Zoo, has received the grant from Epic Games, which will be used to support the development of its new real-time tool, MoPo. MoPo allows animation artists to use immersive VR technology to rapidly create characterful 3D animated content for platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.
Blue Zoo is a multi-BAFTA and Emmy-winning, B Corp certified production company that has grown to become one of the UK’s leading and largest animation studios.
Blue Zoo says the model of creating content solely through painstaking, key-framed animation is beginning to struggle to match what audiences desire in our content-hungry world, and has developed MoPo as a solution. This revolutionary new tool, developed in-house in Unreal Engine 5 by the studio’s real-time team, allows any user to puppeteer a character in real-time, using a VR headset for a layered, additive non-linear approach.
This means a single artist can puppeteer a whole complex character alone, rather than requiring multiple puppeteers working together, or being constrained by the physical limits of human motion capture. Using VR in this way gives the artist the full six degrees of freedom of movement while being immersed within the scene to animate the puppets, allowing nuanced, expressive animation at near real-time speed.
With this accelerated performance, MoPo can be used for prototyping new shows, creating animatics, or producing finished animation for quick turnover platforms such as YouTube or Tik Tok. Animating a 30 second scene, which used to take up to several days, can now be accomplished in minutes, and using Unreal Engine 5 speeds up the post-production process too.
Keeping everything in one software package and reducing the number of production steps means a much smaller team can create the same quality content faster and more cost effectively.
“We’re very proud and excited to have been selected as Epic MegaGrants recipients by Epic Games,” commented head of Real-Time at Blue-Zoo, Phil Stewart. “The team has been working very hard to create MoPo, which will allow us to produce animated content faster than we ever have before, and also lets us harness the power of Unreal Engine to speed our workflow up even further. We have completed several pilots using MoPo already – including “Silly Duck” launched on the studio’s Little Zoo YouTube channel in December 2022 – and our animators are loving the hand-made, spontaneous feel of the animation they are producing. Also, being able to take advantage of Unreal’s dynamics and real-time simulation we can get a real charm and physicality to the content produced.”
For more information visit www.madewithmopo.com