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Trolls, Ogres and....Frappers?

Animators and filmmakers are matching Qt with open source 3D rendering engine OGRE to create pioneering animations.

Qt is frequently the application framework of choice for developers using the OGRE toolset, with the two used in tandem to build everything from sprawling animated scenes to highly featured facial animation systems.

One such system is Frapper. Conceived at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg’s Institute of Animation in Germany, Frapper is a sophisticated open source platform for developing animated characters and scenes.

Image: Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg

Frapper’s extensible node system and its non-photorealistic rendering capabilities are compelling real life examples of the complementary nature of Qt and OGRE.

One application which is based on Frapper is the character-centric ‘Agent Framework’, which is used to prototype new human-machine interaction concepts.

Nils Zweiling from was the first at the Institute of Animation to recognize the potential of Qt as the framework for developers working with OGRE.

“OGRE was the right choice for us, but I quickly realized I didn’t want to build my own libraries to go with it. Qt was recommended by a colleague at the Institute and we soon found it was a great match with OGRE.” he said.

The school purchased a commercial license and Frapper was soon born. Making extensive use of classes such as QGraphicsView, the Frapper team is now discovering features beyond the ones they originally intended to use Qt for. An open source project, future iterations of Frapper will harness Qt 4.6’s new features such as the new state machine framework and even the multi-touch capabilities, as the film school seeks to find new ways of driving the animation process.

“Frapper will continue to grow and we will continue to use Qt and OGRE together to build it into an even more powerful tool for animating characters and scenes.” Mr Zweiling said.

Torus Knot (makers of OGRE) Managing Director Steve Streeting believes much can be gained by using OGRE and Qt together.

"OGRE is used in a wide variety of applications, but when it comes to making complex 3D tools with native GUIs, combining it with Qt is a winning formula. Qt's stability, platform support and high level of flexibility and customisability make it a perfect choice when it comes to providing a rich tool environment, inside which OGRE can perform the 3D rendering. I highly recommend Qt to developers writing cross-platform applications with complex GUIs.”

“Qt's change from the GPL to the LGPL is very significant; I'm sure this increased flexibility will drive additional adoption of Qt." said Mr Streeting.

To learn more about OGRE visit http://www.ogre3d.org

To learn more about Frapper visit http://research.animationsinstitut.de/57.0.html

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