Software converts two-dimensional drawings into interactive 3-D animation

Luc Latulippe of Drawn! says: "I don’t understand what’s going on here because I’m old and crotchety, but I suspect it’s the future and it’s leaving me further behind than I already thought I was."

Live2D, developed by Cybernoids, is the world’s first drawing technology to enable 3D rendering of 2D images. This technology supports a variety of portable consoles and smartphones, and Live2D is already being utilized for games that take advantage of the unique characteristics of hand drawn artwork.


  1. Hasn’t this tech been around since XIII and more recently Borderlands 2. rendering 3D with flat colours and outlines to replicate the hand drawn cartoon style? Still, something creepy about a middle aged man continuously poking a distressed looking Japanese school girl.

    1. Nope, you’re talking about 3D cel shading there, whereas this appears to be layered 2D objects mapped onto a mesh. Still, you can achieve the exact same effect in Flash or, say, AnimeStudio – it just takes a bit longer to rig. So, not a very big whoop. 

  2. This is definitely cool, but I’m pretty sure the technology has been around for awhile in various forms. I specifically remember using some software a while back that allowed me to feed in a picture of a face and markers for various facial features, and it would then animate it so you could interact with it.
    I think these guys are just the first people to package it together tuned for multi-layer animation and anime. I guess that’s business though, because it’s the first time I’ve seen it done specifically like this.

    1. Yes, there may have been similar ad hoc techniques applied to movies in the past, but I don’t think anybody’s created a software package to specifically do this. And it’s pretty cool, I like it.

  3. I would say the appropriate term would be “2.5D” and not “3D”. 2.5D is already used in a lot of applications including compositing software to save rendering time compared to full 3D solutions. If you can get away with it because of the style used it works fine. This is obviously not working as a full 2D to 3D conversion tool since 360 degree shots would only be possible if the polygons and textures are created as well at which point it is cheaper and more efficient to create a 3D solution from the ground up.

  4. 3D shapes out of 2D drawings, it’s a cool effect. I like the look of this much better than typical 3D animations.

  5. All this does for me is make an image that probably would have looked ok before look like really badly done CG.

  6. Haven’t people been doing this with Flash and tweening for nearly a decade? Sure, it’s an advance in the technology and a simplified workflow, but I wouldn’t call it groundbreaking.

  7. Cheating and sub-par. 
    The reason it looks good is because they’re using Japanese anime,  which is incredibly simplified 2D cell animation. Now, I love me some anime, but the reason Anime is great is because it relies on good set-pieces and design instead of character animation. Faces have NEVER been the reason you like anime, because anime faces at best are equivalent to the expressiveness of your average Disney movie’s faces.
    As you can see, they have an incredibly limited range of motion, and the background oscillates to give the illusion of it being better than it is. In addition, their character motion engine is primarily based on making each individual moving part a Flash symbol that rotates. This would be best for rapid-prototyping as is, but for anything more intensive it needs improvement.

    expanded X-post from Youtube.

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