Puppet Animator

Puppet Animator is a Puppet Animation system.

It is not a puppetry control system, rather an animation system, but applied to puppets.

Using this system, animators can create, edit and apply traditional animations over real life animatronic puppets. Animations can be created on the digital version of the puppet and synched with an audio track for lip sync. Any time, during creating the animation user can check back the act on the real life puppet at any time. After finishing creating the animation, user can drive the real life puppet with the animation data and audio track.

The system is based on Arduino board and servo motor driven rig connected to a PC running the Puppet Animator software.

Christmas is already here, so the prototype is featuring a 3D Printed Santa Puppet.

It's increadibly easy to make, may be in a weekend and can provide you endless hours of fun animating the puppet.

So, lets get started.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Items and Software Needed to Build the System

1. Arduino UNO Board with a small breadboard for circuitry.

2. Tower pro micro servo 9g (3 Nos)

3. 3D Print of the rig and the puppet.
Download from here http://bit.ly/1O4XNiI

4. Hobby supplies of paint, cotton and cotton cloth to dress up the puppet.

5. Puppet Animator Prototype Software (PC Version)
Download from here http://bit.ly/1YaioXn

6. Arduino UNO sketch to be uploaded on the board
Download from here http://bit.ly/1QGRb8T

Step 2: Step 1 : Assemble the Rig

Let us first build the rig using the 3D prints and the micro servos with some small servo screws and super glue.

You can follow the pictures step by step. It's a simple pan tilt system with an additional servo for the jaw of the puppet.

Step 3: Step 3 : Assemble the Puppet Head on the Rig

Glue together the puppet head and fit it on the rig.

Step 4: Step 4 : Arduino Circuitry

The Arduino Circuitry is pretty basic servo circuit.

(If you are new to Arduino get yourself acquinted with servos following this lesson http://playground.arduino.cc/Learning/SingleServoE...

The three servos are attached to pin 8, 9 and 10. It's advisable to add a power supply to the servos. power through USB cable is not enough.

Connect the UNO via USB and Load the Sketch in the UNO


Step 5: Step 5 : Finish Up the Puppet

Finish the puppet using some paint and hobby supplies and connect UNO to the PC via serial port.

Feel free to unleash creativity at this step.

Step 6: Step 6 : Run the Puppet Animator Software

Unizip the Puppet Animator Prototype software after downloading from


And run the software.

It will COM port info from you, give the port your UNO is connected to. Ex COM3, COM4

It will also need the duration of animation you want to create. Also there is a sample audio file, to test audio synching.

Check the 'puppet active' checkbox and test the connections of your puppet. If you move the three sliders, you will see the head and jaw of the puppet moving too. If something is not working. check the connections.

After that you have to create animation by inserting keyframes and adjusting sliders move the head and the jaw. At any time you can preview the animation on the puppet by checking the 'puppet active' box. You can also save the animation and load it later using the save and load animation button.

Go on, craft the performance. Start with the lip synch. You can apply every traditional animation methods over here.

After you are satisfied with your animation check the 'puppet active' box and press PLAY to view the puppet playing the animation.

Have fun, looking forward to hear your feedback.

Step 7:

Tech Contest

Participated in the
Tech Contest

Robotics Contest

Participated in the
Robotics Contest

Make It Glow! Contest

Participated in the
Make It Glow! Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest
    • Robotics Contest

      Robotics Contest

    12 Discussions


    Reply 2 years ago

    I may have a beta for you to test. Can you mail me at



    3 years ago

    When will version 2 be out? Will it be out prior to xmas 2016? I have built your rig and used the software! Its awesome thanks for posting this!

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for liking out the project.

    I'm planning the roll out the next version by November. It is going to have some significant changes.
    1. The puppet is now mobile (android) based.
    2. It can be controlled manually through mobile interface.
    3. Multiple voices can be recorded in prior and played back during performance session.
    4. Also there's Text to Speech ability to generate voice audio from text before or during the performance session. So, the puppet will be able to answer/interact with audience on the fly. The puppeteer can sit in the same room, entering texts in his mobile which the puppet can speak out.
    5. Puppeteer doesn't have to animate the lips (jaw). The animation is auto generated while performance alongside the audio through lip sync animation.
    6. Apart from performing live, the Puppeteer can record and playback performance alongside the pre-recorded audio clip.

    Let me know your thoughts over these changes.


    Reply 2 years ago

    This changes sound Awesome! Really looking forward to testing it out in November! I can't wait to try out the text to speech with my kids (8,10) they are going to love it!

    I uploaded some pictures of the one I created based off your design. I am still looking for a mini santa hat :). Thanks again and looking forward to V2!



    Reply 3 years ago

    You can't add your own audio with this version.

    The feature will be present in the next version.


    3 years ago

    very cool


    3 years ago

    Very impressive.


    3 years ago

    Very nicely done, my friend and I were recently talking about such a system

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks. I'm making the next version. It will be a full body one with hands. And working on the animation software as well.