A 3D animation studio called Masters of Pie has developed a prototype program called Geppetto that makes it easy to animate virtual reality characters. And yes, it's "easy" even for those who've had zero training in animation. Geppetto runs on Oculus Rift and is named after Pinocchio's creator, because its creators describe what it does as "digital puppetry." That term's right on the money: with the use of a Razer Hydra game controller, you can pick any part of the character and move it however you want to.
Road to VR Executive Editor Ben Lang had the chance to try it out and managed to manipulate the alien character into a pose within five minutes. "Above the character is a timeline which allows users to animate by associating poses with particular moments (keyframes) on the timeline," he said. "When played back, the character moves from one pose to another accordingly." Geppetto's but an unfinished prototype right now, and what you can do is very limited: you can't use it to create your own character or animate a Toy Story spinoff. The studio does plan to add more features and refine the ones it already has, hopefully to be able to release it in time for Oculus Rift's consumer launch in 2016.