Nekki releases Cascadeur 2020.2b
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | Written by Jim Thacker
Originally published July 29, 2020. Scroll down for news on the latest beta.
Game developer Nekki has released the first open beta of Cascadeur, its highly anticipated physics-based animation software.
First released in closed beta last year, Cascadeur uses a number of physics and machine learning-based tools to streamline the process of animating characters and creatures.
Not only is Cascadeur 2020.1b the first opportunity for the general public to try the software, but it also improves the software's rigging tools and can be used for commercial work.
Create animations based on real physics, supported by machine learning-based tools
Cascadeur was originally developed for use in Nekki's own cellphone title like Shadow Fight 3 and is meant to be an artist-friendly way to animate characters and creatures.
Unlike traditional animation tools, users can focus on physical properties like a character's trajectory, angular momentum, and pivot points like ground contact.
As soon as the key positions in a train are determined, the software – the name means “stuntman” in French – generates a plausible-looking movement that connects them.
Even the generation of key poses can be partially automated, using a machine-learned system that tracks critical joints in a character's body: neck, hips, wrists, and ankles.
When a joint is repositioned manually, the software adjusts the positions of the other joints.
In addition to its systems based on physics and machine learning, Cascadeur includes a range of traditional rigging and animation tools, as well as exports to other DCC software in Collada and FBX formats.
We covered the software in depth when it first released in closed beta last year. For more information on Cascadeur's main tool sets, check out our original story.
New in Cascadeur 2020.1b: Better rigging tools, new QML-based interface
Cascadeur 2020.1b, the first open beta, takes the software's rigging framework further by adding the option to add twist bones and multiple centers of gravity and streamline the process of mirroring joints.
The core architecture has also been redesigned to improve performance, although Nekki doesn't question the speed boost. The user interface now uses QML, the industry standard markup language of the Qt framework.
The beta version is available for commercial projects: Nekki says that "any animation created with the new OBT version from Cascadeur can be freely used in games and films without (our) permission".
Updated September 29, 2020: Nekki released Cascadeur 2020.2b, the latest free public beta.
The main change is a new Quick Rigging Tool that allows users to set up custom humanoid character rigs based on the standard Cascadeur rig.
The update also simplifies the Ballistics menu and adds the option to show ghosting – Cascadeur's equivalent of onion peeling – for all ballistic trajectories or just the selected one.
In addition, the Interval Editing mode for editing motion paths now supports Linear or Bezier deformation.
Pricing and system requirements
Cascadeur 2020.2b is available as a free public beta for Windows 7+ and Ubuntu 16.04+ Linux. A macOS version is coming "soon". The beta can be used for commercial work.
After the end of the beta, Nekki has not decided on a pricing model, but wants to offer a free version for "indie developers, freelancers and all kinds of non-commercial use".
The "Pro version" of the software will "likely use a subscription model".
You can see the Cascadeur product roadmap on the product's Trello board: features that will be available over the next six months include Python scripts and a basic graphics editor.
Download the Cascadeur Free Open Beta from the Nekki product website
(Registration for a free account required)
Read Nekki's online FAQs on Cascadeur
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