Nukeygara releases Akeytsu 2020.2
Thursday, October 1, 2020 | Written by Jim Thacker
Nukeygara has released Akeytsu 2020.2, the latest version of its unconventional character animation tool and its "most ambitious version since version one".
The update provides experimental support for animated cameras that allow users to create both kinematics and in-game animations. and support for animation retargeting.
A rigging and animation tool designed by artists for artists
Released in beta in 2017 after several years, Akeytsu is set to rethink the process of character rigging and animation “for artists, not engineers”.
It has an unconventional user interface designed to make the character being manipulated appear as large as possible, with a full screen viewport and a number of unique floating controls.
The standard framework can be edited in FK or IK mode and dispenses with rig controls: users click directly on the skinned mesh to display the character. Animation curves are displayed directly in the viewport.
Characters can be imported from other DCC applications or exported to game engines in FBX format: the standard skeleton contains templates for Unity and Unreal Engine.
The software is currently mainly used by game developers, mostly indie studios.
In beta: New camera animation for film and pre-rendered content
The headline change in Akeytsu 2020.2 is the experimental new camera system that should ultimately enable the animation of film sequences – or other pre-rendered content – as well as movement in the game.
Users can animate a camera's position, viewing target, and field of view. and there are a basic set of other camera properties including aspect ratio and near and far range.
It is possible to toggle cameras between hands-free and viewing modes by right-clicking. There's a good option to reposition a camera and then automatically move a character to the new target location.
Once created, camera animations can be imported or exported in FBX format.
Akeytsu's signature spinner controller also gets a new screen area mode that aligns the axes used to manipulate scene objects with those of the viewport camera.
New retargeting system for keyframe animations or mocap data
The other major innovation in Akeytsu 2020.2 is animation retargeting, which allows animations to be transferred between characters of different proportions as long as they share a common skeletal structure.
Users can either import one Akeytsu .akt scene file into another and transfer motion between the two characters. or import Mocap data in BVH format for retargeting.
New features for rigging artists
Rigging artists get a new Sticky Aim mode that allows a joint to be repositioned without moving the parent or child joints [see image above].
Akeytsu's existing Biped Auto Rig system has also been updated. Changes include the option to manually refine finger rigging and adjust skin weighting before mirroring a rig instead of after.
Prices and availability
Akeytsu 2020.2 is available for Windows Vista and higher. At the time of publication, the Mac version has not been updated from Akeytsu 2020.1, which runs on macOS 10.12+.
An indie license for artists or studios making less than $ 100,000 a year costs $ 239. A Pro license costs $ 699. Akeytsu Live subscriptions start at $ 14.99 / month for indie users or $ 39.99 / month for pro users.
Indie Akeytsu Live subscriptions also act as a "Rent to Own" plan: users who have subscribed for at least 12 of the last 15 calendar months are eligible to pay an additional $ 59.99 for a perpetual license.
Read an overview of the new features in Akeytsu 2020.2 on Nukeygara's blog
For a full list of what's new in Akeytsu 2020.2, check out the online changelog
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