Download the free public beta from Cascadeur
Wednesday, July 29, 2020 | Written by Jim Thacker
Game developer Nekki has released the first open beta of Cascadeur, its highly anticipated physics-based animation software.
Cascadeur was first released in closed beta last year and uses a number of tools based on physics and machine learning to optimize the process of animating characters and creatures.
Cascadeur 2020.1b is not only the first opportunity for the general public to try the software, but 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 mobile title like Shadow Fight 3 and is intended as an artist-friendly way of animating characters and creatures.
Unlike traditional animation tools, users can focus on physical properties such as a character's trajectory, angular momentum, and pivot points such as ground contact.
As soon as the key positions are determined in one go, the software – the name means "stuntman" in French – generates a plausible-looking movement that connects them.
Even generating 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 number of more conventional rigging and animation tools as well as exports to other DCC software in Collada and FBX formats.
We covered the software extensively when it was first released in closed beta last year. You can find more information on the most important tool sets from Cascadeur in our original story.
New in Cascadeur 2020.1b: Better rigging tools, new QML-based interface
Cascadeur 2020.1b, the first open beta, further develops the software's rigging framework. It offers the possibility to add twist bones and several mass centers and to optimize the process of mirroring joints.
The core architecture has also been redesigned to improve performance, though 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".
Pricing and system requirements
Cascadeur 2020.1b 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.
Nekki did not choose a pricing model after the end of the beta, but would like to offer a free version for "indie developers, freelancers and any kind 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 in the next six months include Python scripts and a basic diagram editor.
Download the free Cascadeur Open Beta from the Nekki product website
(Registration for a free account required)
Read the Nekki to Cascadeur online FAQs
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