Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Nukeygara updates free public beta of Akeytsu

Originally posted on 30 October 2015. Scroll down for news of the latest beta.

Nukeygara has updated the free public beta of Akeytsu, its unusual upcoming rigging and animation system, adding support for ‘onion ghosts’ and new options to customise distance units and grid settings.

Rethinking animation for artists
Intended as an attempt to rethink character work for “creatives, not engineers”, Akeytsu combines standard functionality – IK/FK setup, skinning, animation curves and layers – with some unusual workflow tools.

These include the Spinner, designed to enable artists to pose characters faster than standard manipulators; a 3D equivalent of a 2D animation exposure sheet; and the display of animation curves directly in the viewport.

New in beta 1.1: onion ghosts and grid settings
To that, the latest beta adds the option to display onion ghosts, a 3D equivalent to traditional onion skinning, along the lines of Maya’s Ghosting options or Modo’s Onion Skinning controls.

Ghosts can be displayed as wireframes or fully shaded but partly transparent, and you can switch between displaying them on every frame, or only on keyframes.

Other features introduced in the update include new options for setting the units and subdivisions of the background grid, and for setting the display properties of a character’s skeleton and IK targets globally.

Updated 22 January 2016: Nukeygara has released Akeytsu beta 2.0. New features include a multiviews layout and support for orthographic cameras, replacing the previous fixed perspective camera view.

There are also a number of updates to the UI, including the automatic display of a horizon line even when the background grid is hidden, enabling an artist to see the orientation of a character at a glance.

Updated 31 May 2016: Nukeygara has released Akeytsu beta 3.0, adding a new skinning system, including Skin Painter, a brush-based system for painting skin weights.

It has the standard features you’d expect in a toolset of this type, including brush Size and Strength sliders; plus some interesting ones like the ability to paint weights on the front and back faces of a character simultaneously.

There also seems to be a degree of intelligent automation involved in the skinning process, which you can see most clearly around 05:30 in the video above.

The brush-based workflow can also be supplemented by selecting vertices and adjusting weight values numerically from the new Skin Atelier UI panel.

Pricing and availability
Akeytsu is available as a free public beta for Windows Vista and above.

On release, an Indie licence, intended for artists or studios earning under $200,000/year, will cost $149; a full Pro licence will cost $559. Anyone buying during the beta period gets a 50% discount.

Read a full list of new features in the current beta of Akeytsu

Download the free public beta of Akeytsu