Monday, October 23rd, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Nekki releases Cascadeur 2023.2

Nekki has released Cascadeur 2023.2, a sizeable update to the AI-assisted character animation software that adds audio capabilities and experimental USD support.

Create animations based on real-world physics, aided by machine-learning-based tools
Launched in 2019, Cascadeur is intended as an artist-friendly alternative to conventional animation software for game development, motion graphics or visual effects work.

Although it has standard tools for rigging, posing and animating characters, its unique selling point is a set of AI-assisted, semi-automated toolsets.

Key poses can be quickly established for a character via the AutoPosing system, which lets users reposition a small number of joints, and have Cascadeur take care of the rest of the body.

For a jumping character, the software can then calculate a physically correct trajectory between the key poses.

For other types of motion, a separate AI-trained system, AutoPhysics, converts an existing keyframe animation into a physically accurate version of itself.

Once generated, animations may be exported the FBX or Collada format – the online documentation has information on how to import the data into Unreal Engine and Unity – or directly to Daz Studio.

New in Cascadeur 2023.2: audio support lets animators work in time to a soundtrack
The main new feature in Cascadeur 2023.2 is audio support, making it possible to display an audio clip as reference for the timing of an animation, particularly when animating to music.

The audio waveform is displayed on the timeline.

Support for USD files and quad meshes
Other key changes include experimental support for Universal Scene Description (OpenUSD), making it possible to import or export files in USD format.

The software also supports more animation-friendly quad meshes when importing or exporting characters in USD format.

Updates to constraints, the Quick Rigging Tool and AI mocap
Improvements to existing features include support for multiple constraints on a scene object. Constraints are also now displayed in the viewport.

The Quick Rigging Tool now supports multiple Twist Bones per joint, and the Trajectory system gets a new Relative to Pivot mode.

In addition, the experimental AI video motion-capture system introduced in Cascadeur 2023.1 is now “up to 5x faster”.

Pricing and system requirements
Cascadeur 2023.2 is available for Windows 10+, Ubuntu 20.04+ Linux and macOS 13.3+.

The software is free to individuals or teams with revenue under $100,000/year, although animation export is capped at 300 frames per scene and 120 joints per scene.

Pro subscriptions cost $300/year, and remove export restrictions. Business subscriptions, which also ensure priority support, cost $1,000/year.

In both cases, after having subscribed for a year, users can continue using the software as a perpetual licence, even if they later cancel their subscription.

Read an overview of the new features in Cascadeur 2023.2 on Nekki’s blog

Read a full list of new features in Cascadeur 2023.2 in the online changelog

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Editor’s note: in the light of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, readers may wish to know that Nekki’s development teams are located in Russia, although the company is headquartered in Cyprus.