Cascadeur started in 2006 by Evgeny Dyabin as an internal animation tool for the video game development company Nekki (founded by Dmitry Terekhin in 2002). The games produced by Nekki have a focus on action. And action, in turn, relies heavily on impactful and realistic animations.
Over the years - in parallel to working on its own games - Nekki has developed a unique approach to the 3D animation process. We wanted to make physically correct character animation possible without the mandatory use of motion capture.
The result of this effort is Cascadeur: an AI-supported software for physics-based 3D character animation.
The goal of developing Cascadeur was:
- To implement a physics-based approach to character animation. Currently, realistic animation is often achieved through motion capture. While mocap can produce impressive results, it does not come cheap, and it has many limitations. Our intention was to remove these physical limitations, enabling the creation of animations not possible with motion capture.
- Another goal was to provide a tool to improve the realism and physical accuracy of character animation, either with pre-existing motion data or made from scratch.
- Finally, the team was aiming to lower the entry barrier and learning curve for beginners in the art of character animation.
Cascadeur remained an in-house project for several years, until we were ready to share it with animation enthusiasts all over the world.
The first public release - the Closed Beta Test version - was introduced in February 2019. This version was only available for 20.000 users who had to apply for participation in the closed beta, and it attracted a lot of public interest and media attention.
More than 60.000 animators participated in this open beta test.
EARLY ACCESS VERSION
Eventually, in April 2021 the Early Access version arrived. It improved upon many of the features, and also brought several new ones, both traditional and AI-based, for further streamlining the animation process. This was also the first release to introduce a paid Pro subscription for commercial use.
But we are still a long way from reaching our final destination:
We strive to completely eliminate any needless treadmill work from the process of creating animation. An animator using Cascadeur will be more of an artist and a choreographer than someone who has to do a lot of boring and repetitive tasks.
For this purpose, Cascadeur will continue to evolve, incorporating new features and refining existing ones in future releases. Over time, the team plans to incorporate everything into Cascadeur that a user would need to create character animations of any kind. It will be accessible for users with any level of skill and experience, and it won’t require any prior knowledge of animation techniques.
Our aim is to make Cascadeur a comprehensive animation solution that everyone can use productively.