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General
Preview on 2024.1: Cascadeur for Animation Editing

With release 2024.1 Cascadeur is becoming a powerful tool not only for making animation but also for editing any. The next update, planned for release mid of March, features a set of powerful tools that can help you edit and make changes to any baked animation where each frame is a keyframe, eg, any animation from asset stores or mocap. It introduces the Retargeting tool which works as a simple copy/paste, Animation Unbaking and enhanced AutoPhysics which, above all else, now allows the character to interact with the environment.
All of that, together with an already mighty set of tools such as Interval Edit Mode and Tween Machine, just to name a few, will allow you to make any changes, fixes and enhancements to any animation in a comfortable keyframe fashion. So let's dive in and check out the major updates the current version has to offer.

Retargeting

We kick things off with Animation Retargeting, as it has finally made it to Cascadeur. The whole retargeting process has been simplified to a Copy/Paste and works with humanoid characters of different proportions and skeletal structure. It is based on the AutoPosing rig which can be automatically created in Cascadeur using the Quick Rigging Tool.

Animation Unbaking

This version introduces Animation Unbaking, a tool that greatly simplifies the process of turning any baked animation into an editable one. Should it be motion capture data, any asset or generated animation, it will automatically determine the keyframes and choose the best interpolation for the intervals. Animation Unbaking consists of 3 steps that you can initiate separately if you choose to.
 
  1. Placing the keyframes based on the fulcrum points:  This is a preparation stage where you can ensure that the fulcrum intervals are determined correctly
  2. Choosing interpolation and placing additional keyframes:  It will pick the best interpolation method, choose IK or FK for the intervals and place additional keyframes where needed to keep the animation as close to the original as possible
  3. Adjusting the AutoPosing rig: Locking the crucial points and unlocking the rest to let AutoPosing do its job, which also allows to smooth the noise and jitters that may be present in the animation 

In most cases it will be enough to press a single button to initiate all the steps automatically. But if you need more control over the result, say you want to adjust the density of the keyframes, you can initiate the steps manually one by one. But in the end you get a fully editable keyframe animation, as if done from scratch in Cascadeur.
Say, you have a baked animation that you've downloaded from some asset library. 
Once imported to Cascadeur, you can retarget it to your character, use Animation Unbaking to turn it into a set of keyframes, which in turn will allow you to edit the poses, change the timing, etc. Same as you would with any keyframe animation, like in this example here, we increased the height of the jump and adjusted the pose. Then turn on AutoPhysics to bring everything together and make the changes physically accurate. And, by adjusting a few sliders, you can add extra physics attributes like secondary motion, to bring back subtle details which may have been otherwise lost during the unbaking process.


AutoPhysics Upgrade

Speaking of AutoPhysics, it has received a massive upgrade, both visual and functional. Most importantly it now allows the character to interact with the environment. You can animate parkour tricks, bounce off the walls, climb the stairs and even interact with moving objects  All the AutoPhysics settings are now controlled with only 4 sliders.


 

  • Smooth Trajectory:  Smoothes the trajectory of the center of mass, eg it determines the depth of squats before and after jumps
  • Smooth rotation: .Affects the general rotation of the character to make it more inertial
  • Compensation Motion: .Allows the character to use limbs to aid the movement
  • Secondary Motion: .Allows to create overlaps, shakes and bounces to the body parts



We believe the new set of features and tools to be another giant leap forward towards further simplifying the process of animating, making it easy, intuitive and fun, yet at the same time powerful and complete, able to satisfy the needs of both beginners and seasoned professionals. Check it out and see for yourselves!
 
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